Andrew Semark, West Oz Photographer.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Andrew for the last few years, he resides in the South West of WA with his beautiful wife and two incredible kids. We have worked together on various assignments on the odd occasion. I thought it would be good to fire a few questions his way and find out a little more on the direction he is taking with his work and the challenges he faces to progress his business to another level, "Russel Ord"
Vagabond Photographic: Andrew what part of your photography work do you enjoy the most, your biggest passion?
I’m really enjoying the ocean work at the moment, no pressure, no deadlines, just trying to portray what I see the best I can. I think where I’m at as a photographer is always evolving and my process is changing more and more but shooting the ocean is what Im enjoying a lot of late.
VP: How do you turn that same passion into a full time photographic business or are you happy with the balance you have right now, what are those greatest challenges and if it was anything like my own transition, your greatest fears?
I do enjoy the balance I have at the moment but thats something I really need to break out of, fear of failure, comfort zones and self doubt are my biggest struggles so if I can keep chipping away at those weaknesses thats where I’m going to progress. I have 2 little groms looking at my example so I really want them to be able to take confidence that I was always trying to better myself, that they one day may follow an example Ive set. I'm still chipping away at the end game. I might not ever make it but I’m going to give it my best effort to get there.
VP: To me I feel like my social media is more like ”keeping up with the Joneses” and find myself questioning, WHY at all, how is it for you? Because your Instagram feed is top quality, does that translate into more work or sales?
I feel like social media can be exactly that (keeping up with the Joneses) but it’s a tool that does have a large reach and thats what i’ll use it for. I have met some really rad crew from it and made sales but you can’t build a business model solely on social channels. I do want people to see polished images and good content because thats what I’m passionate about, but thats as far as it extends.
VP: What other forms of photography are you doing and do you consider them part of the long term photographic plan?
I love my travel work and I’m shooting weddings during the summer period. I think for where I’m at personally, my skill needs to develop and every different job helps me develop further. Is it a part of my long term goal? I’m not sure just yet, all I know is I want to do the best work I can right now and develop my vision more and more. Learn from others and build a strong fundamental base of knowledge that will serve me in the years to come.
VP: At this very moment in time for you - Improving your photographic skills or having a better understanding about running a photographic business, which is more important and no fence sitting here its one or the other (sorry).
I would choose running a photography business would be more important. Skills continually develop but being able to effectively run a business will start you on the right journey. I’ve made a shit load of mistakes, bad decisions and failures but they are all teaching me how to be better in business and be a better person. Im in for the long game so failure is my best tool for progress.
VP: Whats the major differences you see of yourself from the Andrew today to lets say the Andrew of three years ago and whats your dream scenario (photographic wise) for Andrew Semark in 2020 and have you made goals to achieve all this?
Probably the confidence in my ability and not being so afraid of making mistakes, I've always struggled with self doubt but learning to back myself has changed my mindset a lot. Dream scenario is to be always enjoying myself, spent too long trying to survive that maybe I need to actually live this life. Let people measure my success however they want but be more concerned on my kids, building the confidence into them that one day they could change the world around them just by believing in themselves.
VP: We will finish here with something a little lighter, dream location to shoot in the next six months and whats the subject.
That’s a big list but looking at exploring the Italian and Swiss alps with the family for a bit next year. Disappear and just create some memories.
VP: Thanks Andrew for your time and your honesty in your answers, I know I don’t like to sugar coat everything about my photographic work because there is so much more than people realise and your answers will give them a far better understanding which in turn will help in the long run. Russell Ord, Vagabond Photographic Co.