Portraits of Paris

In September, Advanced Diploma of Photography student Paris Hawken won two Silver Awards at APPA, the annual national photography competition held in Sydney. The final work selected by judges is of the highest calibre.  Time to find out a bit more about how Paris creates such lasting impressions…

How long have you been studying/ pursuing photography?

I have always been a creative person and have experimented in many different types of artistic forms, like drawing, painting, sculpture etc. but photography was always the one that I loved the most. I started off studying with my Certificate IV in Photo Imaging here at Central in 2012, and then completed my Diploma the year after.  Now I am just about to graduate from the Advanced Diploma course.

Which APPA awards did you receive?

I entered three prints into the APPAs (Australian Pofesional Photography Awards), and two of them were awarded Silver Awards (80 and 81 out of 100 possible points). My third print scored 79, so it wasn’t too far off award standard.  A Silver Award means that the image is of a high standard of professional practice.

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What does receiving the APPA awards mean to you?

Having my work achieve these awards on a national level is an amazing feeling, and gives me a lot of confidence. Students images are not judged separately to the professional photographers work either.  They are judged in the same pool and so to be receiving those scores is great. Myself and a few of the other students travelled over to Sydney to volunteer at the Awards and watch the judging. It’s just so beneficial. It allowed us to meet so many inspirational people in the industry, all of whom are very supportive of student photographers.

What do you try to capture in your photographs?

I shoot mostly portraits, and I always strive to make sure that there is something that would immediately grab the viewer’s attention so that they look at it, but then also ensure that there is more to the story so that I can hold the viewer’s attention and get them to think about the image. I definitely believe that the most important aspect of an image is the lighting; it can convey so many vastly different moods and feelings. The right lighting can take something from being a bit average to being seriously beautiful.

What techniques do you use?

The way I shoot depends on what type of image I want to create. Sometimes I want to shoot a really conceptual piece with a bit of a story behind it, so I will use two of three lights on location, or in the studio, to create the mood I need and I may add some extra elements to the image in post-production. But I also love just shooting a beautiful girl out in nature or the ocean, in natural lighting, no elaborate story or anything.  I just wander and shoot as I get inspired by the natural environment around me.


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Why did you choose to study at Central?

I chose to study at Central because of the ‘hands on’ aspect of the course. We’re not just writing essays or watching educational videos, we’re actually shooting all the time and doing these things ourselves. I think that’s really important, especially for creative people, as many of us struggle to learn by just watching or reading about it, we need to actually do it ourselves to really take it on board.

When I was choosing where to study photography, I was also attracted to the fact that the course covered a whole range of aspects of photography, such as Photoshop, video, studio, business, printing and all of the different genres. For me personally, one of the most beneficial things about studying this course at Central has been the integration into the industry.  We have been introduced to the industry already, and, as a result, a lot of us are already out there working and making a name for ourselves. For example, at our upcoming graduation exhibition, we will have many of the State’s top photographers attending.

What are your plans for the future?

Next year I will be moving back to my hometown of Margaret River, to establish my business down there in the weddings and portrait market. I will also continue to shoot personal work and hope to hold a solo exhibition of my work by the end of 2015.

Paris Hawken
Paris Hawken

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