Based in the small country town of Coatesville, Heather Liddell produces cinematic and dreamy images, which are inspired by painting and portraiture techniques. She learnt that sometimes, even when you're not quite sure of what you're doing.....you just have to fake it, and trust in your vision and abilities.
Where are you based?
I'm based in a small country town just out of Auckland called Coatesville, made famous by a certain Kim Dot Com...I'm still awaiting my dinner invitation, it will come one day soon, I'm sure. What inspired you to become a photographer? My initial inspiration to become a photographer was more a practical decision to pursue a creative vocation without becoming a starving artist- there is a beautiful marriage of technical ability and creative expression in photography that I'm still very attracted to.
How would you describe your style of photography?
This is a hard one...as I feel it changes depending on the job...but I think my style is quite cinematic and dreamy. I developed a lot of my technique through painting and portraiture, so honing in on a deeper emotional storyline and moment with the subject in my work is something that seems to remain the same despite the job.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I think my most memorable assignment was one of my first big ad assignments. I was still at uni and felt completely out of my depth. I believe it was memorable because I now see it as a bit of a right of passage. I learnt that sometimes, even when you're not quite sure of what you're doing.....you just have to fake it, and trust in your vision and abilities. Also that there are lot of experienced photographers out there who are kind and generous, and totally willing to help you out.
What would your dream Photography job be?
Something which involves travel with a team of creatives (because no man is an island), capturing a variety of interesting people and lifestyles, which would often involve consuming a lot of great food and drink. That would be the bees knees. What motivates or inspires you to keep doing what you do? I think the burden and blessing of a perfectionist, is that you can always do better. That keeps me going.
What has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?
I think my greatest challenge has been trusting and believing in myself and my talent. Its so easy to become discouraged when the jobs aren't flowing in, or when you spend most of your time working from home, looking at other amazing photography or art. But I realised after a few hard years that the worst thing I could do as an artist is become stagnant- even if I was producing work I wasn't completely happy with, at least I was making, growing and learning. Also recognising that you need to surround yourself with people that inspire and motivate you- being self employed doesn't mean you have to become a hermit.
If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing?
I would be a Storm Chaser- I have a thing for tornadoes. Briefly take us through your average day? Get awoken abruptly from some strange dream by my or my husbands alarm, attempt to exercise, smoothie or juice for breakfast, coffee, coffee, coffee, race into town- probably late- for a meeting with a client or a fellow creative at Good One, see too many friends there and get distracted, maybe I'll have a fun wee shoot in the afternoon, amble home to edit, retouch, or answer emails, realise at 6pm that I'm going crazy in front of the computer and have a little flip out, pour myself some homebrew or a Laphroaig, throw together dinner, likely Mexican and watch a movie or a favourite TV show, Sons of Anarchy or Parks and Recreation etc. Rest and repeat.
What gear do you use?
Canon 5D Mark II and a variety of lenses. Sometimes if you're lucky I might even whip out my old Bronica or Minolta, take a roll and then forget to process it for about a year.
If you had to choose only one lens, what would it be and why? Strangely enough- my relatively cheap Sigma 50mm 1.4. It was one of my first fixies and I took it half way across the world. It survived a bashing against a castle wall in Croatia, freezing temperatures in Paris and scorching ones in Cappadocia, along with my own general neglect and still took beautiful street shots and portraits. It's my trusty ol' pal.
What do you enjoy doing to take a break from photography?
Reading sci fi/fantasy or old Russian novels, being silly with friends, road trips with my husband in our renovated Caravan, watching films, throwing dinner parties and discovering new music on old vinyl.
What tips or advice do you have for budding photographers?
Ingratiate yourself into a community or forum for advice and support, become another photographer's annoying shadow, make mistakes, and beware of emails and admin, it quickly becomes half the job.
Check out more of Heather's commercial work here and her wedding photography here.