Interview with Rachel Claire

Rachel Claire is a person who is passionate about the experiences that come with travel and what broadens your horizons. To open yourself up to new people and moments that turn into memories. Memories that can shape you into who you are and give you a place of hope in times of need.

She believes that it’s the people around you that make you who you are. She’s a photographer who believes that we are always changing and learning to become a better individual. When I got in contact with Rachel I felt her enthusiasm right away, with arms wide open. Her values, work ethic and views on life shine through her photography. From the temples in Cambodia, Egypt and Lybia to the place she calls home, in Western Australia. Rachel’s work has the feeling of humbleness, capturing moments in time that share stories you want to be a part of.

I’m privileged to have her answer a few of my questions so you can learn from her experiences and then and go out into the world make some of your own.

Rachel Claire - photograph

Interview with Rachel Claire

Q: What are you passionate or curious about outside of photography?

A: Everything! There’s not a single thing I don’t find inherently interesting in some way or another. I have several passions outside of photography, right now I’m fascinated by neuroplasticity and the brain. I’m often studying alongside both photography and my job at an online publication because there’s always something else to learn. I studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Pathways) as a bridging into Human Behaviour studies recently, and will probably go back to university at some point. Aside from the brain stuff, I’m also passionate about teaching (I teach photography workshops and private tuition) writing, videography, performance and self-development. I also work part-time for a tech start-up I’ve been a part of since it’s founding in 2012. I find the digital landscape to be both terrifying and fascinating. Photography is often a small part of what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis – but it’s certainly something that’s become more prominent of late. I like the way an image can say something when I’m lost for words.

Q: How important is it to have a photographic voice & style. And what lead you to capture your photographs in your subdued colour palette and to point your camera towards all the genres of photography that you capture, lifestyle, portraiture, food and travel?

A: You’re photographic voice and style isn’t always locked in. In fact – it’s something I’ve found changes every few months or so in subtle ways as we learn and try new things. My style changes based on outside influences and what I’m working on. When you’re working towards a brief, your style and voice adapt to the job in ways that allow you to retain an identity within that scene. It’s important to explore voice and style – but I don’t think it’s good to get too hung up on it. That stuff sort of just happens naturally as you put a little bit of yourself into your work.

Rachel Claire - photograph

Q: Was there any specific moment or event you remember that started your journey in photography?

A: There was no real defining moment – my journey to becoming a photographer was somewhat accidental and not as intentional as others. I just loved it, so I kept doing it. For a very long time, I only photographed for love. It was just something I enjoyed doing in my spare time – with every year that passed I sort of organically moved through jobs until I sort of just realised “wait, this is actually my job now.” I had always said that I had no intention of being a career photographer – so when it happened, it was actually sort of surprising! haha. I just woke up one day and was like “well that thing I said I never wanted to do is now a reality….so what do I do now?” I think it’s really important to not remain stagnant. I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying to do something different. There’s just not enough hours in the day!

Q: What is the most important thing to consider when taking a photograph, and why is that important to your personal and professional work?

A: What is the story here? For me, personal connections are everything. Whether it be with the person you’re photographing, a landscape or a country – there’s a story to be told and you’re telling it with a photograph. Sometimes I think it’s easy for us to believe that we can just lift a lens and shoot something, and have it appear as though we felt something in that moment. But I feel like people recognise the inauthentic subconsciously. It’s what leads someone say “That’s a good photo” versus “That photo changed my life/opinion/personal direction”. I take breaks from shooting all the time (sometimes for days/weeks) just to ask myself ‘what am I trying to say?’ Most photographers and creatives will know the pause well. It’s the moment when you’ve been pushing really hard in a particular direction, and all of a sudden you realise you’ve completely lost track of the what and why. What is it I’m trying to convey, and why am I doing it? It can completely change the way a photograph is executed. For me, finding the story I want to tell, means every job and every opportunity is worth the same amount of time and dedication as the last.

Rachel Claire - photograph

Q: Everyone wants a short-cut to success or mastery, but what would be your advice to aspiring photographers that have perseverance and are willing to put in the work.

A: Keep going! Like all things in life that we strive for – there’s a tipping point. Some people push so hard but stop right before they’re about to reach that tipping point. Realise that success isn’t a number on social media. It’s your network and friendships within the industry. It’s building authentic and engaging connections with other creatives – and surrounding yourself with a supportive community of like-minded people (nobody can do everything alone!) For those willing to put in the hard work – find yourself a mentor, work with as many people as possible – be willing to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you think might sound stupid (someday you’ll be explaining the same thing to someone else) and try new things. Don’t get too hung up on developing a personal style too early on, it will change anyway. Your equipment doesn’t matter – some of the most incredible photographs in the world were produced on equipment far inferior to the stuff we’re using today. Keep pushing, keep striving….and stay curious.

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