This month our site is adorned with the stunning photography of Sooz Myhill – ‘Illuminating Photography’. “I guess all of my work is trying to reflect the things which I find beautiful in the world.”
We have interviewed Sooz to gain an understanding of her work and inspirations.
What brought you to the Bellingen Shire?
Initially, in the early 90s, we would travel over from Missabotti to go to the Bello Markets. I remember being captivated by the luscious green pasture and tall mountain ranges. Returning to the area in university holidays, I knew that Bellingen was the place I’d like to end up one day. Ten 10 years later my family and I have settled here and are so happy and grateful to be living in Bellingen.
Where did you live and work prior to coming to Bellingen?
We were living and working out west in Hay, a small town on the Murrumbidgee River. Prior to that Lismore. Before moving to Bellingen I was a Tech Support Officer, fixing computers at the local high school while studying to be a teacher, as well as photographing weddings and formal events for fun.
What is your best advice for young photograpers?
If using or going to purchase a Dslr, purchase a fixed focal length lens, like a 50mm or 35mm f1.8 lens. They are quite inexpensive and diverse and will really help you learn how to fill the frame with your subject matter. These lenses can also create shallow depth of field images, blurring out your background and really defining your subject matter or alternatively, they can create tack-sharp landscape images. You won’t want to use your kit lens again!
Learn how to refine and edit your images. Even in the days of film photographers adjusted and manipulated their pictures under the enlarger or used filters in front of their lenses. Ansel Adams is a great example! This is one way in which you can define your own style.
Get off Auto mode! You need to decide what your final image will look like, not the camera. Switch over to Aperture Priority mode and Shutter Priority mode. Watch what happens when you change those settings and really work with these modes until you understand what they are doing. This will really help you get closer to shooting on manual.
How would you describe your style/ your approach to your subject matter?
I really enjoy many different areas of photography. When photographing people, (weddings or families), I like to be as inconspicuous as I can, trying to capture candid moments and little details.
Landscapes for me are usually about getting up before dawn, trying not to wake anyone else up and heading out to unexplored locations. I like being alone with nature then trying to capture a piece of that solitude which I can then look back on at a later time, invoking those peaceful memories.
Capturing bands and musical related things is a personal passion. I love the challenge of trying to capture the energy within a split second.
Still life and macro usually reflect little bits of the world which I find to be beautiful, I guess all of my work is trying to reflect things which I find beautiful in the world.
Has anyone or anything really influenced your style?
I love the old masters. Julia Margaret Cameron and the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 1800s, paintings, poetry and photographic works. Australian female pioneer Olive Cotton & Ansel Adams’s exquisite landscapes have influenced me greatly, as has the contemporary photographer Alexia Sinclair and her crazy attention to detail.
I’d also have to say my mum. She is an amazing local artist and worked for Kodak in the 70’s and 80’s. She has filled me with so much of my photographic knowledge. She passed on her passion, love and knowledge about photography to me at a young age and is still nurturing me now.
Has living in the Bellingen Shire had an impact on your work?
Photographically I have grown so much. I feel that there is so much more inspiration jumping out at me around every corner. I hope to focus on photography more permanently in the future.
Have you found your favourite subject matter in the Bellingen Shire?
Aside from my kids, the landscapes and bands are probably my favourite things to photograph. Luckily, the Mid North Coast and beautiful Bellingen has so much to offer in regards to this.
How can Shire residents see examples of your work?
I have a Website http://www.illuminating.photography