When the Shutter Drops
Award-winning Brisbane-based Photographer Tim Marshall brings us work that encourages thinking outside the box and challenges traditional norms. He is ambitious and hungry to reach his creative goals,inspiring, down to earth and tells it like it is.
Enjoy getting to know Tim:
What is it that sparks the magic for you within the photographic medium? ~ I’m terrible with my hands. While I like to create art outside of the photographic medium, it tends to be fast, loose and messy. The camera allows me to make art that is concise, cleaner and at times, more realistic. The camera forces me to slow down and it’s there that I find that spark. Going slow prompts ideas. It’s why I think a lot of creative people who like long showers talk about the bathroom being their creative hotspot. There’s not much to do but think. I get in that same space when I’m working with the camera. The other thing is the unknown, the mystery of what may actually be created when the shutter drops. You can be a technical wizard but you can never be 100% completely in control of the outcome. Digital circumnavigates that in some ways. I tip my hat to those who still run film. The true magic is in the cellulose but I can’t go back to that, it comes with too much anxiety.
You're just about to graduate from a Bachelor of Photography, what's your next step? ~ I need to make a living so I will be launching a pet portrait business to keep the man at bay. For someone practising photographic art, commercial work is the devil. For me I’m just happy having my camera in hand. This sort of work may seem a bit dry but my approach is one of creativity and I find the stress of working with animals strangely enjoyable. This year I will be focusing on competitions and applying for grants but regardless of outcomes will continue creating work. It’s on the cards to do my honours so at some point I will be back at the books too.
How do you develop your ideas/concepts with planning a body of work? ~ My work is mostly a critique of power structures. I might take an issue that concerns me and I begin researching around that. For instance my current body of work critiques the Australian housing market within a capitalist framework. I go deep into the boring stuff-statistics, journals, economics, politics, etc. From there I will look for other artists covering the same or similar themes and any theorists that are tied to the concept(s). I want to be completely across my work and I don’t want to make anything that resembles anything that’s come before. There’s a lot of sheep with cameras out there. What’s most important for me when developing a concept is to avoid being one of the flock.
Where are you based and how has this influenced your work? ~ I’m based in Brisbane. I love this part of the world but the art scene is virtually non-existent. There are some amazing artists here and of course galleries and spaces that keep the torches burning and push the arts but the city has little love for it all. This has always come from the top down. It’s probably a hangover from ol’ uncle Joe. There is a tangible feeling of artistic oppression. Maybe that’s why a lot of us make the pilgrimage to the southern states? That has influenced how some of my work has been created. Sometimes I guerrilla install work around the city that would be frowned upon by the fuzz. This is a direct reaction to the oppression we experience here. Outside of that I grew up in the rural south west of Australia and little Hobart in Tassie so the land here isn’t so much in my bones.
You're an award-winning photographer, have you noticed any positive change in how the outside world views/approaches your work? ~ Commercial clients like to see those accolades. It gives them some confidence that you know what you are doing and that you can deliver on a brief. Outside of that market I’m not sure how much weight it holds. Art is so subjective and I’m often shocked by what wins awards. Sometimes it leaves more questions than answers. I’m competitive though so I like being amongst it.
Three things that make you REALLY happy? ~ I love way more than three things, but these are my top three. Family is first. My world revolves around the love that’s there. They have missed out a bit as I chase my photography passion. I really love music. I’m a terrible musician but I plug away at it. I love all the B’s from boardriding to beer to brazillian ju-jitsu and all the rest in between....
What does success mean to you? ~ I’m not sure I have a definitive answer to this. I just take little wins as they come and hopefully it all amalgamates in a major goal being fulfilled. For instance I was greeted by someone at an art show a couple of years ago who used my full name when introducing them self. I know that probably sounds a bit naff but it was a ‘professional greeting’. That was a small moment of success as I kinda felt I was (in some tiny way) getting some recognition in the 'art world’. My end goal is to get some wall space in MONA, even if it was a work the size of a post stamp. Anything that moves that dream closer is a little bite of success.
Are you currently working towards any projects/goals this year? ~ I’ve been involved in getting a small emerging art collective together with a bunch of talented artists' that’s been keeping me busy. It’s a slow burn and maybe we will see some work come from that go public some time next year. Keep an eye out for Phosphene! Outside of that I have been working with short form doco film formats and have been invited to outback Winton, Qld to make some content around the film festival that happens out there. Who knows what tangent that might send me off on? I’m also researching for a new body of work that at this stage looks a bit overly ambitious and will be, if it comes together, my biggest project to date so there’s not enough hours in the day!
Is there a piece of advice you've been given that has had a positive affect on how you approach your artistic life? ~ My dad was a Nam veteran. I think he realised somewhere in my mid-teens that I wasn’t the run of the mill, toe the line kinda son. He gave his youth to a war that, in hindsight seemed to be full of utter nonsense, so I feel he had a perspective on happiness and the futility of the 9-5 grind to achieve someone else’s agenda. He told me to enjoy myself and it’s in creating that I find that joy. If you’re not creating then you’re taking and there’s only so much of that I wanna do. Balance is the key to everything.