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izzy sullivan

she/her | site | linkedin | instagram

Hey, Izzy! Hows things?

Hey Megan! Things are good, a lot of change going on at the minute but times are exciting to say the least!

Tell us about yourself!

I'm a 20 year old freelance fashion and product photographer based in Manchester. I'm someone who has always been really in tune with their creative side since being a young child from textiles and crafts as a kid to now photography! I love to travel when I get the chance and have recently got into reading.

Has it always been photography?

Absolutely not! I started off photography at 15 when my brother needed some photos taken for his clothing brand while we were on a family holiday, this led to me taking photography as a subject in college. For me, taking a creative subject in college stripped it of its creativity and put me off pursuing it any further. However, after college was cut short because of covid that gave me enough time to think on what i wanted to do once everything was back to normal. Which led me back to photography, more as a hobby at first until I started getting a few small jobs and just rolled with it.

Talk to us about the Female Gaze project

I wanted to create something with true meaning and I remember coming across this term ‘The Female Gaze’ and having no clue what it meant but it really intrigued me. I researched all over the place and there was hardly any detailed information on it. One article I found that went into the most detail stated how the concept originally came from the film industry to describe how female filmmakers view and create their art with more depth and personality to a character. This compared to how male filmmakers sexualise the female characters and all have a very narrow view on what a beautiful woman is and how they act. So my main aim in this project was to show warmth and emotion whilst merging typical masculine and feminine poses together to show how a woman doesn't have to fit a specific mould. I feel like looking back on it I would change so much. So who knows maybe a female gaze part 2 ...

Is the photography industry diverse?

Errr I’d like to say yes but with every industry there's always space to improve. From models to photographers, this industry has slowly been becoming a bit more inclusive. Everyone wants to represent diversity within their work now, so modelling agencies are really having to sign a wider variety of models. Small steps are being taken for a more diverse industry, however there's always going to be people who don't want it to evolve and I think that's just the type of industry we're in.

Was it hard getting into the photography industry?

100%. It's so mentally challenging to start something which is never going to be guaranteed. I can’t even remember how many times I've nearly given up or doubted whether I'm good enough to carry on. I think it's just hard to stay motivated and consistent especially when you're starting and there's not much financial motivation. I'd say it's something you've got to be really passionate about for it to work. You want to be willing to devote a lot of your time to it because there's so much more to it than just clicking a button. However, In my biassed opinion it's the coolest industry to work in. There's always something going on that really keeps you on your toes. For me that makes all the hard work worth it.

Talk to us about being freelance, any tips?

Freelance work in Manchester is tough, it's such a condensed industry and someone is always going to be offering something different or better than you. But going freelance is all about the journey and the little steps you take. You can’t expect to be at the top straight away. My advice would be stay as consistent as you can. Pitching yourself and making connections with as many people as possible. Creating work that

matches what you're pitching. I wish there was a fast track to becoming a full time freelancer but it's just one of those things that takes time and you've got to be okay with that.

What piece of advice would you give to a younger you just starting out in industry?

Try to enjoy it. Don’t compare yourself to other photographers, you’ll waste so much time! Focus on finding your own style and your own process. I wasted so much time trying to copy work that I loved instead of finding inspiration in it. I'd say start planning shoots more thoroughly as well. I did so many test shoots but they always ended up turning out the same but with a different model because I didn't take the time to plan out cool concepts. Just explore different methods and dont get knocked down if you hate some of your work. It's bound to happen every now and then.

How did Covid affect your practice?

Covid actually helped me get back into photography! It gave me time to think about where I really wanted to go with my work and what I wanted to focus on. I spent a lot of my time (whilst easing out of lockdown) going on shoots locally and building up my portfolio ready for when life resumed! Sort of like a pit stop to refresh everything and get back on track. Productivity wise I'm still struggling to get rid of distractions as it was so easy in lockdown to fixate on your screen and get no work done. But I'm working on it!

Has Social media made a positive impact on getting yourself out there?

Social media is a confusing one, it’s definitely something I wouldn’t be able to live without when it comes to my job but with algorithms constantly changing and new trends circulating our feeds it’s tough to get your work noticed. Don’t get me wrong I love it and I’ve had past clients find me through social media. But sometimes I wonder if it would've been easier if it was a social media free industry.

Who are your standout creatives?

If we’re talking photographers I’d have to say Rebecca (@r_b_ca) and Zohaib (@captured_by_zohaib). They're some of my favourite people to work alongside, not to mention how they are always upping the photography game!

For my final question, whats next?

We shall seeeeee! There’s a lot of things going on right now, so all I can say is keep an eye out for what’s coming ;)

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