Frank Farrugia New York Heather McDowall Main Image
One of our favourite Sydney-based photographers is Frank Farrugia. Not only do we love his skill for the camera, we admire his vibrant personality. Recently, we got the chance to talk to Frank about all things photography. – here’s the low-down.
Frank, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I am Sydney born and bred with two photography businesses; Frank Farrugia Photography and Same Love Photography. I have been shooting for 11 years and have been lucky enough to have made Photography a full time career from the very beginning. I work across a range of genres. alike most creatives, I get bored easily so mixing up my work along with teaching photography breaks up my week and keeps my love for the craft alive. These genres include fashion of course but also include weddings and portraits along with interiors and product photography.
Personally, I love travelling and consider myself a bit of a foodie so I try to incorporate both of these things in my life as much as possible. My current focus at the moment is working toward splitting my year up with living and working abroad. I have a current obsession with Iceland and hoping to visit next year with my partner. I drink way too much coffee, I’m a workaholic, I’m constantly dreaming of a warehouse apartment in Dumbo NYC or a villa in Lake Como. I love Suits, OITNB, Sens8 and Marvel movies.
Alright, so how did you develop an interest in photography? How did you get started in this business?
I always thought I would embark on a visual career, the problem was I couldn’t and still cannot draw or paint to save my life. I attended a languages school and when I was 17, I travelled overseas as part of a subject and borrowed my parent’s film camera. When I came back and developed the film, the feedback I received was quite positive. The cool thing was my high school ran a photography unit and had a small darkroom. As of that moment I spent most lunch times in the darkroom and decided to look at studying photography further at uni. I completed a design degree with a major in photomedia and started my first real job at a wedding and portrait studio in Sydney.
Photography is a competitive industry – how do you stay on top of your A game?
It is but there is enough work to go around. Although there are genres of photography I much prefer to shoot, I have avoided labelling myself as a fashion photographer or a wedding/portrait photographer, I’m a photographer. I believe all genres, even the most mundane of subject matter can teach you something so although it’s great to one day be recognized for my work as a portrait photographer, at this point I’m still happy to shoot a mix of subjects.
When I entered the industry I felt there was an obsession to follow what other photographers were doing. I think it’s important to let the creative world inspire you, but I don’t believe you should chase other people’s business models and try to make them work for you. over time I have learnt to simply trust my instincts and go with an idea. Sometimes and it has worked in my instance to put all of your energy into the one project and not be affected by what you supposedly should or shouldn’t be doing and simply create.
Who has influenced you? How have they influenced your work and your way of thinking?
I’ve always referenced and revered internationally renowned photographers, both fashion and non fashion photographers. I love Patrick Demarchelier, Erwin Olaf, Miles Aldridge, Gregory Crewdson and love the work of Trent Parke who is Australian. I think there is a different element in each of their work that I identify with on both a personal and creative level. Their images are very stylized, beautiful and classic, some are eerily captivating and complex with layers and layers of detail that you need to spend time with and peel back one at a time. Some of these qualities may be seen in some of my work and others I aspire to one day adding to my work.
Give us the low-down on your shoot in NYC. The shots are amazing and we are still obsessing over it!
New York was a collaborative effort involving Sabrina Melei (MUA), Luom Ousby (Designer of Luom.o), Natalie Wakim (Hair), the wonderful Heather McDowall and my assistant Jamie. It all started with Luom’s participation in a fashion event over in New York during fashion week and after one excited phone call from Sab, we all booked flights and made the decision to shoot together. We shot a large range of Luom’s dresses, sourced local models whilst in Sydney, used the wondrous tool that is google and my assistant Jamie who knows NYC very well and mapped out locations and concepts. We landed on Sunday at 10pm and began scouting for our first shoot of five in the early hours on Monday morning for a 6am makeup call. For the next week it was basically, confirming locations and hoping the rain wouldn’t destroy any of our plans. The main challenge was with the possibility of models not showing up, thankfully this only occurred once, a two model concept quickly become one. We moved around the city and took advantage of its iconography; 5th Av, SoHo, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our very first shot set the tone for the next 6 days. A porter from a hotel helped us close off a street temporarily so that we could get our shot. NYC is truly a place like no other, the city can consume you without remorse but the people are truly special.
Any highlights in your career as a photographer?
When I was at uni, I made some grand speech about wanting to use photography as a form of activism and for many years after  completely forgot about those very words whilst focusing on establishing a career in photography. Until I found myself doing so. I never considered myself to be a political person but there are certain issues that I think everyone is passionate about in some way. When I started Same Love Photography I found myself photographing profile people including politicians and musicians, including the likes of Kylie Minogue which I can say is certainly an unsuspecting highlight. It was a quick media snap. Getting the opportunity to travel for work is also a highlight. I love travel so much and if the circumstances are right, I am on that plane in a heartbeat.
Dream celebrity or brand to shoot for – who would it be?
I’m so glad you asked this question. I have two wishful muses – Tilda Swinton and Grace Jones for Alexander McQueen.
Lastly, best place for brunch in Sydney?
Revolver, Annandale. I love a café that has a small menu but does everything so well and the coffee is great. I also love Mint on Crown St. Notice how I can’t agree on just one answer. . For more information, go to www.facebook.com/frankfarrugiaphoto Follow Frank on INSTAGRAM: @FRANKFARRUGIAPHOTOGRAPHY & @SAMELOVEPHOTOGRAPHY
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