Thursday, 15 December 2011

Artist of the Week, Philippa Gedge, on her Journey

After graduating in 2000 from the University of the Arts in London I was at a loose end. I knew what I didn’t want to do and that was to pursue a career as a Graphic Designer, my vocational degree subject. My passion and the subject that really got me excited seemed impossible to crack into. How did I even begin to become a photographer? And was it a worthwhile career?

Desperately in need of an income I started tempting at an academic publishers and was quickly assigned my own lists to work on as a full time job. I was the Marketing Co-ordinator on the Middle East and Asian studies lists! I had no experience of marketing let alone Asia or the Middle East. I went to Morocco when I was eighteen where I narrowly escaped permanent residency but that didn’t seem to justify a career in all things Middle East! The job turned out to have a silver lining. When we were all offered voluntary redundancy in 2005 most of us leapt at the chance. Now was the time to try my hand at photography; mid twenties, no responsibilities, money for a bit of training and what felt like total freedom to do what I wanted. And so it began. It was hard work starting out. I did a lot of work for free and when I did charge, I charged next to nothing for it. I made mistakes but learnt quickly from them and soon my confidence grew and my photography started to look ‘pro’. It has been a long slog and at times financially horrific but my family and friends have stuck by me emotionally and financially too and without them I never would have had the courage to believe in and work for myself.

Working as a freelancer can be lonely and frustrating at times but when you see your hard work paid off it is well worth every quiet moment at your desk when you feel you’re the only one alive.

People always ask me where I see myself in five year’s time and I have never been able to answer until now. In five year’s time I would like to still be working for myself, doing exactly what I’m doing in a property with a small studio in the garden where I can invite people to have their portraits taken. I would like to know that people want me to take their pictures and have my diary booked up a year in advance. By then I really should have been featured in Stylist and the Sunday Times magazines more than I am now but that’s just luck and I’m working on it…

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