Q & A Erin Masters
Erin’s personal body of work encapsulates the Australian coastline: water, light and surf, through all forces of nature along with a love of graffiti and street art spotted on her travels through our urban jungle.
- Tell us a bit about yourself – where did you grow up and where do you live and work now?
I was lucky to grow up in Fairlight, a little harbour suburb next to Manly on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I guess I never really understood how beautiful Manly was until I travelled to see the real world. The smell of the sea when I would return to Australia instantly gave me joy.
The walk from Manly around to Shelly beach is honestly a little bit magical. It’s beautifully unique to our Aussie coastline and is like meditation for the soul. My little family and I lived away from Sydney for 10 years and we are forever grateful to be back on the Northern Beaches raising our three children.
Sunday's at Shelly by Erin Masters
- Did you always have an interest in art and photography? How did you come to be a commercial photographer and did that evolve into creating more personal work? Or was it the other way around?
I have always been very visual. It seems the visual side of my brain is certainly the side that works best. Being dyslexic made school not the easiest place for me. Art and sport were my escape and got me through. Since finishing school, I followed my mother’s path into fashion which I absolutely loved. I ended up working as a stylist on reality TV shows but couldn’t do the hours with young kids. I started working in advertising photography as the production manager. I feel incredibly lucky that my boss was beautifully kind and would teach me the ins and outs of cameras and editing. He even sent me off to TAFE to study for a year and allowed me to return to the company as an in-house photographer, and 6 years later and I’m still there! My commercial photography work doesn’t allow for too much creativity so I’m always looking to create beautiful things that bring me joy and allow my visual brain to keep busy.
- What has been your biggest inspiration? Do you have a favorite spot that you love to capture?
The ocean by far. My entire family need to be submerged in the ocean. It is their thing! I just need to be able to see it. It’s so incredibly calming and honestly brings so much joy. The same way so many people sit on Instagram and look at beautiful images creating reactions that change their mood. I love that I am now able to be a creator in this procures of beautiful things to share.
Fountain of Youth by Erin Masters
- Your works capture such a dreamy aesthetic, the colours are so warm and inviting. Is this the nature of the time and day you are capturing the light, or is it something more technical?
Thank you. I like to shoot when the light is super soft, Winter as the sun is setting is dreamy and seems to be my favourite. I also photograph really bright so when I add my pink wash to the images it creates the dreamy aesthetic. I’ve never been a massive lover of landscape photography. I feel capturing it in new light with pink hues creates a more unique finish to the usual bright saturated images you see.
You know I dream in pastels by Erin Masters
- What is your routine when you are working? Do you always carry a camera just in case, or do you go out specifically with your equipment?
I started this new collection “our View” when we went into lock down in 2020. My kids would surf for around 6 hours a day. A morning session and an evening session. I wasn’t allowed to sit on the beaches as they were only opened for exercise so I would walk and walk for hours with my camera capturing Manly in all its glory. I now find myself carrying my camera around with me all the time. I am aware that I need to have periods of having a break as it really comes quite addictive. You start to see your whole surroundings in frames.
- Are you working on anything new at the moment? Is there a place you are just itching to capture?
I’m am planning my next exhibition for October this year. I’m working on bleeding flowers into my surf images to create a more feminine feel. I’m also playing around with adding new materials like gold foil to the images once they are printed and mounted. Stay tuned as the gold foil isn’t the easiest material to work with. It always seems to win the fight.
I feel I have a story to tell. I am just not yet aware what that story is. Being dyslexic as a kid didn’t make school easy for me. It totally affected my confidence and still does to this day. I made sure I hid being dyslexic from school life and working life. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was stupid. I now know this is certainly not the case. I now see it as a kind of gift. My brain is so visual and I get to see the world through it every day! People are not open with any form of difference like dyslexia and many like me are super clever at hiding it from everyone. I would like to be more open so maybe other people affected can share their stories too which I’m hoping will help people grown and trust their visual brains too.