If you're going to ditch your university degree three years in, you need to have conviction that plan b is going to be worth the sacrifice. Sydney-based Zachary Handley has been focussed on photography ever since quitting his Fine Arts course. Initially he concentrated on documentary-style work, and is now garnering momentum for his fashion images. Recently he gained agency representation through The Artist Group.
Which five words best describe you? Curious, sincere, scabby, salty, happy.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I took an interesting social philosophy subject at university in 2009, this inspired me to move from written word to the image in order to express/frame my views and perspectives. I began shooting documentary pictures initially, working in a gallery and studying at the same time. A popular fashion photographer spoke at the gallery where I worked, his fashion photography played on social commentary with an art/documentary angle. This was my catalyst, creating a link between art and fashion. I made a decision to leave uni three years into my course to pursue photography - this was a big call and required my complete commitment. So I made the commitment, started making more fashion–oriented pictures and everything snowballed from there.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To be friendly, respectful and genuine no matter what. We are all alive to have a good time!
What’s your proudest career achievement? Learning to trust my sub conscience.
What’s been your best decision? To leave my Fine Arts degree and peruse photography. Just had to do it - and have never looked back!
Who inspires you? People in society who are different; usually people who are socially ambiguous. I always have the strongest appreciation for those who you wouldn't usually expect to notice. In terms of photography, my favourite photographer is Roger Ballen, a South African geologist turned documentary photographer. He takes pictures in the poor white 'Dorps' on the fringe of Johannesburg. He frames a society of forgotten people in a way that can't help but draw your interest.
What are you passionate about? Characters, pictures and making pictures of characters.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Extreme characters are so interesting. I would love to have met Tupac Shakur - his somehow justified excess of confidence would have been very cool to experience.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I can't wait to make a book. I have dreamt of this since I first began making pictures. I want it not to make sense, but at the same time make sense.
What are you reading? The adjectives on the back of a bottle of wine.
images courtesy of zachary handley