Hey Amelia, thanks so much for chatting! It really is such a pleasure to be surrounded by your photography at Southwood. Can you tell me when you started taking an interest in photography?
I started taking an interest when I was fourteen. I was off camping with my brother and I had some little, old digital camera…from there I did it through school and that just stayed my passion from then on.
So, you went straight into photography after school?
I actually tried to leave school early. I showed my portfolio to the International College of Professional Photography in Melbourne and they offered me a scholarship, but on the condition that I finish school…so that was a good focus for me! I finished and went straight into that scholarship.
Back then was your focus on wildlife and landscape photography like it is now?
I did always love nature and landscapes…but no I was a freelance photographer so I was doing wedding and travel photography as well as commercial work. I had a few exhibitions…I would go into shops that needed to be leased to promote the stores and I would put my work in those shops temporarily. I took the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo down at Kennett River after I had my two babies and that was the photo that started the new type of work.
So how did you capture the cockatoo with such detail and in such a direct position to the lense? Is it a bit of a waiting game?
Yeah, well I did take a lot of photos and I looked for the one that connects most to you…but that cockatoo just happened to be sitting with the afternoon light across him and a shadow behind him.
Do you go looking for specific animals that you would like to shoot or does it come organically?
I do have a list of birds that I would like to photograph but I do also let it organically happen. I just go on little adventures with my camera on me, most of the time I always have the kids so even though the photos might look calming behind the scenes it’s a lot more hectic! I don’t have much free time to go off on trips by myself, I always have my band behind me. They are so supportive and gorgeous, always wanting a print in their bedroom. They are proud as punch and so enthusiastic.
Since having kids, obviously you have to multi-task, but do you think your approach or how you think about your work has changed in any way?
Absolutely. I actually got into a bit of a rut after having my kids, I sort of felt unstimulated…just this housewife doing things over and over again. When I took that Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, I actually felt very empowered by it. To see it in the large print in its stance, it did really empower me at that time in my life. Shortly after I took the Chocolate Speckled Hawk - the way he looks at you…it’s really quite striking, it almost goes down into your soul.
The birds you capture often have such a direct and piercing gaze into the lens. It feels like you have a connection with your subjects rather than being an observer of them, would you agree with that?
Yes, absolutely. The way they are looking at you and turning their heads…there definitely is a connection. I try to use the ones that will connect with other people as well. A landscape might be more personal but the animals, I feel, can connect immediately with people.
You mentioned you have done a fair bit of travel photography. The light in Australia is very intense and bright - did you notice that when you came back from overseas and started shooting here again?
The places I went to…South America, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina…the light was actually really quite the same as in Australia…bright blue skies and a lot of sun. The two works (travel and Australian nature) are totally different. Some of my travel photography is quite architectural and gritty…and I guess through becoming a mother I now like the feeling of the natural, grounding effect that my Australian nature works have. I want my kids to know how important and how calming it is to be connected with nature.
Yes, from my own childhood I know how great it is to be able to go and explore and play in the bush. It molds you - you never lose that ingrained appreciation.
Yes! You feel like you can breathe. Life can get so busy and hectic but you can always go back to nature. That’s what it’s all about.
I think that feeling is what you get from your photos... a sense of calm and perspective. Thank you so much for your time! Do you ever have exhibitions?
I did open my studio for a weekend, which was incredible. It’s nice for people to see the large prints up close. I’ll be doing that again next year, maybe around Christmas this year as well. If you’re ever down this way, come and see them!
Don't miss Amelia's next Open Studio! You can keep up to date with her latest work and Open Studio dates by following Amelia's Instagram. You can also check out her work via her website.
If you have an aversion to wellness talk and sit more comfortably with the Frank Constanza 'serenity now!' camp, then try adding to or rearranging your indoor greenery to induce groundedness and calm. Okay for you cynics out there, it sounds whimsical but it really does make a difference to your mood.
If your plants are in need of a repot, check out the planters and pots we have!
Have a great rest of the spring and keep tuned for our upcoming GIVEAWAY next month...it's a good one!
- The Southwood team x
Hindley and Co
Award-winning architect and interior design
NGV 13 Sep 19 – 2 Feb 20
If you are in Melbourne don't miss out on this incredible international photography exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. After spending time absorbing the work, you can't help but feel everyone would really benefit from seeing this exhibition. By showing the different lenses in which artists have portrayed our ever-changing civilizations over time, the work leaves you in a state of stillness...slightly amused yet deeply pensive.
'In this increasingly globalised world, the exhibition explores photographers’ representations of life in cities as its key theme and presents a journey through the shared aspects of life in the urban environment. The selected works create a picture of collective life around the world and document patterns of mass behaviour. The exhibition looks at the phenomenal complexity of life in the twenty-first century and reflects on the ways in which photographers have documented, and held a mirror up, to the world around us.'
Available in various sizes at Southwood
The multi-award-winning light is made by hand in a small workshop near Tauranga, New Zealand by Mat Macmillan. Each one is sustainably created by hand using premium NZ ply sourced from locally grown trees.
Bringing a simple, calm beauty to any setting, the IO pendant comes in many shapes and sizes. The name is actually from Greek mythology - Io was the priestess who led Zeus astray with her beauty. Jupiter’s fourth moon, a constant companion giving light, is her namesake, so the twin themes of beauty and light are the inspiration behind this lovely design.