A while ago, a lovely person started leaving the most heart warming compliments on my photo shoot posts here on the blog. I'm always curious about who comments on my posts, what blogs they read and what they write and blog about. It was then I discovered a very talented girl by the name of Stephanie Thy. I went up to Melbourne on Thursday to meet the lady behind the beautiful fashion and lifestyle photography and articulate words.
Nervous was a good way to describe my feelings and the train hurtled closer and closer to Southern Cross Station. I wasn't really sure what to expect as Stephanie had always seemed like a mystery to me. Although her photographs and words were crystal clear, the person behind them didn't seem real to me. I stepped off the train and started walking towards our meeting destination. I was told in a text message to look out for a 'small asian girl with a grey hoodie on'. As I walked closer, I could see someone who met the description quite clearly. I smiled shyly as I walked over and took off my headphones. The girl smiled back, but it wasn't to me, it was to the person walking behind me. She walked past me and embraced her friend and I felt quite embarrassed. Stephanie's train was late, which allowed me to drown out my thoughts and nerves a little longer in the sweet tunes of Taylor Swift. We met, finally, halfway up an escalator as we both got a bit confused about the meeting place.
Stephanie was not what I was expecting, and I say this in a good way. One of the things I love about photography is that you can be incredibly mislead by the person behind the photographs. I imagined Stephanie to be a very confident and driven girl, and she may be behind a camera lens but in real life, she was just a mysterious as I had originally thought. She was quieter than I expected, a little timid but incredibly nice at the same time.
We headed up to Melbourne University, where she is currently studying her final year of criminology. Creativity and academia don't always go together, but in Stephanie's world, they go hand in hand. Somehow, she manages to balance the high demands of an Arts degree with her whimsical and beautiful photo shoots. I was almost flabbergasted when she revealed her plans of going for a three week break to England next month, not long before her final exams. It seems like nothing could stop this very inspired girl to take her photographs and explore her dreams. We grabbed some boost juice (my absolute favourite) and sat outside in the cool air to have a chat.
Stephanie first discovered her passion for photography in her first year of university. She was unhappy and 'bored' with her course, so she searched for something that excited her. She began taking photographs of friends who were thrilled with the results and kept asking for more. Today, she works with agency represented models and local talents she finds on the likes of facebook and model mayhem. We both jokingly admitted that we 'semi-stalk' people we'd like to photograph one day on facebook.
One question, that I was dying to ask her was how she lit her photos. As you will see in some of the images below, often her models have a beautiful radiance and shine to their skin, which is often attributed to an off camera flash. Stephanie, however, prefers to use natural lighting. There are no flashes, no reflectors and no hidden secrets when it comes to the amazing light in her pictures. 'It's natural, with a little bit of photoshop' to enhance it. At any one time, Stephanie will have many stories floating inside her head, waiting for the right model to come along so that it can come to life. Her photo shoots centre around her original idea before she finds someone who she thinks will 'suit the shoot'. Then a make up artist and stylist come on board to help out. Looking at the quality and calibre of her images, it's hard to think that she's only been shooting people for two years.
Unfortunately we had to part our ways sooner than I would have liked. I could have talked to her for hours on end as we connected with all sorts of little things. Stephanie had to run off to a criminology tutorial. We hugged and said our goodbyes, Stephanie admitting that she'd love to come down to Geelong one time and collaborate on something, which excited me to no end! It's honestly lovely meeting people who inspire you and I can't wait to catch up with her again and learn some more about her life and photography.