20 Years of CCP: (More than) 10 questions with Heidi Linehan

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS

Heidi Linehan (Certificate IV graduate 2005)
www.heidiwho.com

Today’s featured graduate Heidi Linehan first studied and graduated with our original Certificate IV in Creative Photography from the CCP in 2004 while we were still located on Union Street in Stepney. We didn’t move to our Marleston location until Term 1 2005, and Heidi returned in Term 4 to check out the new location while she studied our then newly planned Portrait Photography 2 class with Sam Oster.

Since then, Heidi has become an accredited photographer with the S.A. Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) and opened her own business “Heidi Who Photography” located in Happy Valley some 15 years ago. Since then, Heidi has “stood in the rain, crawled on the ground, even tried to have a chat with a sea lion to get the perfect shot”. She’s happiest when seeing the world through a camera lens.

Heidi has worked in rainforests and deserts and throughout the urban landscape across 20+ countries, and has photographed everything from prime ministers to prime properties, and even the Melbourne Commonwealth Games while on assignment for News Limited.

Interestingly for me, Heidi states that she is a location photographer, specialising in travel and tourism, however my wife Joanna and I have a book titled “Divine Vegan Desserts” which we bought last year at Wakefield Press to use for entertaining our vegan friends. Imagine our surprise when we realised that the gorgeously styled food images were shot by none other than Heidi! You will also see on Heidi’s website that she does a fantastic job with portraits and interiors.

Heidi’s clients include the Adelaide Showgrounds, Crowne Plaza, Expedia, Fleurieu Living Magazine, Holidays with Kids,Organic Gardener, the RAA, SA Government and Local Government.

Heidi also volunteers her time on the very compelling work that is done by a wonderful organisation, Heartfelt, which she has been involved with for the last one and a half years. Heartfelt is “a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia and New Zealand dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature births or have children with serious and terminal illnesses.” (From the Heartfelt site).

Heidi Linehan, congratulations for your years in the photographic industry, it’s always a pleasure to share a coffee with you at the monthly AIPP breakfasts at Alfonso’s or a glass of cheer at the Annual AIPP Awards evening.

Please read on and discover just who “Heidi Who” is for the third instalment from CCP alumni, as we celebrate 20 years of photographic education at the CCP.

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP graduate Heidi Linehan

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

My first real spark of interest was at high school. In year 8, Photography was one of the subjects offered. I loved ‘seeing’ things through the viewfinder, developing my film and making prints. Moving schools in Year 10, I was disappointed I could no longer take photography as a subject. So, I incorporated into my Craft subject and travelled the 45 minutes back to my old school to complete the tasks.

My ‘break’ into the work of being a photographer came when I walked into a wedding photo studio, a few years after finishing school, with a pile (literally) of prints - and they saw promise. My final push came when I was working in a London pub and made friends with a fashion photographer. He got me a job on a cruise liner as a photographer, cruising the Greek Islands. Not the best photographic job, but it was enough to make me fall in love with the craft enough to live and breathe it as a pro photographer. When I came home I then had to make the decision to get a ‘proper’ stable job as a travel agent or follow my photography passion. You can guess what I chose. I think I chose right.

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I can’t remember how I came across CCP, but I do remember the feeling I got when walking in. There was a sense of ‘being home’, passion, creativity and positivity. I loved being at the school, surrounded by like-minded people, created images in the darkroom and going through ideas and principles in class. Hours and hours flew by while I was in there.

CCP offered me the flexibility to study what and when I liked. I didn’t want to study full time, and loved the idea of studying what interested me. The excited environment propelled me forward even further.

Are you making personal work?

Since having kids, the only personal work I have done was while travelling. Last year though, I decided to start work on projects that make me the person I am. Salty Girls is the first in a series, telling the story through words and images of a group of surfer girls in South Australia. I want to make a sequel, including more water based images, along with another passion project, salsa dancing.

I also love to photograph for charities. I have photographed for Leukaemia Foundation, Cancer Care Centre, Hutt Street Centre, Bali Kids amongst others.

What inspires your work at the moment?

The idea of legacy—of making the world a better place by changing at least one person’s life. I want to inspire people to travel. My motto is to show the world off to the world.
Through travel comes understanding and respect. With more understanding and respect, I hope comes more peace.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I have done nearly everything related to photography! I worked in a lab, camera store, shot a lot of weddings (Greek, Italian, Lebanese and Australian), started Heidi Who photos, got married myself, worked at News Ltd, photographed the Melbourne Commonwealth Games through to local domestic and commercial work, had two kids... I even had to work a full day shoot when my son was two weeks old.

I now work as a location photographer, specialising in travel and tourism. When I get my words together, I also write travel articles for magazines and my blog. Thinking of long term travel with the kids and combining my work keeps me entertained and busy.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

We have moved from film to digital! Argh, I struggled with it at first. I remember one of my first shoots on digital – the card corrupted. I had to re-book the studio, makeup artist and client. A horrible day.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography has given me so much variety, learnings and understanding. I have seen inside the lives of others, been to places I’d never get to go otherwise (especially while working at the newspapers) and fulfilled me creatively. I’ve cried with strangers, cracked jokes with new friends and discovered new places alone. I could never imagine having a cubicle job.

How have you changed since you were a student?

Oh wow! No idea. I have grey hairs now.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

I admire a lot of photographers’ work - but particularly love newspaper and photojournalism photographers’ work. They work under pressure and deliver.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

I have received a lot of help. From CCP and my first employers (Frank Priolo, Lucy Cheesman and Ken Binns of Prima Photographics) to virtual mentors in the online community. I’ve attended lots of AIPP national events, entered the awards, sought portfolio review from Christina Force (NZ rep) and contacted photographers I admired at various times for help.
I’m continually learning and developing and broadening my skills in writing, social media and the online world of business.

Is there a person (from anywhere, dead or alive) you admire most?

At the moment it’s David DuChemin because of his strong humanitarian eye.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

I’m always feeling like I’m not good enough. Not matter how much I learn, or how much I improve - there’s always the feeling of needing to know/learn/do better.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

The business of photography can be hard. Make sure you are passionate. There will be weird hours, lots of hours, not enough work, and bad backs - all in the one week.
And don’t get caught up with equipment - the eye is the best tool.

What is the best job you've done since you've been working in the industry?

Even though I hated it at the time, I’d say photographing the Commonwealth Games for News Limited. What an experience.

Any job that gets me travelling is one of my best jobs. My most fave recent job is my regional photo tours - driving all over SA photographing one hour jobs for different clients. In between, I discover and photograph what I see in this beautiful country.

Any funny anecdotes from your experience in the industry?

You would not believe how many times I went to a job for the newspapers where the people would open the door and say with great surprise ‘oh, you are a girl!’

What are your passions outside of photography?

I love travelling, surfing, street salsa/bachata and yoga.

You can see more of Heidi’s work at:    www.heidiwho.com