January 8 - 14, 2017: Issue 295

Jacqueline Andronicus

For January 2017 our Artist of the Month is a lady whose regular contributions have brightened the pages of this weekly online magazine and recording Palm Beach Longboarders events, including The Big Tow and the Palm Beach Longboarders Old Mal And Old Log Rally 2016: The 20th Year.

Local Lifestyle Photographer And Creative Director At Velvette Studio

Nature is a vital element in my being and one which I essentially express through my photography. I love to chase the sunlight and shoot in natural environments. I put people in the scene, to give a sense of presence. Nature is perfect, we are part of it, it’s up to us to honour it and preserve it. 

I do realise I need to raise my voice a whole lot to stand out in the 
competitive, oversaturated world of photography. 
I want to do that through my imagery, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so 
I’m finding my direction and building a body of work
 I can feel really proud of. 

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it, in a word, effective.” 
Irving Penn has long been my favourite photographer, I love his anthropological works, where he travels to far off locations, sets up his mobile studios and captures the people of the culture. Placing them in a neutral environment, imbues a sense of authenticity and rawness to his portraits. I’m drawn to using photography more as a narrative, than to just create beautiful images. 

My body of work dates back to 1993, where I was shooting film & transparency on a Nikon F2. I got so much joy out of that camera, it was fully manual, so I was forced to control my exposures, therefore I was always learning. The quality of the images was insane, it’s such a beautiful 35mm film camera. I got a lot of photography work through friends, though not having any business skills, I initially gave away all the photos, negatives and transparencies for all that work. 

I’d say its taken me 40 years to start believing in myself, 
after years of being crippled by self doubt, it’s been 
a gradual journey to here, I’m so ready now. 

I worked as an assistant to several fashion and lifestyle photographers, doors were opening up for me, though I missed so many opportunities. I always say, looking back, I let my hippie values get in the way of my success. I was such an idealist, I just wanted to being an artist. I moved to Byron Bay, I struggled financially, in those days there was less money in Byron. I did so much work for free, clients paid only for film and processing. I do have some of my favourite images from that time though, and I’ve made wonderful lasting friendships. 

Those years were so pivotal in overcoming my low self esteem, 
learning to love and understand myself. 

After my son Kahu was born, I had all my photography equipment stolen out of my car. I was so devastated, I had to take the pressure off myself being a struggling photographer and a working single mum. I put my dreams on the top shelf, promising to one day pick them up again. I bought an Olympus Mju II 35mm camera and just had fun with it. I didn’t get into digital photography until 2006; I bought a Canon 350D and my first iMac. I pushed that camera to its limit, until it was obviously, just not enough. Eight years later, I finally upgraded to a Canon 6D, with a well priced full frame sensor.  As I love to shoot portraits, I was desperate to upgrade again, to the Canon 5D Mark III and L-series lenses. I am so happy with the image quality I get from this camera, and beautiful lenses, it's the best I’ve ever had. 

I decided to study once I found my way back to photography, to give myself confidence to take on professional work and get the results I was after. I started my Photo Imaging Cert IV full time in July 2013, we studied everything about photography from the roots up, old school camera techniques, composition, studio lighting, medium and large format, darkroom  as well as digital imaging and business strategies.  I went on to study my Diploma January 2015 part time, I secured a great job as a photographer in the Digital Expertise division at the NSW State Library, I worked there full time whilst I studied 3 nights a week for 2 years. It’s been hectic, my partner has been so patient and supportive, I could not have done it without him, I’ve just finished. I wish I’d done it 20 years ago, though as a 20 something, ‘artist’ I chose not to study, as I didn’t want my style to be affected by someone else’s opinion. Tafe has given me the technical tools I was after and the confidence to say yes to clients. One day I’d love to go on to study a Bachelor of Fine Art, major in Photo Media. 

I started specialising in underwater portraiture this year, I composed a series, for my Tafe final portfolio. I’ve saved up and just purchased an Aquatech underwater housing for my camera. I’m so excited, being a water person, I’ve longed to get into underwater photography, for some time. When I get in the water with my camera, light bouncing all over the place, I feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole, it’s surreal what light does when it hits the water. “Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains & earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness.”  
Lao Tzu. 

