Our recent bi-monthly awards night saw us welcome a new Viva Master Photographer into the group with Linda Cooper from Viva Armadale joining our elite group of master photographers. Linda is one of our very talented and passionate photographers who lives and breaths creativity and photography. Working at Viva for a number of years now, Linda has a real passion for people and sharing her clients stories. This is of course what Viva is all about and we are lucky to have such a passionate photographer in our group.
In this blog post, we invited Linda to share what she loves so much about photography and what she has learnt from working at Viva. Here is what she had to say.
What does it mean to become a Viva Master Photographer?
I have always admired the art and professionalism of Viva Photography. I loved the chiaroscuro style of their sepia’s and candid portraiture.
Being a Viva Photographer means being in touch with a network of fine photographers and sharing inspiration and creative ideas. Vittorio Natoli is particularly inspirational, motivating us to be the best we can be as artists.
I love being part of the clients’ journey. I am particularly satisfied when they love the images that I have produced. I love that they can take them home and that those images are now on their own journey to become heirloom pieces that generations will enjoy over and over again, accumulating new layers of meaning to the family.
What is your favourite niche to photograph and why?
I love solo and couple glamour shoots. These shoots really pare it down, whether it is a single person celebrating their relationship with themselves or a couple celebrating their relationship with their significant other. For me, glamour shoots can be the most creative. You delve just a little deeper. They are more intimate and sometimes more confronting. It takes a little more courage from the participant (and sometimes the photographer) than a family shoot but the results can be amazing.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography helps me to express myself far more quickly than drawing or painting. Exploring my abundant ideas in a more flowing procession.
I have always loved the human condition and the psychology of it all. My photos almost always include a human or animal element. I love that I help people reflect on important relationships and celebrate these. When someone is really touched by a photograph I’ve taken, I know I’ve done well and I’m deeply satisfied.
Photography is also a personal journey. Other people’s lives and their situations also impact on me and my own values. It is truly a learning experience.
What have I learnt about myself from being a photographer at Viva?
We have many types of families and individuals that come through our doors and what I’ve learnt is that it is ok to be human, to be flawed. There is beauty in difference and we are celebrating these differences but also our sameness. It promotes empathy and humanity. As Maya Angelou, the poet behind Apple’s “The human family” advertisement says “ But we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
When I say this, I am not only talking of physical differences but also everyone has their version of “family” or “couple” or even “me.” It takes all sorts to help us find our best version of ourselves.
When you take people into the studio, you remove them from their environments so all that is left is them and their relationships with each other. It is a learning experience even for the clients. It is quite often emotional, transformative and sometimes cathartic.
When I worked with the newspapers, the images were about decisive moment. When all the elements fell together perfectly to tell a complete story in one picture. Here at Viva we get to do that but also explore all the little nuances and emotions in between. We present a storyboard of a connection or relationship. We remove people from their busy lives for a brief time and shift their focus back to themselves and what is really important.
Share with us one of your most memorable Viva photo sessions?
I have so many favourite sessions that it is impossible to choose one. Many are memorable,I have had stories of transgender progressions, unusual pets and a guy who placed roses all over the city in places where he and his fiancé had important dates and then the roses and a poem became incorporated in the shoot to celebrate the significance to them. There was a guy who brought in a morph suit and wanted to celebrate the empowerment it gave him and funny moments – The guy that stuck his fingers up his brother’s nostrils causing raucus laughter and a memorable photo that embodied their large characters and their wacky brotherly connection.
The shoot I’d like to share is that of an elderly Thursday Islander lady who came in for a solo shoot. She was adorable and loved to dance. She danced traditional dances that her parents had taught her and sang traditional songs. Her whole being lit up in the process. She shared stories of her life quite openly and thoroughly enjoyed her experience. The photo below tells stories of her life without her uttering a word.