In July we had the pleasure of interviewing Brisbane based street photographer Teresa Pilcher. Teresa has been practicing street photography for the past three to four years and is the owner/moderator of the 'Street Photographers Community' on Google Plus. Enjoy learning more about Teresa and her approach to street photography!
I’m a 51 yr old female street photographer, based in Brisbane Australia. Photography has been a life long dream and journey for me. When I was growing up my Mum was an avid photographer who literally took thousands of photos. The first photo I took at the age of five or six, and from the moment I pressed the shutter I knew that I wanted to be a photographer. The magic of developing my first image in a darkroom is another clear memory for me.
When I left high school I really wanted to study photography, but my father told me to pursue a “real” profession. It was what he believed and I appreciate that his generation placed a higher value on security then creativity. Ten years later, I studied at Melbourne Northern Institute of TAFE, although that was before the digital revolution. Although I have been photographing for the almost 35 years, I’ve only been photographing street for the past three to four years. In the past I have photographed many different genres - weddings, parties, anything... However, it is street photography that is my passion.
When I first studied photography back in 1994, film and darkrooms were the medium of the day. Twenty years laterI enrolled at The Arcanum to study digital technology and Lightroom. We had to choose a genre to be matched with a Master/Mentor. Street was the genre that most resonated with me. It is immediate, honest and real. Although I didn’t study street specifically at The Arcanum, it was a great way to demystify the photographic process. For me, it’s about how I see the world and creating a very personal work of art. It’s also about capturing our common humanity.
Street photography can be a difficult genre to do in a small city. I often wished I lived in London, Paris or New York. It’s also very difficult to make a living from street photography -as you would know - unless you are very creative with it, for example, someone like Eric Kim.
I think being a woman has its advantages. I can photograph other women and children in situations where a male photographer might be challenged. It has been said that street photography is a male dominated genre, but the same can be said for most genres of photography, or professions. Traditionally, women are less inclined to self promote and enter competitions or hold exhibitions, but it is changing slowly. This collective is evidence of this.
I absolutely love living in Brisbane! It’s a wonderful multicultural city where we have interesting people to photograph. But it has its disadvantages. We are so far from anywhere. If I want to travel to Tokyo, Paris or NYC, it’s a very long flight.
G+ is a non commercial platform and has a very strong focus on art and photography where all creatives such as photographers, artists, musicians, writers and foodies can come together. It’s a wonderful platform to meet and connect with other photographers, including street. We have a great global ‘Street Photographers Community’, which has translated to real life friendships with people from all over the world. I have been an owner/moderator of the ‘Street Photographers Community’ for almost three years now. We have a very active community, with a strong emphasis on promoting and interviewing people – similar to this
In Brisbane, I enjoy shooting at our Gallery of Modern Art GOMA and at Southbank on my river walks. However, I’m much more prolific when I travel. I have been fortunate to travel specifically to shoot street in Paris, Rome, Tokyo and Kyoto, the Baltic region in Northern Europe and North America. I enjoy immersing myself in new cultures and capturing the people who live in these cities.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is my favourite street photographer, but I have been inspired by many others including Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz, Edward Weston and Fan Ho. I’m drawn particularly to the minimalist and abstract elements in their work. They all have a distinctive style and vision. Although I try not to be influenced too much by other people’s styles, I do love the idea of Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment - capturing that one moment in time that will never be repeated. I also love the surreal and dreamlike elements that he captures in his images.
My Finding Your Vision Mentorship on G+ is an ongoing project where I have created an eight week online mentorship specifically designed for beginner to intermediate street photographers which is offered through the G+ mentorship program for photographers. I ran the program for the second time in February 2018, where we had a private community of 45 members, with 25 participants and 20 graduates who stepped up to assist as support crew. Each week there are lessons which focus on different aspects of photography where we talk about how to see photographically. Participants shoot images for specific assignments. There is an amazing creative energy in these communities and they have achieved some extraordinary results. I aim to hold the next free mentorship early next year. Sign ups are usually in February on G+ on my profile.
In the future, I would like to produce a series of eBooks on street photography in different cities, with a focus on my favourite locations and images from each city. It’s something that I would liked to have had when I was travelling to a city for the first time. There are at least ten cities I would like to write about. It is still in the early planning stages and may involve more travel.
My favourite YouTube/podcast is ‘The Candid Frame’. I really enjoy Ibarionex’s tutorials and his visual way of learning.
I’d like to thank the Unexposed Collective for giving me this opportunity to connect with other Australian and female street photographers and all your efforts in promoting us!