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Inspiration comes from: Sharyn Cairns, Photographer

February 1, 2010

I admire and respect the work of Sharyn Cairns. Understandably, I’m not the only one as her photographs can be found on some of the  most influential design blogs. I luckily have more than just photos, I have her words, her insight about her work. Her words are inspiring and I want to share them with you. Enjoy. Thank you, Sharyn!

Interview with Sharyn Cairns

by Felicia Shelton

I first want to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your incredible career as a photographer. You’ve inspired me a great deal and I’m sure that I’m not alone in this.

FS: Sharyn, had you always dreamt of being a photographer?

SC: No, I wasn’t one of those people that grew up knowing I wanted to be a photographer. I was initially interested in architecture and interior design. Once I was exposed to photography at the end my schooling I thought this could be perfect. Hence, I first starting shooting interiors

FS: What or who would you say has been your greatest teacher in becoming such an amazing photographer?

SC: There have been a lot of great photographers whom I assisted that I learnt a great deal from and who are still very supportive of me.

I think if you love what you do you want to keep pushing yourself to create better images.

FS:When you first started out, were you well prepared for the business side of photography?

SC: Not really, it definitely was a case of trial and error. Thankfully I had some good photographers to call on when I really needed advice

FS: Your food photography is so inviting. I want to jump in the shots and begin taste testing everything! Would you explain to us how much work goes into making your food photos mouth-wateringly beautiful?


SC: It’s really a great team effort between the food stylist/chef, props stylist and photographer.  If everyone has the same vision for the images then it’s not a difficult process.  If I feel the desire to eat the food then hopefully it’s enticing for the readers too!

FS: Are there any particular stylists that you work with? Are you a food stylist as well?

SC: I love working with Glen Proebstel.  We both collaborate and shoot stories for Inside Out Magazine in Australia and we also love shooting food. I’m definitely not a food stylist, I’m happy to tweak the food once it’s plated but the rest I leave to the experts

FS: Your travel photography incorporates people as well as landscapes. How important is this to you? Loved your Masai warrior photographs, by the way.


SC: I think people really capture and make travel photography more personal. While it can be difficult in remote places to find the right look that fits the story you’re trying to capture, it’s pure adrenaline (& relief!) when you get the shot. Also the people you meet along the way make the experience so much richer

FS: What has been so far, your most memorable photo shoot and why?

SC: I’ve been lucky there are so many shoots that have been amazing. The memorable ones are generally the travel stories, whether good or bad experiences (flight delays, lost luggage) it all makes for a great adventure.  But one travel story cruising down the West cost of Mexico is a standout. Snorkeling with seal lions, parasailing over Cabo St Lucas and watching schools of dolphins swim by our ship was pretty spectacular!

FS: Would you explain a typical day in your life as a photographer?


SC: I’m not sure I ever have a typical day, each day can be so different, especially since I shoot a variety of subjects. Some days I’m in the studio shooting food, others interiors/still life’s on location or travel stories on the other side of the world. But there is always the mundane paperwork and file handling that you can’t escape

FS: With amazing photographers like yourself, it always seems that with every shot, they have been there before and are just sharing their favorite images of a certain place with the viewers or readers. How do you think this happens? Do you have ample time to scout places, get a feel for how you will photograph a place for your client so that it feels comfortable shooting that place?

SC: Most of the time I don’t have the luxury of seeing a location before I shoot, especially on travel stories.  You’re in and out in no time and you just have to capture the place as you see it.  I do try to use the beautiful afternoon light as much as possible.

FS: Would you describe the moment that you knew that being a photographer was what you wanted to do in life?

SC: I don’t have a moment that defined it, photography can be a long process from studying, to assisting other photographers, to being out on your own but everyday I am very grateful and thankful for the wide vary of wonderful shoots I am apart of. Life is good

Thank you very much, Ms. Cairns. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2010 2:21 PM

    Lovely post! Her photography is so wonderful. Thanks for this interview.

  2. February 10, 2010 2:36 AM

    wow, thanks for sharing this! amazing pics!

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