RMIT alumnus Lisa Saad has been named Australia’s top commercial photographer at the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards.
Saad is the first female photographer in 19 years to win the commercial category.
Founded in 1963, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is a not-for-profit organisation run for and by professional photographers and industry representatives, who seek to set a standard of excellence within the photographic industry.
The Canon AIPP awards are now in their 39th year, with 648 entrants submitting a total of 2434 images in 2015 for the grand prize of $10,000 and category prizes of $1,000.
Saad graduated from the Bachelor of Arts (Photography) in 1989, and said her time at RMIT was the greatest learning and time of growth.
“I come from a very strict European family so being able to make my own way to university and to make my own decisions everyday was a big eye opener for me,” she said.
“I remember all the lectures and also the care that they showed in me to develop my skills as a photographer. I remember the facilities and the classes quite fondly but most of all I remember learning so much and being inspired to just do better.
“RMIT photography gave me the confidence to further pursue my desire to be a working professional commercial photographer.
The body of work that was recognised by the award signalled a new change of direction for Saad for not only herself but also her business.
“Earlier this year I decided to ‘fire’ 90 per cent of my clients as I felt that I was not growing in the direction I wanted to go – enough was enough,” she said.
“I split the business into two and created an online pre-paid photographic service under Gotham Studios for profile, dealership, product, event, PR and corporate.”
Lisa Saad Photographer is now the platform for her more conceptual and high-end advertising work.
The work that won the award is part of the second area of the business, which is about pushing boundaries and about making images that stand out and that people remember.
“It's about taking commercial photography and blending it with illustrative feel and to allow a picture to communicate a story visually in a different unexpected way rather than in an expected traditional way,” she said.
“These images are the first step in the new way of creating imagery for me and a new way of gaining clients and I believe this direction will help me grow even further and allow me to continually express myself beyond my expectations.”
Dr Lisa French, Deputy Dean of Media in the School of Media and Communication said that in winning the Commercial Photographer of the Year award, Saad joined a long list of award-winning graduates of the photography program.
“We congratulate her on the outstanding achievement of winning one of Australia's major photography awards, and being at the top of her field in the country’s pre-eminent photography event.”
The awards were peer-judged by some of Australia’s most recognised photographers, including Canon Master Photographers Darren Jew, Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken.
Story: Wendy Little