Hi Elise! Tell me a bit about yourself as a photographer - how did you get started in botanical photography?
I’ve always loved flowers in art (and real life) but when I was practicing as a naturopath I started drafting a book on flowering herbal medicines (e.g. white peony, lavender, etc) and I decided I’d like to photograph them myself, so I started a course to learn photography
Even though you're an emerging artist, you've also managed to make an amazing business out of it, where you create works of art out of wedding bouquets. At what point did you want to combine the two?
I loved taking floral photography so much that I was keen to find any way I could to make a living out of it and because wedding flowers are probably the most beautiful we own at any one time preserving them through photography was the ideal business idea for me, so the two merged really early on.
What are some things you've learned when it comes to combining art and business? I feel like this isn't something you really get to learn at uni and have to figure out quite a bit yourself!
The hardest thing for me has been pricing. It’s really challenging to put a price on the time involved setting up, shooting and editing, the creative input, all the administrative tasks, etc without pricing yourself out of the market. Also the lack of creative freedom can at times be a hurdle – with the business, I don’t get to pick the flowers I shoot and I can’t just do whatever I like with the bouquet - I have to meet my client’s needs. When I shoot for myself, I can be more experimental, so I try to make sure I get plenty of time for that.
You've also been involved with a couple exhibitions as well, like 'In Our Nature' at Hazelhurst Art Gallery. What's the process like when you choose photographs for an exhibition?
For the exhibitions I’ve been involved in I have been lucky enough to have a fabulous curator on board, to help guide my image choices. They have also come with a brief – e.g. native flora – which helps define my selection. Beyond that I just choose images I love because I think they are my best shots anyway.
Going off from that, do you have a favourite exhibition that you've participated in?
I haven’t been involved in many, but the In Our Nature exhibition at Hazelhurst was especially rewarding because I love that gallery and the exhibitions aim to celebrate nature in many forms was fantastic, especially when it is taken for granted by so many.
So, most of our readers are current uni students... Do you have any advice for them in terms of staying creative after graduation and looking for career prospects?
Well my Uni qualifications were not in a creative field (I have a Master of Public Health from Sydney Uni) but I feel so much more three dimensional since I have found this creative outlet in my life, so my advice would be to always make time for whatever creative pursuit you love even if you have to work for a time in another area to pay the bills. The other advice is to believe in yourself and surround yourself with others who also do. Finding your ‘people’ is so critical I think.
And what's something that you'd tell your 20 year old self?
I really believe that I needed to go through all the hurdles and things I went through to become the person I am today so while there are things in my life I regret, perhaps I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had done things differently. That being said I wish I’d had more self-belief and confidence when I was 20 so maybe I’d tell myself just to believe in myself more. And that it will all work out so well.
Final question! we want to be kept in the loop - do you have any awesome projects that are coming up?
I have a commercial exhibition on at the moment at an art showroom featuring my work printed on a really large scale (https://creativeframes.com.au) which anyone can visit and I have just launched a range of botanical wallpapers with Luxe Walls, which is also amazing and exciting. Going forward, I have some other exciting licensing deals in the pipeline and I’m running a flower photography workshop in August – plus all my bouquet bookings. I share everything on Instagram if anyone is interested in hearing about it all.