Hey Wicked Hunters,
I am excited to have Grant Swinbourne be part of The Wicked Hunt – The Art of Photography Podcast.
Grant Swinbourne is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. He produces fine art images from his travels around the world, including seascapes, landscapes and travel images.
Grant had a camera in his hands early, starting with 110mm film Instamatic cameras migrating to an SLR in 1984. Whilst his photography remained an interest, it was one that took a back seat to his career in IT, until he switched to digital photography in 2004. It’s now gradually overtaken his time and is now his full-time career.
Known mostly for his beautiful seascapes & cityscapes from along the East coast of Australia, he’s also amassed a large portfolio of travel photography from many countries. Grant has had images published in several magazines, including Viajes National Geographic, the Spanish language travel magazine for National Geographic.
In 2021 he was the driving force behind the establishment of the Aussie Artists Collective (https://twitter.com/AussieArtistCol) a collaborative team bringing together over 70 Australian artists displaying their work in two virtual galleries.
Grant now runs educational workshops around the Sydney area to help beginners and intermediate photographers to improve their skills and learn new techniques for creating artistic landscapes and seascapes.
If you want to learn more about Grant’s work, you can find it here: https://linktr.ee/grantswinbourne
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Grant Swinbourne 0:00
It’s never too late, you know, unless you’re dead. Once once you’re dead, it’s too late. But you know, so from my perspective, where you got to do is make sure that before you get there, get out there and do what it is that you’re passionate about. Because if you’re not actually doing what you’re passionate about, then why you’re doing it
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 0:18
Hey Wicked Hunters, Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast with Stanley oriental, where we talk about artists journey and how photography have given them hope, purpose and happiness. And today we have someone from downunder grant Swinburne is that did I pronounce your last name? Correct there,
Grant Swinbourne 0:47
Grant. Oh, nice. Swinburne.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 0:48
Yeah, Glyndebourne? There you are? How are you? Man? It’s good to have you here. I’m so glad. You know, I know. We connected through Twitter, Twitter space, and, you know, eventually to the NFT world. But it’s good to be to have you here and to be able to talk about your artist journey and, you know, being able to share that with the rest of the world. Yeah, thanks
Grant Swinbourne 1:09
for having me, Sam. It’s great to sort of connected if not in person, virtually. But it’s, it’s really good and really excited to share a bit more about me.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 1:21
Yeah, it’s always good, isn’t it to be able to see that person. I think that’s why that’s why we like Twitter. And a lot of us gonna move from Instagram to Twitter, because we have that ability to start listening to people voice and have a deeper connection. But you know, being is no substitute to being able to see them in person or, you know, even through zoom, it’s already helps a lot. So really is one of the things that I love about this podcast. Absolutely. All right. So you know that you are living in Sydney, Australia, and, you know, I’ve seen a lot of your work and a lot of your work are really have a really, what do you cater to a lot of the seascape and you know, all all the things around the Australian coats. So tell me, is that one of your biggest passion in photography, or you like to take a lot of other genres as well as just, you know, the fact that you’re living on the coast in Australia?
Grant Swinbourne 2:16
Yeah, I guess, you know, Australia, I mean, it’s got a massive coastline. And, you know, to be honest, I mean, I’ve been to I’ve been to a few places around the world, luckily enough, but in my opinion, you know, in certain places around Australia, yeah, we’re very lucky to have the kind of coastline that we do. There’s a lot of beaches that, you know, you can go to some beaches along the coast and not seeing another person. That’s not the case in Sydney echo. It’s, it’s, it’s pretty crowded, particularly in summer. But for me, I guess I’ve always, you know, I’ve been I was born a couple of streets away from a beach on Botany Bay in Sydney. And so the birch and being around the sea, and around the, the estuaries around Sydney has been part of my life ever since I was born. And I guess I’m always drawn to it, I’ve always loved swimming, I’ve always loved that sort of feeling of relaxation that you get, you know, when you’ve gone to the beach, and whether you’ve sat there and what’s the sunrise or whether you’ve, you know, gone for a swim or you’ve gone fishing, or you’ve gone diving or whatever, you know, it’s a good feeling, you know, and I guess for me, that’s one of the things that I tried to portray in some of my photography is that feeling of what it’s like to have that relaxation even though you might be in a, in quite a crowded cities, and very busy lifestyle, and whatever, there’s always these places that you can go to seek a bit of refuge and seek some relaxation. And so for me, that’s, that’s, I guess, one of the things that I’m trying to communicate with quite a lot of my photography that said, you know, on just as at home, you know, chasing waterfalls, or you know, out in out in a bush scene looking for, you know, mountains and whatever, recently did a trip to the UK and did quite a lot of photography around the Lake District and north Wales, you know, nowhere near the coast and very much about the mountains and so forth. So for me, they’re, they’re landscapes that I’m equally comfortable in and really, really happy about learning in those places. And, you know, again, it’s about the conveying the feeling of being there. That’s really what I’m trying to portray.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 4:39
Yeah, that’s, that’s the cool thing about you know, photography. I think that’s one of why the reason why I love photography, the moment is that you could be in a crowded place, but like when you really do need your photography, it’s like, you’re in the bubble and everything, and we’ve done it right. That’s such a cool feeling. And when you say that I just like yeah, I know exactly like, even if you’re like in Bondi Beach like you could just like Sit there have your camera and and like, everything else doesn’t just like nothing else matters. So that’s really Yeah. So like, what what’s your, you know? I love hearing that, you know, like, how can your connection with photography right and your full time live and you know how to be gender coastline really affected you a lot? How did you first fall in love with photography? Like, you know, were you always like holding a camera? Or was there a point in your life where you you just fell in love with them?
