Hi Andy. Whereabouts in the Hastings area do you call home, and how long have you lived there?
I was born and bred in the Hastings area. I moved away to the city for about 10 years and decided to come home to Wauchope about 3 years ago. I missed the easy, laidback lifestyle and natural beauty the Hastings region has to offer. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else now.
Were you a shutterbug as a kid, or did your interest in photography develop at a later stage?
I was never really into photography, despite having a couple of really great photographers in the family. About 12 months ago, I went on a motorbike trip and decided I needed a cheap camera to record my adventures. By the end of the trip, I was enjoying the photography as much as the bike riding and was starting to feel like it was something I could get into.
I upgraded my gear pretty much as soon as I got home and haven’t looked back. My mum and uncle are both great photographers, so, I have learnt a lot from them and still get a lot of inspiration from their work.
Where have you gained most of your photography knowledge?
I haven’t done any formal training as such. I try to listen to and learn as much as I can from other photographers and do a lot of research online. I take lots of photos, some good and some not so good. I think I have learned the most by getting out there and just taking a lot of shots. I’m not afraid to experiment, and I’m pretty dedicated to being there to get the shot when the light is good. Most of my spare time is spent either in the field with a camera or in front of a computer
Tell us about your business, Andy Smith Images. When did you establish it, and what does it specialise in?
I got serious with photography in October 2012. I started up a Facebook page as a place to share my photos and found that I got a fairly good response straight off the bat. People started asking where they could buy my shots, and it just kind of snowballed from there. It all just turned into a business without me really meaning it to.
I enjoy taking photos of landscapes and nature, so I guess that is what you might call my speciality, but as a photographer, I hope to branch out into other areas.
I’m pretty confident that I can turn my hand to almost anything in the world of photography using the skills I already have and by learning from others.
I have recently purchased studio lighting and flash equipment and am making inroads to doing more commercial work and portraiture. I also enjoy working with animals, so pet photography comes easy to me.
What is it about the natural world that fires your creativity?
I have always loved nature and being outdoors. I spent a lot of time outside when I was a kid, and that hasn’t changed a lot to this point.
Without a doubt, we live in one of the best areas on the East Coast, with so much diversity right on our doorsteps … from beautiful beaches and headlands to our hinterland and lush rainforest, all within an easy drive. There is so much to see out there, that most us either take for granted or just don’t know about. You just need to get out there to see it and experience it.
What does the term ‘fine art photography’ mean to you personally?
To me, fine art photography is all about landscape and nature photography, as you are capturing the beauty of something and trying to create a feeling or emotion from the viewer, rather than photographing a commercial product that you are trying to sell or from a photojournalistic point of view.
Where are some of the more unusual locations your photography has taken you?
Well, I guess being a relative newcomer I haven’t travelled very far with photography at all. I could happily spend a lifetime finding those locations though.
Describe an experience where you just happened to be in the right place at precisely the right time to capture an amazing shot – a shot you may have missed if you’d arrived a few seconds later.
I try to be in the right place at the right time for all of my photos. I get up early for sunrise, go out to find the right sunset, get up at 2am to get the moonrise, whatever it takes … If there is good light, there can be a great photo, and you need to be on the spot to get the shot. Great landscape photos aren’t taken while sitting in your lounge room!
Where’s somewhere you’d like to visit with your camera, but you just haven’t had the opportunity yet?
The first place that springs to mind is the Kimberley region of Western Australia … untouched and natural areas with beautiful earthy colours that lend themselves to photography and so different to anything I’ve shot over here. I’d definitely love to travel the W.A. coast.
Tasmania, with its rugged coastline and amazing rainforest wilderness areas is another place I am looking forward to visiting. I also think every landscape photographer worth their salt needs to visit New Zealand at some point.
Are you available for commissioned work, and where can people contact you, or view your images?
Yes, I am available for all types of commissioned work. Some of my canvas works are on display and for sale at One Agency in North Haven and will also be available at Intown Café in Laurieton. You can find my website at: www.andysmithimages.com or search Facebook for Andy Smith Images.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This article can be found in issue 89 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus