Image credit: Fiona Wolf, The Gift, RHW 2020, Head On Photo Award Portrait winner 2020

Drum roll, please… our next spotlight session is with the incomparable Fiona Wolf!

Join us on Wednesday, 15 June at 12.30pm (Sydney time), and Fiona will give you the tools you need to navigate the ups and downs of the photography world.

Book now

Born in 1976 in Sydney, photographer Fiona Wolf grew up in Germany. She spent her early career working as a sound engineer and camera assistant for German television, a photo editor for New Economy Magazine and a creative manager for Universal Music, Berlin. Fiona established herself as a diverse practitioner from early on, making her someone who is always the right person for the job!

Image credit: Fiona Wolf, Jaqui, Head On Photo Award Portrait winner 2010

Fiona relocated to Sydney in 2005 and has been making her mark in the photography world ever since, becoming an internationally acclaimed art photographer. Fiona is a two-time winner of the Head On Photo Awards portrait prize (2010 and 2020), one of Australia’s most prestigious photography awards, which is open now for entries for 2022!

Amongst numerous other industry accolades, she was a finalist in the Olive Cotton Award, the Manning Art Prize and the National Portrait Prize in 2014 and 2020.

Image credit: Fiona Wolf

An interview with Fiona Wolf

India: How important is it to diversify your practice as a working photographer?

Fiona: It has been one of the biggest questions I keep asking myself and I am torn. I know of other photographers and also small business coaches who swear by being niche. For myself, it turns out that I have diversified and I enjoy it. However, it makes targeted marketing and building your personal brand difficult.

India: How do you keep your own voice as a photographer while also making money!?

Fiona: Often the “Bread and Butter” jobs will not appear on my website or on my Social Media Feed. The best-paid jobs are not often the ones that make the portfolio; in my case anyway. It is extremely important to cultivate and continue your personal practice and pursue what I call the “Love Jobs”. Shoot what you are passionate about and interested in. It’s usually right on your doorstep.

India: How would you describe your photography career?

I have missed opportunities and I have probably made quite a few mistakes when it comes to running a business and breaking through to a level of high-income earner freelance photographer. At the same time, I have been able to stay true to myself and find joy in shooting for organisations like The Kids Cancer Project or collaborating with other female artists in group exhibitions. I find it very important to recognise that you are a photographer at heart, even if you can’t make a sustainable living with photography at times. I have been close to quitting a few times but realised that every day that I can create images is a good day. I am particularly surprised and happy about my step into lecturing and running workshops. This has become a real passion of mine over the years.

Image credit: Fiona Wolf

Fiona Wolf’s artistic endeavours often focus on the complex internal lives of women and the roles they play in society. She has found that photography is the perfect medium for this pursuit. As she explains;

“To me, photography is the most literal art form, and it is as pragmatic as I am. You see what you get, and you get what you see. Honest yet full of depth and storytelling. The role of the female in society will always be my focus, and I find women who impress me or touch me with their stories. Gender equality, body image and the female way of life are what my work describes. Even when I address social injustice in a housing estate in Sydney, you will see the red thread of looking for the females, families, children and how they are affected especially.”  

But her success in the art world has not stopped her from expanding into other industries. Fiona doesn’t limit herself to any one style or practice, which has made her career so adaptable. Fiona has a booming corporate and family photography business and an extensive list of teaching credits; tutoring at the Australian Centre for Photography and Sydney Photographic Workshops since 2009.

Image credit: Fiona Wolf

And while it may be tempting to compartmentalise Fiona’s career into different succinct sections, Fiona asserts that every facet of her career informs her photographic practice as a whole, whether that be her early work as a photographer assistant, her prolific freelance career, her family portraits or her artistic pursuits.

“A body of work is never finished, as much as I like finalising a project and ticking the box. The longer I practice, the more I understand that your body of work is and will be your life as a photographer. I can look back on some work now and can see how it is making sense in the “bigger picture” of my practice.”   

Fiona Wolf is a modern-day photographer who understands that success and ambition can be, and often are, complex and multi-faceted in the photography industry.
Book now, and let Fiona Wolf teach you how to deal with anything the photography world can throw at you!

12.30pm, (Sydney time), Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Book now

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 are open now. $80,000 prize pool including finalists exhibition.

Image detail: Gary Ramage