Grant Swinbourne 5:34
Yeah, I guess it’s always been a part of life for me my father, we he was quite a keen photographer. Never, you know, he never really did anything that you know, anyone I guess would call particularly artistic in terms of you know, he never tried to make photography a career or anything like that, you know, the, the art of photography that said, you know, he was always, you know, taking photos on family holidays, or whatever, you know, this is before I was even born. And I remember, he did a lot of stuff that he did from his time in the Navy, in the 1950s and 60s. And I used a lot of sitting there with him on slide nights, you know, so they, obviously they taking photos that ended up being transparencies of slides and loading them into a feeder and then sitting there slotting them through the the slide projector, just up on the on the wall in the lounge room. And, you know, sitting there watching, you know, some of his life portrayed, I guess, in that and you know, as a very young child, I guess that sort of struck me as something that was really cool and interesting to do. I got my sorry about that. I got my first camera when I was probably about 10. And that was a little 110 millimetre you know, happy snapper. film camera was an egg for instamatic. I think it was. And so from there, you know, obviously, growing up in the film days, there was nothing else there was no such thing as digital photography in those days. It was really a matter of, you know, just taking photos of things that I thought were interesting at the time. You know, whether that was down at the beach, or you know, just the back stairs in my grandmother’s house, for example. Or the other family cat, it really didn’t really didn’t really matter to me much at that time. What I took photos of it was just like, Oh, that looks interesting. I’ll take a photo of it, you know, and some of them were abysmally awful. Technically, because the camera itself wasn’t meant to chop, the subject matter, I had no idea about composition and all those sorts of things. Anyway, fast forward, I guess, until I’d grown up a little bit. And, you know, somewhere, when was it about the mid 80s, mid 1980s, I bought my first SLR, which was a Minolta SG one. And I started to get a little bit more serious about it. And, you know, started to look at, you know, how to how to create a composition and how to how to, you know, develop my own film and that sort of thing. You know, going to high school, and, you know, there was, you know, in art, we’d be messing around mostly with black and white, because colour was expensive, you know, colour enlargers I don’t think we had one at the school. You know, they weren’t, they were few and far between and very expensive pieces of kit back in the back in the 70s and 80s When I went to school, and so that sort of just drove a little bit more of their creative juices for photography. Funnily enough, though, when I left school and had sort of started to go out to work and whatever work in careers started to take over, then, you know, getting married, having kids, that took even more time, you know, and I sort of started to give up some of those passions a little bit, to concentrate on those things more, you know, more fully. And again, I guess later in in life, once the kids started to get to an age where they were a little bit more self sufficient. I went out and got a digital photography and started to get to a point where I had a few point and shoots, which I did okay with that still wasn’t satisfying me. So I ended up buying a Canon DSLR I think it was the 500 D originally.
And so yeah, it just started to get a little bit more serious and you know, one of the things that is always fascinated me from some of my father’s photography, but also, you know, some of the stuff that I’ve done at school was long exposure and how that gives you a different look and feel to the image rather than something that you know, it’s Just to point out and shoot and get that instant moment, it was about, okay taking the time. And so I really started to develop that. And you know, see scaping really lends itself to that sort of, genre of photography, it’s, it’s really nice to see that flow, or that totally smooth water, as opposed to not saying that there’s anything wrong with the frozen moment as the of the water, but from a aesthetically, I just, I just find it really pleasing to see that smoothing out of the movement of the water, etc. And, you know, that’s, I guess what drew me back into that. And so I, I do a lot of it, because I enjoy it. I also enjoy getting up early in the morning now, not very early in the morning, but I don’t mind it and enjoy seeing and being somewhere that not many people ask me, you know, I mean, even though Sydney’s got, you know, five or 6 million people often go to the beach and see something that only a few 100 People might say, you know if that?
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 11:03
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Yeah, I think that’s the thing, isn’t it? Like, just because people gone there, they don’t necessarily see everything. And as a photographer, we tend to observe more, because we want to look for something deeper, something that has connection with us. So you’re absolutely right. I mean, here’s the funny thing, I went down to my hometown, and I lived there for probably like, 12 years in my life, right? And I’m driving, we’re driving in this road that I always drive, like, every single day, like you cannot not drive to that, you know. And just last month, when I was back, I was like driving like, wow, I didn’t know there was a mountain, you know, like, right. And so you know, those kind of things you don’t notice, until I started to do photography, and start to observe the landscape and everything around a little bit more and deeper. So it’s crazy how much you take for granted. Yeah, I love hearing your story. You know, like, just how you got into photography. And it’s something like it’s been a long journey. How long have you been taking photography in general? Like, do you? Do you have a number?
