Greta Punch is an aspiring Photographer and Designer from Australia. She has just finished her first year in TAFE (that’s Technical and Further Education for all you non-Aussie folks) doing Graphic Design and is involved in the Australian premiere of the musical ‘Big Fish’. She’s got big dreams, and here she is sharing her stories with us.
1. So how are you? How’s things? What’s happenin?
Quite a lot is happening, actually. I recently finished my first year of TAFE doing graphic design and towards the end of my assistant-directed production Australian premiere of the musical ‘Big Fish’.
Since about May 2015, my life has been 50% TAFE assignments and 50% planning and organising this production. Apart from assistant directing, I’ve also been doing photography and design for it as well so it’s almost a full time job… without the pay. I was very excited to be asked to be a feature for Photobook Worldwide though! I got my very first Photobook from there back in 2012 for my final assessment for my Bachelor of Photography and I was so impressed I’ve never gone anywhere else.
*Editor’s note: Below is one of the several Photobooks Greta has made with us. Click Here to check out more Wedding Readybook designs.
2. Tell our readers here what they should probably know about you.
I’m 25, and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I started photography when I was about 15, back at Brauer College, in Warrnambool. We were only allowed to do photography OR media because they ran at the same time, and I think I chose the right one. I really liked the research part of it, weirdly, because usually I hate all the lead up to the actual work – I just want to take photos and have them finished! I started at RMIT in 2010 and was there for three years, and I learnt a lot.
*RMIT: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
I did a lot of portrait stuff at RMIT (which was my favourite), and I worked with a few comedians / funny people on one of my projects and I really fell in love with stylised portraits. I felt it captures the essence or aspirations of a person. They were also works that I scored highly in! I did a big project on LGBTQ youth in Melbourne (which became my first Photobook!) which was well received, and I even did a radio interview for it.
Some of the photos ended up in Archer Magazine which was my first hard copy magazine publication, so that was really exciting.
3. So besides portraits, what other kind of photographs have you done?
Not a lot really… I’ve done a lot of what I guess can be called ‘travel’ photography in North America and Europe, which were hardly any portraits at all. For me to shoot something without people in it, it needs to be a really visually inspirational scene.
For example, shooting around my hometown and finding something I really love would be quite difficult because I’ve seen it all so often, for such a long time. But going to Paris, or Brooklyn, everything is so new that everywhere I look, something can be photographed. Often I’ll get back to my hotel and find that most of it is terrible, and the ones I took the quickest are the best, compared to ones I’ve laboured over which are average.
I also move in and out of film photography – I’m really impatient so film can be frustrating but I love the mystery and how you can’t inspect the shot and take another. If it sucks, you won’t know for ages, and if it’s amazing, then the wait was even more worthwhile. I often forget to take photos on my film camera while overseas though, because my hand is glued to my DSLR – like I said, I’m very impatient.
4. What inspires you when selecting your shots?
I currently am into photographing wide open shots and having the foreground sharp and the background soft. I love the effect it has on an image, and how you can’t recreate it on smartphone or by simply point-n-shoot. Getting an image with a really beautiful focus is about setting a quality which can make give backyard shots that premium treatment.
When i’m on a job and shooting my portraits, I’m always trying to get the eyes perfect. It’s not only about making sure there were not blinking, but making them sharp, reflecting what I want the image to say. Disinterested eyes can really mess up the whole composition. When I’m shooting a wedding and I get the light and focus right, I can shoot up to 20-25 photos of the bride and bridesmaids just because the focus is so beautiful, giving me exactly what I want. Then when I get home, I decide which of those 25 get to stay, and it usually comes down to what the eyes are saying.
I also really love colour – I’ll shoot in black and white if I have to, but if I’m planning something I always visualise it in full colour. I’m really into dusty pinks and sunset colours at the moment, but that could change any day now.
5. Tell us about some of the more interesting shots you’ve taken.
Probably my most favourite shoot I ever did was with comedian Sammy J. back in 2012 for my final portfolio. I wanted to take some stylised portrait images for an assignment, while he was coincidentally was looking to make an album cover too. So it became a combination project. It was both so exciting and kind of terrifying, because for someone who hadn’t even graduated photography school yet this was a lot of pressure.
I was a big Sammy J. fan and wouldn’t turn down the job, but I was so nervous that he’d hate it or that it wouldn’t be good enough. Anyway, the shoot turned out pretty good. It was well planned and prepared that it went super smoothly and I was very proud afterwards. Sammy J. and I are still in contact too, which is about all you could ask for! The album we worked on (Skinny Man, Modern World) ended up being nominated for an ARIA in the ‘comedy’ category, and my photo was displayed at the nomination announcements really huge so that was really, really exciting.
*ARIA Awards: Australian Record Industry Association
I also did a mini-project while at MoMA in New York in 2015, which was taking photos of people taking photos of the artwork. I would admit to spending a lot of my days in museums and art galleries just photographing everything, wanting to see how many people I could catch in the act. Some of them ended up being photos of people looking at the art, because photos of just the art themselves can get a bit repetitive.
I could google what Van Gogh’s Starry Night looks like, but what did it look like at this exact time on this exact day? Which artworks are constantly surrounded by people and which artworks are hidden in a corner with hardly any views? It was interesting to see where people flocked to and what was left alone. It was an interesting way to look at the art, compared to through my iPhone or just wandering around reading captions. It was also a good lesson in quick focusing because people only hold their phones up for a second. I spent a lot of time standing behind people who were preparing to take a photo with my trigger finger half-pressed so I could take a rapid series.
*MoMA: Museum of Modern Art
6. You mentioned that you’re into performing arts. What’s that about?
Well I got into drama and performing arts at around age 13 – I always enjoyed it but never participated. I was chorus in a production of The Music Man in my hometown of Warrnambool, VIC, Australia, and it changed me forever. I loved the teamwork and the atmosphere, and working towards a common goal – and the common goal also involved costumes, makeup and ultimately, the applause. That was 11 years ago now, and I’m still working with that same company. I’ve done photography for two of their shows (three by the time you read this!) as well as a load of graphic design – programs, t-shirts, posters, banners, flyers – which is maybe what got me into graphic design as well. If I could write down a dream job and receive it instantly, I’d be photographing the musicals and plays on Broadway or West End – you know when you buy a program and it’s full of those exciting full colour sharp pictures of the show you’re about to watch? Those would be mine.
7. What are your future plans looking like at the moment?
I still have another year left of TAFE in my graphic design course, and after that I think it would be nice to have a small studio and have a design/photography business, maybe with a couple of other people, who also specialise in a type of creative media. That way we could all have discussions about our personal projects and help each other out. Our office would also be really nice, with big windows and lots of plants with big leaves and things would be made of copper and all our mugs would be mismatched. From that, I’d hopefully build enough of a portfolio to get work overseas so I can start working with new people in new locations. I really love doing my design and photography work, but working from home makes it feel like less of a job and more of a hobby. I also require people to talk to and throw ideas at and show them my work so far, and when it’s 2am and you’re in your bedroom and all your friends are asleep, that’s annoying. A professional environment with understanding and creative friends is the dream!
Find out more about Greta on her website gretapunch.com
or check her out on flickr!