After completing a Diploma of Photo Imaging, Janelle Low went on to become the recipient of the 2013 National Photographic Portrait Prize.
[Additional information] Upbeat music plays throughout. Video contains images of Janelle working in her photographic studio, visiting a gallery, taking photos in Carlton Gardens, and talking to the camera.
Duration: 3:20 mins
[Opening title] Janelle Low
After completing a Diploma of Photo Imaging, Janelle went on to become the recipient of the 2013 National Photographic Portrait Prize.
[Janelle Low] I was in WA and I was studying something I wasn't interested in at all.
So I applied for the Diploma of Photo Imaging.
Basically what they give you is an introduction to industry, and industry culture as well, so they push you around into all avenues of photography within the first year so you get to experience, you know, whether it's architecture, it's fashion, it's product, all of that sort of stuff, and you get to, one, understand how it works, but two, also reinforce what you like to do and what you're good at. I never thought I would like architecture and I always thought maybe I would like fashion. Turns out it's the opposite – I love architecture and I can't stand fashion.
And then in second year they also let you specialise so that you develop your own style, your own point of view, and create a body of work that you can take out into industry to get jobs. So, it's all very useful, every bit of it.
Since I graduated I've been doing a whole lot of different things. They invited me back to start lecturing, so, I've been developing short courses and I've been working very closely with the Equity and Diversity Unit at RMIT and I've also been shooting commercially.
So, one of the main things I do is art documentation where I either go to galleries and I document the exhibition there within the space, or I work with artists in studio and I document their work.
So, this could be for editorial stuff, for art catalogues, for prizes, all that sort of stuff. It's a small market and it's quite nice to have cornered that in a sense, I guess, to a degree.
The National Portrait Gallery every year has a competition called the National Photographic Portrait Prize and it's, uh, there's entries from all around Australia and I think this year there were about maybe 2,000 entries, or something like that, and had 53 finalists and it's just basically, it's one of the biggest prizes for outstanding portraiture. It's kind of the equivalent, I suppose, of the Archibald, but for photography and, you know, there's all different levels. They don't really focus on the celebrity of the photographer. It's about the content and how good the work is.
I'm 22, and the youngest winner before me for the National Photographic Portrait prize was 45 at the time I entered and I and didn't know what would happen, but I gave it a go anyway and, you know, and I won. So, it's doable, it is very doable. You've just got to actually be in it to actually win, I suppose.
The alumni network could do a lot for me actually. Just being able to meet people in different fields, who are doing well, who are doing innovative things. I've always tried to look for a way to bridge commercial and, I guess, the sort of fine art aspect of photography. So this way I get to meet other artists on a pretty regular basis and get to be introduced to different mediums. So we get stuck a lot of the time in just looking at other photographers, whereas our influences could be anything. Could be movies, it could music, it could be film. All of that sort of stuff.
No matter what our field is and I think we should just be sharing that and that's how you get opportunities by networking and by putting yourself out there in prizes and grants, and all of that sort of thing.
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