Grant Swinbourne 12:09
Yeah, not not really, I don’t really count the, you know, the 10 year old photos in that though, you know, I guess some some people might, you know, and not because I’m ashamed of them or anything, because they were so bad. But I mean, they were, they were truly awful. I look at him now. And I go, you know, what was I think
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 12:31
we all have that kind of photos.
Grant Swinbourne 12:32
Yeah, I guess I guess probably since 1984, taking a little bit more seriously. But that said, you know, having that hiatus with the, you know, the, the career and whatever that I had, you know, I got very absorbed in that, and I’d love doing it wouldn’t wouldn’t have swapped it, it’s enabled me to, you know, financially secure my family and all that sort of thing. So, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of good came out of concentrating on that not on photography now, could I’ve kept, you know, focusing on that a little bit more on maybe, but, you know, other things got in the way. And it just, it just got left behind. And it was an interest that it was not something that I felt passionate enough about at the time to really get into it. And so, I guess, in all seriousness, probably about 2004, was where I started to get a little bit more, you know, with digital, get get more, I guess, passionate about bringing it to the fore. And now, you know, the end of my career in terms of working I’ve basically finished work. Or working sorry, I finished working for somebody else in November last year. And so I decided, at that point, you know, financially we were fairly secure with, we’re comfortable, we can survive without needing necessarily to make a lot of money. And so I thought, Okay, well, I’m going to make photography, the forefront and work for myself. And so I started doing workshops and started selling prints as you as you do, probably over the last couple of years have started to you know, try to build that brand a little bit. And part of that also, you know, last year with the lock downs that we had here, I couldn’t travel more than five kilometres outside my local area for a period of about 165 days, I think, which basically was driving me nuts because there’s no beaches within five kilometres of where I live. And so and, you know, I live in suburban Sydney, there’s lots of houses, telegraph poles, and I know people take photos of that, but it doesn’t drive my passion it does doesn’t make me really want to get out there and take those sorts of shots. You know, there’s no real parks. There’s one with a little brown creek that doesn’t look very attractive, you know, there’s usually shopping trolleys, and those sorts of things lying around the banks of the hair. You know, so there wasn’t a lot to photograph, or I didn’t feel it was you know, and so what I did was I decided to start a podcast, you know, similar similar to yours, you know, talking to photographers about, you know, what drives them, and what makes them passionate. So, you know, landscape photography world was born almost exactly a year ago, I think it was the 21st of July, so, only a few weeks away from where we’re recording this to, you know, to start building that as, as a means of starting to build the rest of the photography brand as well. So that people, you know, know who you are you, you start to get your name associated with other photographers, etc. And you get known in the photographic industry as well, I think so, part of that, it’s really just about trying to try to help build that brand and get, get my name out there and also help promote others, because to me, you know, that act of helping others helps me, you know, aside from making, you know, my name, get out there more, you know, helping others get their name out there and get their photography seen. As we were talking, before we started, you know, one of the, one of the biggest issues for any photographer is their ability to get seen, and if you’re not being seen them, you know, sales are going to be much harder, you know, whether they’re NF T’s or prints or workshops, you know, and so it is really about that hassle of getting your brand out there and people knowing about you, and knowing about what you what you’re doing. So helping others do that. Yes, it helps me but it also helps them so familiar, it’s a really important thing to do. And that’s why I’ve got involved in in a number of other projects that I’ve done as well.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 16:51
Yep, fantastic, made, you know, I was going to bring out the podcast, because I know you’re doing a podcast as well. And I’d like to know a little bit more about it. So I’m glad that you mentioned that. And I think what you mentioned there is really powerful, you know, like, you always when you give something out to other people, it will come back and, you know, one of the biggest thing that I’m the reason why I started this podcast was just like, I have a burnout, you know, back in 2020, I think so I just want to hear people’s journey and understand, like, do they go through this thing? You know, what, what do they do to get out of it and all this stuff, right? So apart from you know, like what you say, of course, you get the benefit of getting associated with the photographer’s you know, getting the exposure, but the cool thing about this is like, you get to listen about other people journey and what people struggle with. And, you know, it really helps you that you realise that you’re not alone. So for listeners who feel like, you know, they haven’t got to where they are, you know, they want it to be that, you know, everyone have their own journey that you got to trust your own journey and follow through with your own journey. Because if we all have the same journey, then we’re no different than the computer or underworld being manufactured, we are not manufacture we’re human, we’re unique. So I think that’s, that is so powerful that you share that, thanks for sharing that. Now, I know that you, I think that’s really cool that you put, you know, looking at your journey, it’s been a really, really long journey to fall into, you know, finally, more into full time based on photography and trying to get that brand up there. And I’m interested to hear this, right, because I know there’s gonna be a lot of people out there who say, You know what, I’m getting too old. And, you know, and at the end of my, my, my life, and I’m retired, I don’t think I can restart, you know, this passion of mine and stuff like that. But you decided to let you know, the photography kind of just brewing its own and you know, create its own momentum. And I think that’s really cool. But you never, ever give up on it and just keep going, keep going. Exactly. Finally, you get to like, Do it, do what you love the most. wants everything secure. So what would you what would you say to those people who feel like it’s, it’s too late or, you know, I’m not good enough. I’m not good with technology and all these things that come to their head that I know it’s not true. Because I know a lot of people, you know, pick it up very quickly. And I teach workshops and courses as well. It’s not that hard to learn, right, if they wanted to. Yeah, but what would you say to people who have that kind of mentality so that they can, you know, if they love photography, they can pursue that themselves without having that doubts?
