Michael Gordon Hill
1) What early influences led to your pursuit of a career in Photography?
When I was in grade 10, they offered Photography as a part of my Design class. It was the first time photography was offered at the school. There were a couple of 35mm enlargers, a bunch of developing trays and only about four of us doing it. I really took to it and went from being a pain in my teacher’s arse, to her thinking that the light was shining out off my arse! Mrs Ditton would get me to show new students how to develop film and make prints.
That was in 1995 and at the time, I’d never thought of it as a possible career choice. I was preoccupied with building cars and motorbikes. My dad was a mechanic and I was doing all the metalwork and woodwork classes I could. It seemed as though; I was destined to do a trade as a Fitter and Turner.
It was about halfway though my trade, when it became very obvious to me that I was not fitting in with the people at work. I craved a more creative environment. I started researching different schools and courses in photography, design and film. I picked the photography degree at Queensland College of Art…
2)What have been some of your career highlights?
There have been many exciting moments in my career, and each experience has been a distinctly different. This career choice has taken me to many weird and wonderful places. I’ve studied photography in San Francisco, worked for Avon Cosmetics photography studio in England, taught photography at university (both digital and in the darkroom), spent multiple days working on the Great Ocean Road: looking for photogenic koalas, following bird watchers along the beach, kayaking with seals, zip-lining through the forest holding a camera as steady as I can, and very recently, I flew to Queensland to shoot a famous historical house for a book cover.
The big jump in my career was getting a studio space at ‘Blue Tree Studios’ in October 2011. It’s given my business that extra level of professionalism and given me some much needed work-home separation. It’s also presented me with access to knowledge and support from the group of talented individuals, whom I share the studio with. We can workshop ideas, share our knowledge and be experimental with photography. It’s exciting to be a part of this large creative group.
3) Could you discuss the concept for this series of Seed Pods photography?
Life and death. The beautiful and the ugly. The banal and the interesting. From death new life breathes.
A lot of my specimens have seen their best days. They are dried up and covered in cobwebs. But their seeds have dropped and they will soon bring new life. They are shot as still-life studies of seedpods and other organic specimens that caught my eye. For me it’s about how you view things. It’s about seeing new life in death, or seeing the beautiful in the ugly and even, finding interest in the uninteresting. The transformation of dried up plant to a beautiful photographic print you can hang on your wall and look at for years to come.
4) Could you name some of your current sources of inspiration? These might include artists, designers, travel destinations, films etc.
There are two short documentaries that have really inspired me over the last couple of years: Last Minutes with ODEN is a sad but beautiful story about Jason Wood’s last days with his loyal dog Oden who had become increasingly sick with cancer. You really have to watch it to understand:
The other film is: Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles, about a passionate Vintage Motorcycle mechanic called Adam Cramer. There is no ambiguity that Adam is very passionate about his bikes and his craft and he has some serious concerns about the future of his trade. Fearing this his skills will soon become a lost art he says “I don’t right now see who the next me is? Where’s the next me?” Perhaps it’s my existing interest in building bikes and cars that I identify with.
I would love to find a wonderfully eccentric and passionate craftsman and tell their story using moving image and sound. Video is something I have always had great interest in but never tried. It’s both an exciting and scary time for me.
On the photographic side of things, I’ve been following the work of Edward Burtynsky, who I discovered when I was in London. In particular, his work on shipbreaking and recycling, relates to a project I’m doing on obsolete technology.
I love the portrait work by Nadav Kander. I remembering seeing a stunning nude photograph of track cyclist Rebecca Romero printed on a massive billboard advertisement in East London back in late 2008. The print campaign was running at the same time as these photographs were hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Blurring the line between art and advertising. I’ve always looked up to photographers who can shoot clever creative advertising work in the style of their personal work.
5) What project/s are you looking forward to in the future?
Well of course I’m excited about working with Handsome & Co and getting my ‘Seed Pod’ series out. I’m also getting printing guru, Les Walkling to make some A3 prints on beautiful handmade Japanese fine art paper, for an upcoming exhibition, displaying my most recent body of work.
Also very excited about shooting some short documentary videos. I’m looking for some interesting/passionate characters in Melbourne. Crazed bicycle builders, obscure jewellery makers, innovative designers, inspiring painters etc.
Finally I’m looking forward to working with many talented creative people in the coming years and collaborating on meaningful interesting projects.
BUY A PRINT AND SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY WORKSHOP.
To help with our Pozible campaign, Michael Gordon Hill has presented us with ten images, which have been carefully selected from his most recent photographic study titled ‘Seed Pod Series’.
Make a donation to help us set up a community wood workshop, and we will send you one of the limited edition printed cards, from Michael Gordon Hill’s ‘Seed Pod Series’.
More information after the Jump – Handsome & Co Pozible Campaign