In 2016 my Image “Breathe” from a trip I did with Canon to Lady Elliott Island, was selected as a semi finalist in the Moran Photographic Prize.


Ideally I’d like to be an artist, I understand I have to work commercially to fund my artistic endeavours, which allows me the opportunity to only get more mileage and experience. I’m formulating my direction and look forward to starting off fresh after a well deserved holiday. I’ll be working on my photography portfolio all summer too, I’m so happy I’ll have time to shoot morning, noon and night. Success to me would be to be happy of course and to live in and work out of my studio, to travel often photographing nature, beauty and culture and eventually become an exhibiting photographer. I really look forward to 2017 I long to travel, live consciously, meet interesting people and create art, we are living in such transformational times, the whole world is waking up, it’s pretty scary and exciting.

I love this quote from Peter Lindberg
“CREATIVITY...is the basis of self-expression. Why are some people supposedly more creative than others, and why can’t others open themselves up enough to be able to express who they are?
Creation is the birth of something, and something cannot come from nothing. When someone creates something: a painting, a poem, a photograph, the creativity comes from an idea, from a feeling, from emotion, or from a combination of ideas, feelings and emotions that are somehow ‘reborn’ from all our experiences and perspectives.
Creativity is the desire to express ourselves. To formulate these expressions, we have to draw from our reservoir of experience, dreams, desires and experimentation and mix together what was, what is, and what could be… I don’t think you can learn it, it is rather something that evolves. Your perception of everything in your life fills up this reservoir.
Some people are drawn to create and express themselves, others are drawn to reflect, to analyze. But in the end, they all could be creative if they had the desire to explore the way in which they are integrated in the world of their experiences. Because creativity is really a rebirth, a true tone we feel for ourselves and for our world. Then our work becomes a real part of who we are. Maybe all this is a question of how deep we are willing to go.” 
Peter Lindbergh with Lily, New York, 1996

Being a creative person, I have always had endless ideas for photographic imagery, I think in pictures. I spend a lot of time alone also, the majority of my creative inspiration comes form inside me, in those quiet times, driving long distance, walking, swimming, meditating or just hanging out alone. I keep a journal where I put all of my creative ideas, plans for exhibitions, articles, photoshoots, also where I compose mood boards for clients. It helps me formulate my ideas and I always have the journal to refer back to. I’m always working on a few series for exhibition, I tend to stick to what I know, the lifestyle and people that surround me, so it’s an honest expression of me. 

My son is a longboarder, I love to shoot the traditional style of surfing, it’s like a dance on water, I never get enough of it. I photograph his friends a lot, they are incredible kids, so evolved, so aware, so free and so beautiful. I guess being a bohemian and a nature lover, into living consciously,  we connect. I love to play with light and shadow in portraiture, great light, attitude and composition make a great image. Pittwater is so perfect for soft light, I love to get down at water level, it’s like a giant light box. When on a shoot, I really like the person to feel relaxed and safe to express their inner self. 

There is always an element of magic in photography, so I like to allow for that. 

“Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait, put on a face they think is the one they would like to show the world. Every so often, what lies behind the facade is  rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.” 
Irving Penn. 

I’d like to thank everyone who has been in front of my lens, I’m so appreciative of their trust and openness, or their incredible skills, I’m so eternally grateful.

Instagram is where I showcase most of my images www.instagram.com/velvettestudio
I’m currently developing my website, it will be live early 2017 www.jacquelineandronicus.com 

I’d love to meet you and discuss your photographic needs. I have years of experience with art, lifestyle, commercial, real estate, portraiture and product photography. Open to discussions for creating imagery for your website, domestic portraiture, modelling or acting portfolios, also keen to collaborate for portfolio building, I really look forward to hearing from you. Limited edition prints are available for purchase. Please contact me atjacquelineandronicus@gmail.com or 0419 691 693