Grant Swinbourne 19:29
Yeah, I think, you know, making it a career is not necessarily for everyone, and not everyone should do it. And I’m not trying to put people off doing it because it’s a tough business to get into. It’s very crowded. There’s a hell of a lot of people out there. And some will be better than us. Some will be worse than us photographically. And I think the key is to look at what it means to you as a photographer, if it means that you’re able to, you know, create art And that’s your primary driver, then pursue that and push that as hard as you can. If it’s more about making money, then you know, you need to do different things necessarily, then just focus, you got to do the artistic piece as well. But then there’s other things that you need to, you know, sit down and think hard about, you know, how do I, how do I sustain? And how do I diversify my income streams so that when people aren’t buying prints, or, you know, attending workshops, or whatever, that you know, you’ve got other passive income streams coming in. So it’s really, then you’ve got to actually have a bit of a business head on your shoulders to actually say, Okay, well, these are the things that that I need to do to actually make money out of them, probably one of the one of the hardest bits, I guess, in doing that is that need to be all things in that business, you know, you need to be not only the artist, but you know, first and foremost, you’ve got to be the marketer. So that you’ve basically got to be able to write some copy, and you’ve got to put together some kind of advertising, whatever that whatever that looks like, you know, these days, if you want to be on Instagram, you better be good at video editing. IT and technology is there to help you. And there are things that do make things like video editing, and so forth a lot easier. And even putting together together your marketing pieces. Yeah, there are things that can actually help you. So getting into that mindset of researching the tools that you need, building the skill sets that you need, so that you’ve actually got a set of skills that works in terms of being too late, it’s never too late. Unless you there, once munchie dead, it’s too late. But you know, so from my perspective, what you got to do is make sure that before you get there, get out there and do what it is that you’re passionate about. Because if you’re if you’re not, if you’re not actually, you know, doing what you’re passionate about, then why are you doing it? And I guess, you know, for me, could I have done it earlier? Yes, probably would I’ve had the, the brain space and the skill set that I needed? Well, no, because I’ve built that up over time, you know, and it’s really about getting to the right time, when you can actually do it now Should I’ve, you know, held onto some of that photographic passion during my other career, while there may be for me, that would have been at the detriment to other elements in the career. And so therefore, you know, I’m not sure that it would have worked for me to do it much earlier than I have. You know, it’s I mean, it’s really hard to say, and it’s going to be an individual choice and an individual thing for everyone. And it’s something that you’ve got to be really comfortable with, and something that you’ve got to make sure that you’re passionate enough about to be able to see it through and have the energy that it takes to actually drive, you know, those marketing elements, and, you know, the, the business elements on top of the actual, you know, passionate pursuit of creating nice art, you know, that that in itself can be all consuming for some people, and they don’t have any space for anything else. And, you know, for some people, you know, offloading some of those other things, like the marketing and so forth to other
other people can help. But then that cost you money. So, unless you’ve got a family member that’s willing to do it for you. So it’s really, it’s really hard to sort of give anyone advice without knowing their individual circumstance. But you know, from my perspective, it’s really about making sure that you’re, you’ve got the passion, you’ve got the desire to do it, and you feel that you’ve got the skill set. If you don’t feel that way, then you’re probably not ready. You know, it’s, that’s, that’s the, the key thing, but the sooner you drive, to get those skills and get the elements lined up, that you need to line up, you just need to think about it from a planning perspective and say, okay, if I’m going to do this, these are the things that I need, you know, I need to know how to do marketing, I need to know how to do my own accounts. I need to I don’t know how to do the administrative side of things, you know, if you if you’re gonna make it a business, if you’re not gonna make it a business, then it’s, it’s, they’re more about, okay, well, how am I going to create good art? And that’s really, okay. Well, once you’ve got the technical aspects of photography down, Pat, that’s where the learning really starts. Because the technical aspects, you know, to me probably about, you know, 10 to 15% of learning photography, the real skill comes when you start to look at composition, quality of life and how that reacts to the landscape, you know, in talking about landscape photography, which is probably my main passion, but also, you know, equally that can work in, you know, portraits or you know, street photography. You know, portrait, at least I guess if you’re in a studio situation, you can control the light. So very, very different. But if you’re in the street, you know, that play of light and shadow is a key part of making your art look good, but also a key part of giving a feeling and telling a story. I think a lot, a lot of art really needs to tell that story to become to transcend from just being a nice picture to being something that you know, people feel and get a reaction from. Because if it’s, if it’s a nice picture, that’s great, yes, you can hang that on the wall. But, you know, most people are only going to do that if they’re feeling a connection with that image. And they’re only going to do that if that image has some kind of, you know, I guess powerful elements in it that make you go Yeah, I feel something out of this, you know, whether it’s happiness, sadness, or anger, you know?
