You might know of Luke Shadbolt. If you’re someone who follows fashion influencers with a fierce passion, you’ll be well aware he’s the fiancé of Nicole Warne, aka. Gary Pepper Girl. But while Luke does step behind the lens for his social media famous partner on occasion, an Instagram boyfriend he is not. Luke is incredibly talented in his own right, making waves (pun intended) for his breathtaking surf photography.
Straight out of uni I worked as a graphic designer and had a lot of clients in the surf industry. I always had a passion for photography though, and interned for Tim Jones, one of the biggest surf photographers in the world. I remember a piece of advice he gave me, which was “don’t even bother. It’ll take you 5 years to get anything published and even then, there’s no money in it”.
I only ever saw art as being about aesthetics, but it’s really evident now that a work of art can have a utility value with the potential to effect change on a much larger scale, which is what excites me the most.”
Eventually I decided to take some time off and shoot a project purely for myself, which resulted in my first show last year with Michael Reid Gallery titled “Maelstrom”.
There are endless entry points to get into photography, but my three main pieces of advice would be these.
Find yourself a mentor that you respect and admire. I’ve had the privilege of working with Phil Gallagher over the course of my career, who has been an endless source of advice, inspiration and good times and someone I now consider a great friend.
Remember that photography is essentially a medium, the strength is in the idea.
And finally, keep in mind it is a career. The quality of your work is one thing, but you will still need to take care of the business side of things. Networking and making sure people actually like working with you will get you more jobs than your work ever will. No-one wants to work with a dickhead. I do my best not to be one, but hey, at the same time you can’t please everyone.
I would also say that social media is where I get probably 50% of my commercial interest these days, so it is very essential to have one to present your work on. I do hate that Instagram has become almost a paint by numbers platform though, it seems to have lost it’s creativity a bit in recent times.
Image: Instagram / @lukeshadbolt.