Callie Marshall is an Australian photographer based in Brisbane who loves to work throughout Australia, as well as internationally. Callie has been taking photos professionally for nine years, and have completed my degree in photojournalism from the Queensland College of Arts. In these nine years, Callie has worked with artists, musicians, models, companies, as well as everyday people to illustrate her interpretation of the world around her.
Callie believes that the beauty of photography doesn’t just lie in the posed, planned moments. Some of her favourite shots are the photos that come from nonchalance and comfortability within the framework of a planned shoot. This creative versatility has enabled her to shoot a wide range of incredible projects that she is heavily involved in and passionate about. Alex got to know Callie in the lead up to Praise You, talking about risks and the creative industry.
You describe yourself and your work as empathetic - can you explain this in a little more depth? Also, can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Callie Marshall a documentary photographer hailing from Brisbane currently. I describe my work as empathetic because what really interests me as a documentary photographer is the plight of others. I’m really interested in anything that is unknown or different to me. I guess my mission in life is to experience as much as possible from a range of different perspectives and learning other people’s stories allows me to do that.
Have you been met with any challenges as a photographer?
Yeah of course. There are so many challenges, I guess the main one is finding a balance between making money and creativity whilst also not burning out. It’s very hard in the beginning when you making something from scratch to not want to give up at certain points. You keep thinking once you make a living it will be fine but it keeps going and you just find new ways to balance things.
How do you keep up your creative momentum? Where do you look to for the drive to create?
I don’t really look for drive anywhere, to be honest, it just comes and goes. Sometimes I’m tired and I need a break and then it always comes back.
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
Body confidence to me is about keeping on top of your mental health and reminding yourself what is real and not real when it comes to social media, advertising etc. It’s not something I’ve struggled with largely in my life but mental health is.
What’s it like being a woman in the creative industry? Do you find that it has its challenges at times?
Not particularly. The only difference I find when talking to male photographers is that I tend to get hit on a lot by sleazy guys when shooting corporate jobs and it’s kind of a given that I have to produce ‘banter’ to turn this into a joke and use it whilst shooting. It’s something that I’ve gotten used to and didn’t notice in the beginning after working for a lot of years in hospitality to start off with.
Where have been your favourite places to travel and have those places influenced your work?
I’m trying not to give you a huge list of every country that I’ve ever been to so I’ll choose one. Last year I shot stills for a TV series called The Wanderers in Vanuatu. It was fucking amazing mostly because of the people. It was visually different and interesting and the people were just so rad interested in what we were doing there. I don’t know if travelling influences my work in general but shooting somewhere completely outside of my comfort zone and what I’m used to, learning about another culture and way of life is the epitome of being empathetic within my work. I love it.
When it comes to female support – what comes to mind for you? It is positive or negative?
Female support is always positive to me. I have a great group of female friends who are mostly creative and down to earth. My Mum is also probably my biggest influence and support system in my life.
What’s your favourite part about your body and why?
Eyes. Who doesn’t like eyes? They’re the first thing we look at.
What the biggest risk you’ve taken to date? What were the pressure points and was it worth it?
Starting a wedding photography company when I was 24 off the back of 2 credit cards having never had a proper full-time job in my life. There were a million pressure points but yes definitely worth it, I make my bread and butter money from something I enjoy doing and it also allows me to do other jobs less well paid that I enjoy doing in the documentary field.
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception about your body and confidence changed?
I definitely get my tits out less at parties than I used to. I don’t think my perception has changed that much. I think bodies are awesome, I have no problem with my body or anyone else’s but I’m probably more aware of other people’s insecurities and feelings surrounding the issue.
Do you think there should be more talk on body image specifically in the creative industry and what do you think is missing when it is in the spotlight?
I think there could always be more talk about it but I think the creative industry does a pretty good job at the same time. I see a lot of really good work out and about in the world which is keeping things real on the topic of bodies. So let’s keep focusing on that stuff to counteract all the other bullshit that is not a realistic representation of the female body.