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 25:54
Fantastic, wow, that’s a whole lot of advice there. So, you know, even though you said that, it’s hard to give advice, I think that’s a really good advice to give is to start with a passion. I remember when I had that, that burnout, that was the biggest thing was that I forgot why I started to begin, why I started in the first place, right? So man, like, I truly agree with that. And, you know, like, you, I think you’re right, you know, a lot of people think, you know, I started when I was 30. And nowadays, there’s a lot of photographers who’s like, 14, and you know, 13, and 19, and it’s gonna be a different story, it’s gonna be a different passion, it’s gonna be a different thing. So, you know, don’t try to love what you say, you know, like, everyone’s different, everyone have their own story have their own journey, I think that’s absolutely, absolutely true. And being able to understand, like, you know, the lights and composition, I think that is the two biggest thing that you can learn from photography, because, like you say, even in a studio, where you can control the light, you can’t control anything that you don’t understand. First.
Grant Swinbourne 27:03
And to me, you know, whether you whether you look at that is another technical aspect in a studio situation, or whether you’re, you know, whether you see that as something creative. Doesn’t matter to me, but you’re quite right, if you don’t understand it, you can’t control it, and you can’t then, you know, work it so that you’re actually getting the result that you’re looking for. And some of my work is, you know, potluck, you know, because you happen to be in the right place at the right time. You know, there’s many times I go out for sunrise, at a beach, for example. And, you know, it’s just cloud on the horizon. You know, and or, you know, just the solid, overcast, despite the fact that I’ve looked at a forecast that says, yes, the, you know, there could be 80%, high cloud and no low cloud, you know, you get there and that’s just low cloud, and it’s just, you know, what am I doing here, but then sometimes that’s where you go out and you find something different to shoot you. And you don’t, the key is that by the time that you’ve taken, if you’ve taken the time to go out with your camera, and then, you know, the, for me, that’s one of the key things is that you can then learn, okay? Like, let’s say you’re at a beach and you know, it’s, it’s a really crappy looking sunrise, that you’re not going to get that bang, and that you were hoping for, well, don’t get discouraged, because you can then take shots or the way flow maybe and get something out of that. You could look at details in the rocks and do more intimate abstracts, you know, there’s a whole raft of different things that you can do with that time. And it’s a really around that thought process of saying, Okay, well, okay, I’m going to cut off the the disappointment that I feel from, you know, the fact that the sunrise didn’t happen the way I hoped it would, and focus on you know, other things that you can do creatively and, you know, it’s taking that creative mindset out into the field with you. And then bringing that home into the post production side of things as well that really, I think transcends it from just being a photographer to being a really good photographer to potentially a great photographer, and you see the great photographers, they’re taking every opportunity that they’ve got, you know, if if the conditions are particularly in landscape, if the conditions don’t work for you do something different and change, change your focus from our bed like the sunrise didn’t work for me, you know, I’m now going to try something a little bit you know, alternative to that sunrise and it’s really about keeping that open mind and I guess learning to live with the disappointments that are gonna come because I’ve had some title failures of shoots where I go out and nothing you know, I’ve forgotten that I you know, the last shoot that I’ve done, you know, might have been an astro shoots and we’re in right and I’ve left the the lens on manual focus, and I’ve got it set up in bold mode. And so I get there set up and I haven’t changed it from bold mode and I haven’t changed the order. And the first couple of shots is like that’s a mess. So, what am I doing? You know, and it’s about, you know, clicking, you know, curricula. So that might that might have been a week or so ago, you know, and you’ve just forgotten that. That’s, that’s how you left your camera, you know. And so you know, it’s about clicking into gear and getting your head around that and getting focused again, on what it is that you’re shooting and changing your, your mindset from, you know, whatever, whatever you were planning to shoot to what it is, you’re going to do now.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 30:25
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s, I think, that happens to the best of us. I know, it’s still happened with me all the time. But I think it’s just, you know, if you understand it, then you know, how to how to fix it. Right. So that’s such a good advice there grant. And, you know, I want to talk about a community, you know, we we’ve been seeing that, in this industry, in photography, actually, in any industry, you know, especially nowadays, it’s no longer about, you know, branding, and you know, having people just worship the brand, but now, it’s about what you can give out to the community. And when you know, what I want to hear and learn from you. And, you know, like, you already mentioned, how you build the community, one of the things that you do to build a community is through podcasts. But there’s a lot of, I know that you’re doing a lot of different projects to build that community. So what I want to learn, what I want you to share with the audience so that they can learn from you is that what are the different ways for you to build a community and how important it is to build the community?
