Callum Smith is a up and coming fashion photographer, with his sights set on the big time. At only 20 years of age, Callum has a bright future ahead of him – which will include going to live in London this year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
I am 20 years old, and I was born in Coffs Harbour. I went to Bishop Durrit College and left school at the start of Year 11.
I have lived in Sapphire Beach my whole life, but I have recently returned from living in Sydney for a year, where I commenced my Photography Diploma studies at a design college down at The Rocks.
What inspired you to start photography?
My father was a keen photographer while I was growing up. I was heading on a trip to NZ to see my cousins and I wanted to take a camera with me, so I decided to buy a DSLR camera. Since then, taking photos has just amazed me. Photography just felt like the right fit for me, and there was this inside drive which then pushed me to study it.
You shoot a variety of subjects, but what’s your favourite thing to photograph?
I started out taking surf photography when I first picked up a camera. My dad handed down to me a 500 mm lens, which is great for sport photography. I had a lot of friends who surfed, so I was always down at the beach taking photos of them, and then I would run home and edit them and show everyone. Since then I have matured, and I feel that fashion photography is my strength.
What is it about fashion photography that intrigues you?
Fashion photography is always changing, just like fashion does in general. So when I go to do a shoot, I feel that I need to adapt to the changes in fashion. I have always been intrigued by fashion, and I feel I can relate to it quite well.
Finding the perfect location is what I love about it. Driving around and looking for secret little places to do a shoot gives me such a buzz! I feel that finding a great place makes my images stand out.
On another note, the girls and the garments are also are huge factor when it comes to taking a great image. To me it’s a challenge, which I love to battle from the start. Since living in Sydney, I know the standard in fashion photography is high, so it makes me a huge critic of my own work. I feel that is good though, because it makes me want to try harder to get that perfect image that I want to show the world. It is hard to explain, though there is no better feeling than heading home after a shoot knowing that you have some great images in your bag.
What inspires your work?
My friends, magazines, the internet and blogs. Everything is on the net these days, and everywhere I look there are new things to inspire me … even just walking past cafés and shops. To me, everything relates in a way that we see it. In the end, you need to be able to put your heart into your work. If your heart is not there, then the passion and the drive won’t be there, and your work will not turn out.
Who are some of the artists/photographers you follow and why?
Chris Searl: he is a photographer based in Sydney and shoots for Monster Children Mag. I just find his work to be happening and in the moment. I’m always checking out his work to get ideas and see how the mad dog is going! He is a cool dude. He has a beard!
Richard Avedon: is a photographer who has inspired my work greatly. His images blow my mind away. I always go by his quote: “There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
Outside of photography, what are your hobbies and passions?
I recently got a job as a junior graphic designer for The Hoey Moey and The Plantation Hotel. So that is keeping me busy knocking up posters and designing various things. I have a strong passion for computer art too.
I also just recently picked up the golf clubs, so I don’t mind going for a good old swing down at my local club at Bello (a bit of a drive, I know).
Travelling is something I have always wanted to do, and I am fortunate enough to be heading to the UK this year. I will be able to check out all the art and fashion photography there, and I’m sure it will be a huge eye opener for me!
I play the guitar in my own time and listen to music every day.
Do you think the Coffs Coast provides good inspiration for photography and creative people alike?
I feel that it does in a way of personal space. When I was living in Sydney, there was so much competition down there … it is a joke. Every second person has a camera! I feel that Coffs Harbour is a great place to work on your photography. Look around us … we have some of the most amazing coastal ranges on the whole entire east coast!
We can use this and take it places, and people will be amazed about where we live. We are very lucky to live in a place with a rainforest as a backdrop, as well as the best beaches with no-one on them.
I do think that the Coffs Coast creates a great inspiration for creative people like me. I feel that space and time is the key to making amazing art, and congested places do not do that for me.
You can view some of Callum’s work at