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A chat with Naomi Fenton

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Naomi Fenton was one of the first photographers to join us at Austockphoto, and boy are we lucky that she did. Naomi’s beautiful, natural, honest story telling style is just what we are looking for to build our archive of Australian images. Through her lens she captures a magnificent picture of her local community – the grand landscapes, the details of her town and the wonderful people around her. We are so grateful that Naomi took some time out to share a bit about herself…

 
Where is home? Have you always lived there?
I spent my childhood on a dairy farm, on the North-West coast of Tasmania. We moved closer to town when I was in high school and my parents still live at that house to this day. As for me, I have moved home and back many times, traveling to study and work in Burnie, Hobart and London. I came home to the coast after running out of money in London and I have never appreciated it more than when I was away from it. It’s also a bit of a landscape photographer’s dream, we’re talking pristine beaches, wild rainforest, rugged mountains – the whole landscape kit and kaboodle, really. I know many photographers who spend lots of time and money getting here and I grew up with it, so I feel pretty lucky to be from this part of Tassie. (It’s awesome, you need to visit it if you haven’t already.)

 
What is your favourite time of the day?
I am by no means a morning person – it’s a bit embarrassing how late I can actually be found sleeping in when I get the chance. I’m a much bigger fan of the afternoon and early evening, which has as much to do with the light as with the fact it just seems to be the time my brain is firing and I’m most productive mentally.

 
Naomi, your photos are so beautiful!  What inspires or influences your work?
Thank you! It’s hard not to be influenced by my location. As I said before, the North-West coast of Tasmania has a variety of landscapes that are incredibly beautiful – I think you’d be hard-pressed to take a bad photo out in nature up here. I’m also influenced by some of the most creative people I know and consider friends – while our community is small, there is a real passion for creating art, music, photography, theatre and performance. There’s a real “get out there and get it done” attitude here, and that’s very inspiring! I’m also strongly influenced by my mum who is an avid novice photographer herself – she’s constantly learning and never afraid to try new things.

 
Is photography your full time profession? What else keeps you busy?
I have two other occupations that keep me very busy. I teach part-time (English, Literature, History, Geography) at a local secondary school and I also help run a community-based education organisation with a friend of mine called Seedsmiths. We try to put together people in the community who want to learn a skill with the people who can teach it to them. Making courses accessible and affordable are key goals for the organisation and something that is particularly important for our local area.

 
What have you recently been photographing, that tells a story about your little piece of Tasmania?
My most recent photography work involved taking photos of the filming of an episode of Ben’s Menu with a local organisation called Produce to the People. PTTP take excess stock of food and vegetables from restaurants, cafes and supermarkets that would otherwise be wasted and redistribute it to those in the community who need it most. On the day of filming they announced a partnership where Ben will be their patron. I had an absolute ball on the day – it was really exciting to see behind the scenes of a favourite cooking show, and I was so pleased to help get the word out so that this really important community organisation can continue to operate.

 
What are your three most loved subjects, objects or places to take photos of?
Local landscapes (I’ve taken photos of the Table Cape lighthouse so many times it’s bordering on stalking now), family and friends, and … my cat! (She’s very cute. And I’m very biased about that.) Also, later this year I’ll be going on a school trip to France (I know, I know!) and I’m terribly excited about the photographs I’ll be taking over there.

 
What do you shoot with?
I have a Canon 6D (I recently upgraded from a 40D), which I absolutely love. I tend to mostly use my 50mm f/1.8 lens but the 18-135mm lens gets a look-in every now and again too, depending on what I’m shooting on the day. When I don’t have my “big girl” camera with me, I use my iPhone 6 and I’m working on my addiction to Instagram (not really.)

 
What are two or three must see or do experiences, when visiting beautiful Tasmania?
Hmm, only two or three hey? In that case, I’ll stick to suggestions for when you come to the wonderful North-West coast (as I’m sure you soon will!) Firstly, one of my favourite places to visit is Stanley – make sure you check out Highfield House, it’s a restored homestead originally built for the head of the VDL Co. It has been gradually restored over the last 20 years or so (I’ve been lucky enough to witness the various stages of this myself) and is a popular venue for weddings. Next, it would be pretty remiss of me to not mention Cradle Mountain. It’s popular with tourists and photographers for a reason. You can’t not go there (it’s a local rule.)  I’ve talked about Table Cape lighthouse previously, there’s a great, short walk along the coastline where you can then view the township of Wynyard. The views over the strait are fabulous. While you’re in Wynyard you might like to have a look at Fossil Bluff – the reason for the name will become obvious when you start exploring the beach! Finally, much closer to home is Boat Harbour (that’s where I spent a large part of my adolescence!) The beach is small but beautiful and you can get great coffee and food at the cafe. (Sorry, that was more than two or three – I just couldn’t help myself!)

 
How do you enjoy your free time?
Apart from heading out in the car to take photos, I love catching up on my reading (a pleasurable hazard of being an English teacher) or spending time with my parents, which usually involves lunch, a shared bottle of wine and then a photographic excursion with mum while dad listens to the footy (or snoozes!) in the car waiting for us to finish.

 
What do you find exciting about being an Austockphoto contributor?
I really like that it’s stock photography with a difference. I’d been considering putting some of my work on a stock photography site, but had never found one where I thought my style would feel at home and fit in. The images are incredible, honest and tell a story. I also really like the fact that through it, I’ve been introduced to the work of a whole host of talented photographers from all across the country. I’m chuffed to be involved!

 
You must see for yourself, why we are so delighted to have Naomi as one of our founding contributors at www.lookseebynaomifenton.com.  


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