Grant Swinbourne 31:28
Yeah, sure. I think in terms of community, there’s, there’s a number of different things that you’ve got to look at, you know, there’s this the community, I guess, that you get, with social media and the following, and so forth, and interacting with your followers, whether they’re fellow photographers, or whether they’re, you know, just people that like your photography, or whatever, you know, interacting. So when somebody makes a comment, I make a point, you know, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever, I thank them on thanking them for the comment, you know, even if even if it’s on, you probably should have composed that differently. You know, I accept that criticism, because, you know, in some people’s eyes, what I’ve done isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. You know, and it’s learning to be open to listening to to other opinions and people, that’s really important. You know, particularly when, you know, they’re part of your audience, and, you know, fellow photographers are part of your audience as well, because that’s how people learn, you know, certainly, it’s how I’ve learned is looking at what other people are doing. And, you know, in some cases, copying, you know, and or trying to replicate it, you know, to me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in that, yes, okay, everyone wants to create something unique, or we’d like to create something unique. But you know, if you’re going to shoot the Sydney Opera House, how many unique angles are there for not many, you know, there’s probably a few 100 that you could, places that you could stand to get a different angle of it. And, you know, the different lighting that you’re going to get is going to depend on the time of day. So the point is, is that copying is a way of learning. And so, you know, looking at what other people are doing, helps you, and you have to recognise that other people are going to copy you. If you get any kind of notoriety out in the in the industry, you know, people are going to look at your work and go, I’d like to replicate that. How did you do that? You know, and that’s, that’s how you how you learn it. It’s also one of the reasons why when I post a lot of the time, I will include my camera settings. So I’ll put the EXIF up there, I’ll tell you what camera and lens I’m using. I’ll tell you, whether it’s an exposure blend, or whether it’s a single image, I’ll tell you, you know, pretty much anything you want. And if anybody asks, and some people do, not many people do, but you know, some people ask, you know, how did you do that? And they’ll tell you, if it’s a composite, you know, there’s no hiding, as far as I’m concerned and trying to say, Oh, this amazing image of a lighthouse on a point at night with the Milky Way behind it, you know, there’s absolutely no way that you if you’ve got the lighthouse in front of you and the light shining, right that you can actually see the Milky Way a little and take a photo of it. Yeah, you might see a few stars, but you’re not gonna get that Milky Way, you know, milk that you’re going to see, you’re going to have to make a composite of it to to actually make that work unless you got some amazing gear. That does something that I don’t know that. So, you know, it’s really about, you know, that that learning side of things is is a big part of community. Beyond that, I guess, in terms of building communities, I see that is really important and helping people promote their own work, you know, certainly has helped me both promote my work, but also it’s helped me understand other people and get to know other people that I wouldn’t have ordinarily come into contact with, you know, yes, you can sit there passively on social media, for example, and just look at like and whatever. And never, never engage with people to me. The word social in social media is Really the main point of it. So if you’re not interacting with it in that way, you’re not talking to people. You’re not asking people questions, you’re not commenting and saying, Yeah, well, I like this, but or I don’t like that, you know? What’s the point of being on social media, you know, if you’re not engaging in that way, so, to me, building that community in that way, is important. And I guess this really came to the fore, probably about August, July, August, last year, I started to get into NF T’s in a little way, you know, mental review items and so forth.
