Interview: Photographer Gary McGillivray-Birnie (Norway)
Can you tell us a little about you?
International photographer, and a Master of Photography, specialises in the genres of beauty and fashion. Based in Stavanger, Norway.
I describe myself as a creative visual artist who uses a camera and dramatic lighting, to define a portraiture style recognised and known for intrigue, edgy but authentic feel.
My goal to transform light to create powerful emotional images. An endless series of projects, inspired by black and white photography. Focusing on aesthetics of visual storytelling, quickly led to commissions and steadily in demand.
My creativity has been published in leading magazines and numerous images awarded in the vibrant creative community.
I’m always excited when projects allow me to meet new people and travel to new places. Recent locations include UK, Norway, New York, Florida, Los Angeles, Kazakhstan, Dubai, and Australia.
I’ve also have earned the title Master Photographer in Portrait (MPP) from MPI.
How and when did you get into photography?
We all start out saying, well as a kid……but more recently in 2015 I got the drive and passion, to bring this hobby to fruition. A little funding from my day job helped. Ever since, I’ve been on this journey and continuously improving.
What does photography mean to you?
I would say I’m a passionate photographer, constantly learning something new, trying to improve my knowledge and skills. With an ambition turnover my hobby into a full-time profession. I really love what I do.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I like to think I have my own unique style. It’s always difficult to say if your images stand out from a crowd. I love black and white, and I use this in a visual way, through my viewfinder. Viewing how much contrast I want prior to pressing the shutter. I strongly believe the way I shoot, combined with the attraction to portraiture, especially tight shots, is one specific attribute to my style.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I’m a huge fan of Peter Coulson, therefore his work has been my starting point in my own development. Many references for inspiration come from viewing many images I have collected over the years, or from things I see looking out the window or from others I checkout on social media.
I’m always trying to recreate lighting and put my own spin on things. This something I love to do.
Studio, on location or both?
Either on location or in the studio, my subject and lighting are my priorities. Location isn’t. I’ve taken many images, and models are surprised by the results even from a bad location, where the light was amazing.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Having studied two Diplomas in photography and other short courses backed with having images published in magazines and credited internationally. I would guess, Semi-professional.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Attending a photographic workshop with Peter Coulson on location in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is was a 5-day workshop, where Peter explained how to use lighting, from the street in a midday sun, night-time and in the studio too.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
My Hasselblad medium format camera, my Sony mirrorless A7riv. Favourite lens on my Hasselblad is 150mm lens and on the Sony an 85mm. Combined with my Profoto lighting equipment and my editing Eizo display. These are my main creative tools.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I would love to know the answer to this question. So, if any readers out there want to give me advice, I would love to hear from them.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I love the concept and idea, a platform that oozes creativity. Something for everyone. The images in the magazine are amazing. Thank you for allowing me to participate. Good Luck.