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Interview: Photographer Mike Stacey (Australia)

Tell us something about yourself. I am a photographer living outside Sydney in the Blue Mountains. My background is in Education and Engineering.

How and when did you get into photography? I started photography as an accompaniment to bushwalking when I was 17 years old. I continued my love for landscape photography for around 30 years in parallel with my passion for visiting wild, remote places and for climbing. Around 10 years ago I moved into portrait photography, inspired by such artists as Dorothea Lange who documented the great depression, Irving Penn, Brian Duffy, Marc Lagrange and Peter Lindbergh. Portrait photography soon led on to shooting models - fashion, portrait, art nude and erotic genres.

What does photography mean to you? My photography is my art. It is an extension of who I am. My passion. My expression. I couldn’t live without it.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers. My current photographic work is centred on capturing something intimate of the subject. Something more intimate than nudity or any other physical aspect. A moment where there is a sense of overpowering presence. A moment of intense connection. Maybe a moment of sensuality or of experience. A moment of humanity. A moment of beauty. These are the things that fuel my creative passion and more broadly, fuel my life.

Where do you get inspiration from? Mainly from the people I shoot. Externally, also from photographers I admire, like Lindbergh who has managed to successfully maintain his authenticity despite being one of the most in demand fashion photographers of the last couple of decades.

Think you in advance what you want in the picture? I want to see a beautiful moment and the compelling presence of the person in front of the lens. That’s all. For every person this is different, and people show themselves in different ways.

Studio, on location or both? Hardly ever studio, often indoors and more often outdoors.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional? Neither. As I don’t consider making an income from photography to be any kind of indicator of success, I’m more of an artist in that the work itself is more important to me. I have commercial photography work but it is very separate from my personal artistic work. I also have a day job that pays for film and shoots.

What has been your most memorable session and why? That is very hard to say as every session is memorable for different reasons. The key thing is the person who I’m working with and the experience of that connection and collaboration. But I think the most amazing thing I’ve done was recently - shooting for a week in the Australian desert with

wonderful art model/muse Loz Lightyear (instagram.com/lozlightyear_artmodel).

What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work? Humanity and beauty. Beauty is so cliche in the classic sense but beauty is the humanity of the person manifested in both physical traits (appearance, structure, movement etc.) and also below the surface and expressed physically. My subjects are usually women as I find I can see the various aspects of being a human easier with women. Men generally have a more limited range of expression - though not always.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens? I use a Nikon digital camera but use a Pentax 67 and a range of other film cameras also. Favourite lens is the Pentax 105mm, f2.4. Favourite film is Kodak Tri-X

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business? Don’t compromise your artistic integrity and vision for money.

What do you think of our new magazine? I think you have fantastic variety and at the same time are keeping the quality high. Awesome that you are giving people like me the opportunity to appear there.


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Model: Kedori

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Model: Anoush Anou

Model: Anne Duffy

Model: Anne Duffy

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