And was trying to work out how that traction, I guess that, you know, needed to happen could happen for, you know, for me, personally, because, yes, I’d like to sell some NF T’s and make some money out of it, because that was one of the things that a lot of people got into, but then recognise that, you know, to do that, you got to have actually have to communicate and the, you see comments from collectors of NF T’s, you know, saying that one of the key things for them, aside from the feeling they get from the art itself, is the conversations that I have with the artists. And so getting that conversation going and getting people involved in that conversation is really, really important. And so I guess one of the things that I did a little bit of thinking, I saw some of the traction that some of the New Zealand photographers were getting in that NFT space, because they kind of the thing is they already had a community where a lot of them knew one another, a lot of them had shot together and so forth, because there are a smaller community than some other countries in the world. And I’m not saying I’m not saying that disparagingly, I’m saying that, because it’s just the fact that we’re smaller, they’re a smaller country, smaller community, it’s easier for them to get together physically, in a lot of ways, you know, than it is might be, it’s really difficult for me to go and shoot with a guy in Perth, because it’s a six hour flight away, you know, whereas someone in Sydney, I can ring up and we can connect and go and shoot, you know, which is great. But, you know, if you want that whole Australian experience, then you know, it’s not all about Sydney, or Brisbane or Melbourne. It’s, it’s about the entire country. And so some of these guys getting some traction, because they were sort of supporting one another mainly in Twitter, retweeting, and so forth. And I had a bit of a think about it and thought, Okay, well, one of the ways that we could do this is we could actually create a collective of Australian artists and get them together to start promoting each other’s work. Beyond that, we also saw the rise of things like on cyber, where you have these virtual galleries, you know, 3d galleries where, you know, either in VR or on just on a on a 2d screen, you can actually move around a virtual gallery space, looking at the art. And so I reached out to a number of people that I knew, but also some people that I didn’t know, and asked if they’d be interested in submitting their work through a gallery. And so we did the first gallery, which was, I think, 44 pieces with 22. Artists, we then grew that to being 110 pieces in a much larger gallery, with 68 artists. And so from that developed, through the chats, a bit of discord, you know, conversation spaces and so forth, we started to build a, I guess, a photographic community within Australia, that was that self supporting and now we have, you know, a number of people joining, you know, group chats, and so forth, so that they can come into that fold and, you know, help promote one another’s work, you know, so we, we talk to one another, you know, I guess it’s offline a little bit, you know, it’s still online, but it’s, it’s out of the public view, about what we’re going to do, and then we go and do it. And in the public vein, it looks like there’s, there’s a bunch of guys or by guys and girls that, you know, sort of work together to try and promote one another’s work. And so for me, a, it’s really helped in not just providing work, but it’s, it’s helped in developing that community in that relationship with people, there’s a connection there, and you know, that you can go to that person, you know, I know that there’s been some, you know, technical issues that have come up with, you know, people’s wallets,
or on open sea or on foundation and whatever. And people have been able to help within that community to actually resolve some of those issues or give advice about how to resolve them. But there’s also been some collaborations that have come out of it. And there’s also been some work opportunities for one another where people who’ve gone out and helped on shoots or have helped with web design or help with, you know, building other projects. And so you know, that community building I think is is something that It’s really important to be part of the community because we’re, we’re not individuals that are islands that are able to do everything ourselves. You know, some people are lucky and gifted that way, but not many of us. Certainly not. Yeah. And so by being able to lean on other people’s skills and their knowledge and their backgrounds, you can actually, you know, bring your knowledge forward and bring your skill set forward. And you can learn a lot. And to me, you know, it’s one of the things that I think, should be probably, you know, a mantra for everybody is never stop learning, you know, because if you stop learning, then, you know, you’re not going to progress. You know, progress only comes through learning. And so it’s really about educating yourself and educating other people with things that you may know, or they may know that you don’t know. And it’s that sharing of information that really, I find the most valuable part out of it, let alone any sales or whatever, which might come out of it. From a financial perspective. To me, the most enriching part is not the financial part, it’s actually the learning.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 41:05
Wow, that is one whole lot of advice and wisdom there. Thanks a lot for sharing that grant. I think, you know, like, when I first started, especially like this, there was a time where I wanted to do like fashion photography and stuff. And there was a lot of this notion where, you know, like, we are competing against each other, and I think I’m really happy that especially in this NFT world, you know, even though I know that there are a lot of jealousy, a lot of, you know, a lot of competition and all that stuff, which, you know, I don’t think we can ever get away from it, right? We’re only human, but we’re, we’re seeing a lot more community based, where we help each other support each other. And what’s really cool is that I feel like I’m, you know, that community translate translate back to, like, you know, the whole bigger community as well, you know, that’s not only in the NFT. And I think it’s really cool to be able to see people coming together, you know, without being scared or worried that you know, their their work, we’re going to be competing against each other, but instead, just have that peace of mind and have that supportive nature to help each other. So, I always, you know, I’m very honoured to be part of the community, the Australian collective community. And, you know, it’s awesome that you put everyone together to be part of that. And, like you say, it’s not only, you know, we’re able to help each other with the exposure, but we create, we’re making friends, we genuinely creating connection with other people. I mean, that’s why I have you here and get you share your wisdom. So yeah, this is I think this the really coolest thing about about photography, it’s not only the photography itself, but we are, you know, the connection that you make out of that. So thanks a lot for sharing that grant. We’re coming to the hour mark now. And one of the things that I always ask my, you know, my podcast guests is that if you have one advice that you can give to, to the audience, whether it’s a life advice, photography, advice, or whatever it may be, what would that advice be,
Grant Swinbourne 43:10
