Like-minded nature lover, photographer Liam Foster caught our attention early on in our Southern Wild Co journey with his moody captures of the Australian landscape and in particular, our beloved Blue Mountains. A friendship based on mutual respect for the landscape and the animals that inhabit it was formed and now cemented with a collaboration celebrating the sparkling southern sky.
What made you pursue a career as a photographer?
I’ve always been attached to a camera. I was given my first Canon 35mm camera from my Dad when I was fairly young and that’s when my interest started. From there, I left school quite early and studied film photography at TAFE, learning how to process my own shots in the darkroom. Then as technology changed, I moved to digital and started my self-teaching journey.
I always saw photography as my ‘dream job’ but kept it as a hobby while working a number of ‘tradie’ jobs until an opportunity came up to work at a commercial photography studio. I finally got my foot in the door to the industry and after a few years of working in the studio, I decided to take that huge nerve-racking leap and go out on my own as a freelance photographer. Four years on and I’ve never looked back!
I always saw photography as my ‘dream job’
What’s a typical day for Liam Foster? Do you have any daily rituals?
My day can't start without a coffee...or multiple! I always try to have a set start and finish time to my day, as you would at any job. It’s so easy and dangerous to stray from a schedule being a freelancer or working for yourself; falling into the trap of having sleep-ins, working in PJ's and procrastinating, which I'm most definitely guilty of doing, in the beginning.
You specialise in landscape photography and your love for the environment obviously shines through. Do you have a favourite place you love to capture and why?
I absolutely love being out in the Australian bush, especially the Blue Mountains, which I'm lucky enough to call home. The landscape I’m surrounded by is spectacular, particularly as the seasons change. Winter is definitely a favourite, especially if it snows. The landscape transforms and becomes a paradise. It happens rarely but when it does, I try and make the most of out it.
Other than home, I love New Zealand. It will always have a special place within me. I try to go back annually – it’s an other-wordly place. Any landscape photographer would say it’s absolute heaven.
It (New Zealand) will always have a special place within me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing my work in a physical format instead of just digital is always so rewarding. I've been lucky enough to have my work showcased in local art galleries and have been published in broadsheets and magazines. Recently my work was featured in Country Style magazine, which has always been a huge goal.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your career so far?
Starting out on my own, building a reputation and getting my name out there was definitely a challenge, especially in this day and age where the industry is absolutely flooded with photographers. You definitely need to stand out from the rest.
And the other side of it is very mentally challenging. A major portion of my job is being alone in the studio editing. If I don’t have any jobs booked in, I can easily go weeks without talking to, or seeing anyone, so I’ve learnt over the years to enjoy my own company. Solitude was extremely difficult at the start but now I’ve learnt to work alone or it just won’t happen.
I can easily go weeks without talking to, or seeing anyone
Do you have a favourite scent that links to a memory of the landscape?
The smell of a fresh burning campfire always brings me back to my first camping trip to Kanangra-Boyd National Park. We woke early in the dead of winter to catch the sunrise at Kanangra Walls and witnessed the best sunrise I’ve had to date. The hike out was brutal, inhaling icy cold air whilst lugging over 10kgs in my camera bag – but the sky had absolutely exploded with colour so it was most definitely worth it. Later, the warmth of the campfire, reminiscing over the morning’s achievements with hot coffee, will always hold a special memory.
Is there something you have read, seen or listened to recently that has stuck with you?
It’s not something I’ve read recently but a quote that I came across a few years ago, “Love what you do, do what you love”. Those words have stuck with me and have been a constant reminder to keep pushing this small business of mine and continue to work at my dream job.
Are there any other photographers/artists/filmmakers out there that you admire or are influenced by?
There’s a number of photographers I follow and are continually influenced by that produce incredible work, but seeing fellow small business owners succeed is always a major inspiration and pushes me to do the same with my own business.
Seeing fellow small business owners succeed is always a major inspiration