Maker of the Month - Linsey Rendell

Linsey Rendell is one of those people that has many projects on the boil and always has interesting stories to tell about her adventures. We first met Linsey when she came into Guild to shoot and write an article for Broadsheet. She was warm and friendly and knew how to make as feel comfortable in-front of her lense - we instantly liked her. Since then she has done many of our product photoshoots for our website and newsletters. Each time she manages to produce beautiful results with limited resources. 

Linsey is teaching a 'Photography for Ceramicists and Makers' class at Guild on Saturday 29 April where students can learn basic lighting and editing skills to get professional looking product photos for web and print marketing. There are two places left for this hands-on class, so jump onto our website and book yourself a spot.

Below we showcase some of the lovely images Linsey has taken for us, and we ask her about photography and life...

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your practice? 

I’m a freelance writer and photographer. My stories generally explore ideas within food culture, farming and design, nurturing further conversations across sustainability and social and environmental change. These days, I find most of my ‘freelance time’ is spent producing Broadsheet’s travel stories, and writing and shooting for Peppermint Magazine. My Peppermint stories mosey from profiles of Melbourne ceramicists, shoemakers and fashion designers to features on farmers, social activists and environmental issues. I also work behind the bar at Market Lane and run their social media accounts, and occasionally play assistant to other photographers. My ‘studio’ is essentially a combination of my flat in Kensington and cafes (Long Street Coffee is a favourite) and bars (Clever Polly’s, Sunmoth, Neighbourhood Wine) for a change of scenery. 

When and how did you first get started in photography?

I was lucky enough to have photography as a subject in high school. Back then it was all film-based photography and we shot everything in black-and-white and developed it ourselves in the darkroom. We only started to play with digital SLRs right at the end of year 12. So I learnt the basics—line, composition, light direction, exposure—slowly, making each click of the shutter count. After I finished my journalism undergraduate degree, I took night classes at the Brisbane College of Photography and Art to upskill my manual SLR knowledge to the digital realm, along with learning to edit in Photoshop. My mum kindly gifted me a Canon 1000D when I was 22, and I used it tirelessly that year. I quickly outgrew that base model, and upgraded to a 7D the following year. That body was my sturdy companion for five years, until a friend recently sold me his 5D. It’s been a very slow progression to build up to this point—it’s an expensive passion to pursue!  

What has the journey been like since those early days? 

In my honours year, I created a magazine from scratch, completing all of the writing and photography, so I could bring these to disparate skills of mine together on a page. That project landed me a job editing a weekly digital publication in Brisbane, where I continued to both write and shoot for three years. This was a very fast-paced environment, so I learnt to shoot quickly and efficiently. In my mind the work was merely ‘good enough’, but my ‘good enough’, luckily, was impressive to others. I shot portraits, interiors and food, and developed the beginnings of what I suppose is my editorial style. Since moving to Victoria and becoming a freelancer, I’ve tried to push myself to slow down and consider each shot, but it’s something I struggle with constantly, especially when time is limited. I still shoot food, interiors and portraits, but I love shooting landscapes and nature. I produce a lot of travel stories, so I’m lucky to get out to national parks and coastal regions regularly. I’m trying to train my eye to pay closer attention to light and shadow and lines and shapes, and to make pictures out of these tiny moments.  

What does a typical day look like for you?  

Each day starts with making coffee at home for myself and my partner. Breakfast is really important—I can’t eat gluten or dairy and I’m predominantly vegetarian, so eating a nourishing meal in the morning keeps me sustained throughout the day. If I’m heading out on the road for stories, I’ll be photographing various venues all day and meeting people and hearing their stories. Then when I return to the city, I’ll spend one or two days writing up the words component of the story, and one day editing the photos. I try to make a dance class every Monday evening, and Melbourne Cinématèque on Wednesdays, but it’s not always possible. I definitely find I have more headspace and feel physically more able when I’m practising yoga, but life has been rather upturned of late and I’m still trying to re-find rhythm and space for these important rituals.  

 

What are you...

ReadingKrista Tippett’s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Bruce Pascoe’s Earth.

Listening to? Podcasts! Namely Design Matters with Debbie Millman, 99% Invisible, Hidden Brain, On Being with Krista Tippet, Longform and Memory Palace. 

Watching? The intriguing and obscure films screened at Melbourne Cinématèque  

 

Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word 

Breakfast: Miso, avocado, kimchi and eggs 

Weekends: Slow mornings, natural wine evenings  

People: Community  

Pause: Sunset 

Sound: Jazz in the morning 

Smell: The salty ocean 

Place: Anywhere good friends are  

Texture: Linen 

Ritual: Morning coffee 

Colour: Indigo  

 

Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there? 

You can be angry at the system, or you can get inside the system, and change things from the inside out. "The best way to complain is to make something" ~ Seth Godin on Design Matters. 

I’m an optimist and my partner is a realist, which is helpful in balancing out each other’s strong opinions. But everyone needs hope. Hope is what creates change. “It’s much more radical, much more daring and much more dangerous to hope" ~ Mary Karr. 

We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about it?  

The workshop is designed to give ceramicists and makers a few insights and skills to up their own photography, so they can shoot their products and improve the look and feel of their websites and social media accounts. Hiring a photographer can be expensive, and when we’re all following our dreams and just scrapping by, there usually isn’t money around for investing in really polished imagery. So the workshop will allow makers to do-it-themselves. I’ve done trades with ceramicists in the past when they have a whole collection they’d like to shoot. But sometimes you just need one or two images to submit a proposal for an exhibition or promote a studio sale. After the workshop, makers will feel confident that they can produce these images on their own.  

Any other projects or news you want to share?  

My partner Björn, his brother Sascha and I also produce a journal called Scrag End. It sits within the food culture and food futures space, but mostly we just love telling people’s stories and pairing these with beautiful imagery and film. It’s predominantly a print publication, but printing a magazine off your own back is expensive. So we redesigned the website to turn it into a space where we could continue to publish stories even if we don’t have the money to put them on a printed page. There are a couple up there now, and we’re hoping to add more very soon (yet another ‘spare time’ project!) Take a look: scragend.com

 

Photography by Linsey Rendell

You can follow Linsey on all her adventures via Instagram