I guess, get started on what makes you, you know, happy, as quick as you can do it as early as you can. So, if you want to make a career out of photography, you know, make the decision, the key thing is making the decision. And once you’ve made the decision, that that’s what you’re going to do, then build a plan for how you’re going to do it. Because very rarely do people go out and just do things, you know, building a plan, I think is absolutely vital. If you’re going to try and make a living out of something, if you don’t have a plan for it. And what you’re going to do, if something fails, or something doesn’t work the way that you’d like, you know, having that plan and having the backup plan or plan B plan C, having that plan is absolutely vital. So for me, you know, just get started, make the decision to you know, get into it, or, you know, make the decision that it’s just gonna be a hobby, you know, and if it’s just gonna be a hobby, and you’re happy with that, stick with that, you know, but you know, make, make a decision about what it means to you as early as you can. And then don’t forget that you can change your mind. And, you know, if decision AI is the wrong one, this is where Plan B and Plan C come in, you know, you can always go with decision B, you know, and say okay, well, it’s not working as a business. So I’ll keep it as a hobby, and I’ll get on work and drive Ubers or whatever it is that you need to do to make the money to survive and keep shelter over your head and feed your family or whatever, you know that that’s fine. Whatever it takes to do that. Then, you know, it’s really up to you to make your path and decide how you want to how you want to fit this into your life. And if you want to make it all consuming and you want to make it your business and you want to make money out of it, then you know, warning is you might not but you know you You won’t if you don’t try, and if you don’t start, so make that decision as early as you possibly can. And then, you know, go and do everything you possibly can to make it happen. Because if you’re not doing everything you possibly can to make it happen, it’ll never happen.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 45:13
Wow, that is a great advice. I wish you’d come to my life a little bit earlier in, in my life,
Grant Swinbourne 45:20
I wish I’d made that decision.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 45:24
I think that it’s really important to to be able to make that decision, you know, like, I know that I started this journey, because you exactly what you say I would rather you know, fail and go back to, you know, try something else rather than not knowing right? The what if, what if it does? Well, you know, what, if I, I, what if it worked out what if you know, all these things finally actually make, I can make things happen and actually do something that I really happy about? So, I think it’s really powerful that you you mentioned that. And one of the things that’s really cool is, you know, it’s never too late. Right? Like, absolutely not. I love how you say, you can always change your mind, because that is absolutely true. You know, I take this seminar with Tony Robbins, and he’s like one of the, you know, the best in mindset in life and all this stuff. And one of the things that he says, like, make decision quick and change slowly. Right. So what do you say that really hits that home? And I think in many cases, we’re just too scared of you know, what could have gone wrong, but a lot of that is just in our head. So that is great advice. Great advice.
Grant Swinbourne 46:31
Yeah. I remember, probably one of the one of my favourite sayings is that if you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. Yeah,
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 46:44
that’s, that’s very true. You know, it’s all about how you believe in yourself. And your, your, your belief, I’m going to drive everything. While the grant, it’s been a really nice conversation. I love getting to know you, I love getting to know your story. And I love hearing all of your wisdom. It’s been amazing, you know, just hearing all of this things that, that you draw back from your experience, and hopefully, you know, we can hunters who are listening to this podcast, can draw that inspiration when they’re not sure of which way to go. Because I think you’re absolutely right. You don’t have to do this full time. I think, you know, it takes a lot of a certain personality for people to enjoy full time. But yeah, it’s like, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy photography, if they can do it, right. I think because
Grant Swinbourne 47:32
it’s not like golf, golf can frustrate the hell out of you. Yeah. To a certain degree, if you know, but I think I’ve applied golf, and I get a lot more satisfaction out of photography than I do at a golf. A lot more frustration out of golf than I do out of photography.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 47:52
Awesome. Yeah. So for the audience who want to learn more about you connect with you and you know, want to see more of your work, what is the best way for them to, to connect with you and, guys, I will, you know, like always, always, I will always have that link in the description. So if you need to, you know, click on it or want to go to it, it’s right there. But what is the best way to connect with you?
Grant Swinbourne 48:16
You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. Brands, if you’re looking for grand Swinburne photography, you should be able to find me. Also, you can you can find my podcast, landscape photography world, anywhere where you get podcasts. There’s also a YouTube channel where that it’s the grand Swinburne photography channel on YouTube, where you can listen to episode see the teasers and so forth. So, you know, pretty much any, any social media I don’t do Tik Tok though, so, because video really isn’t my thing. But, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s me.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 48:53
Fantastic. Well, thanks a lot, Grant. You know, it’s been a great conversation. And thank you for being here.
Grant Swinbourne 49:00
Thank you very much for having me sale. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And I look forward to talking to you from the other side of the microphone on landscape photography world at some point.
Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt 49:10
That will be interesting. I’d love I’d love to have that. But yeah, it’s been a really great conversation. I really enjoyed this podcast. So thank you for it for the time that you’ve spirit. To Stanley. Thanks very much, Matt. All right weekend as well. Thanks a lot for listening. And I’m glad that you tuned in today. You know, Grant has been grant stories has been inspiring from when he started his photography to like taking it seriously to where he is right now. pursuing it full time. I think it’s one of the coolest journey that I’ve heard and he said it himself you know, all you have, all you need is that to believe in yourself whether you can or no, it’s really up to you. So I think that’s such a really cool thing that he brought up at the end of this to wrap everything up. But if you haven’t hit the subscribe button and do so so that you can hear next people and the next thing points story as well as their journey. on how to you know pursue not only photography full time but if you only want to do it as a hobby you know there’s a lot of guests in my podcast that doesn’t really do it full time so hit that subscribe button and I’ll see you guys next week all right well until next time weekenders