Born in Sydney of Korean and European heritage, Fran Miller now lives and works on Queensland’s Gold Coast. A self-taught photographer, Fran’s first experience with photography came in childhood, borrowing her sister’s SLR camera and shooting the waves and surfers along the Wollongong surf coast where her family had a holiday home.
‘As kids we devoured surf magazines. My sister and I bought every magazine we could. ‘Waves’, ‘Tracks’, ‘Underground Surf’. It’s funny looking back on it, because most of those magazines were definitely not aimed at women, let-alone young girls. But the surf and travel photos inside were windows to another world, a dream away from where I was.”
Fran moved to Coolangatta in her mid-twenties to pursue her career in commercial and editorial surf photography. This culminated in working with numerous international brands, publications, and world-class surfers.
Fran was featured in Canon’s 2017 national campaign ‘Women in Surf Series’ alongside surfing industry veterans such as Sally Fitzgibbons. “I really grinded it out physically and emotionally, and I can tell you that was the same for the women I was photographing too. These were world tour, experienced surfers. We all loved surfing, but the dinner conversations would all invariably lead to the stresses of pursuing a career in surfing as a woman, whether it was a complete lack of sponsorship which for me was reflected in advertising budgets or explicit misogyny in the lineup. And at the time I never brought up being a woman of colour either. The things I was angry at weren’t even on the radar.”
In 2016, Fran had her first solo art exhibition at the New York Women’s Surf Film Festival which was the catalyst for developing her practice in an art context. Her photography explores issues of identity and belonging as an Australian and how that is formed and fractured by the dominant discourse and taken-for-granted ideological frameworks present in her environment, in the past and the present. Fran has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally and nationally including Bleach Festival, United Nations Marine Debris Conference, Horizons Festival, The Walls Art Space and BLA!
Fran’s work is held in the collections of Ralph Lauren New York, Wyndam Hotels Australia and private collections in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, and Sydney. In 2020 Fran’s photographic body of work ‘Dandy Savage’ was published and exhibited as a recipient of a Queensland Regional Arts Development Fund grant. Also in 2020, Fran was featured by international publisher Gestalten in their global book release ‘She Surf’. “These days I’m only interested in shooting photographs that reflect what I experience intrinsically. My connection to people, surfing and Country. I read a book for every photo I take. Every photo is considered. Every photo has purpose.”