British-born, Perth-based creative photographer, Aaron McPolin, is just about to unveil his much anticipated ‘Patterns of Rebirth’ exhibit; unveiling a catalogue of fashion and beauty photography. Chelsea Lorren Brown caught up with Aaron to talk about his roots, his work, and his very promising future.
I grew up in an industrial council estate in the North West of England in a town called Atherton. It’s a very one set minded place, being different is frowned upon at an early age, but I’ve never really been one to run with the flock. I’ve always been artistic, but it wasn’t until my university years that I discovered photography. I think growing up where I did has helped me to push my own ideas, and to keep focused on what I’m passionate about, regardless of what other people’s views are.
So you went to university in the UK?
I moved to Australia when I was 14, and studied at university [Curtin] here after gaining my citizenship.
I travelled back to the UK twice, delving into my roots and finding a lot of inspiration there, which sparked my series, ‘A Diamond in the Rough’, which was a depiction of the beauty in the rough areas of Manchester.
So I assume you moved over here because your family did, but what made you stay? Especially considering you could go back to England, a place where artistic people have a lot more opportunity…
Yeah, I moved over here with my family. Australia is still in the young creative ages, artists and innovative creative jobs aren’t held in high esteem here, it’s all to do with educating the client, and showing worth in your work and vision. It would be easier to move away and follow my passions elsewhere, but Australia is my home now. I’d like to make Perth my home base and to push the opportunities for traveling for work to be a plausible idea within the next year or two. I learned a lot on my travels through New York and the UK of which I believe I’ll pursue. A lot move away, but Perth is in its youth, the younger generations are rising up a bit now, and are starting to see the benefits in good design.
So what specifically got you into photography? Especially focused on fashion (because that is your main medium, correct?)
I typically do fashion, beauty, and coiffure (hair art) photography.
I’ve been involved in the beauty industry since a young age; my mother was a hair dresser and nail technician, so I was surrounded by couture and coiffure and various magazines when visiting her work and home studio. I used to do portraiture drawing and illustration before choosing to do a design course. I didn’t think of photography as an outlet until later in university where I was forced to buy a camera for the course. And me being me, I have to know how it works, so I started with landscapes, experimenting with light and forms, the unlimited possibilities and instantaneous creation drew me in very fast.
Whilst at university, our design department was situated next to the fashion department, I used to browse and watch the designers cut and make their garments, and really was in awe with the creative process. This was one of the big factors that helped me pursue fashion photography. Each garment has its story, its own purpose for being, and I as a photographer have the opportunity to communicate its message unto others.
I also did a makeup course as I didn’t know any makeup artists and wanted to meet some. I became infatuated with the colours and vibrancy and amazing transformations. [I got into] hair design because of my mother. With her obsession of punk style and Vidal Sassoon and Avant Garde cuts, I was inspired from a young age.
That’s so cool, your Mum sounds like a really interesting person…
She’s a 4ft 11 typical Northern English woman, with a booming personality and vitality.
So can you tell me about some of your previous projects? I see you’ve done work all around the world.
My projects over the years have been a lot of experimentation into ideals of beauty, personal identity and views towards the future. I have a thing, if I’m afraid to do something, I simply have to do it. Anything from fire breathers and customized flame flowers, to freezing water and rock climbing to find the perfect location and photograph. My client work has ranged from working with top fashion designers and coiffure artists. I delve to create new and unseen imagery and concepts that push myself and my client’s message.
My personal work has taken a new direction as of late to a very focused and set style; grandeur and opulent, with a twist of dark tones.
What can you tell us about your upcoming exhibit? From the event itself, to the work you’ll be featuring…
The exhibition, ‘Pattern of Rebirth’ is simply that; a rebirth of myself. It’s a website launch, art exhibition, and a display of my most profound imagery over the past year.
The art exhibition features abstract and conceptual nudes, featuring connotations of acceptance of yourself, where you come from, and ultimately your inescapable fate. The series has been a year in the making, it’s a four part series, which I did between traveling, and different stages of mindsets throughout the year.
I’ll be featuring collections from Betty Tran, Jomay Cao, Ruth Tarvydas, and Jonté Pike, along with my book of my imagery from traveling through New York, the UK and my most select work from Australia.
What does the future hold for you? Plans, hopes, dreams?
Ultimately I’m taking it one step at a time, I really want to create images I am proud of, to eventually have my own studio space and to be an active member in the creative community. [I want to] help those like I have been helped in my early stages of my development, and to also aim as high as to be doing covers for high end magazines, nationally and internationally. You can’t get worse, only better. You just need to keep learning new things and push out of your comfort zone.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything at all!
Anything at all?
My favourite chocolate is a Twix. Or choccy raisins…Actually, chocolate raisins win, hands down.
Interview by Chelsea Lorren Brown
Aaron’s exhibit, ‘Pattern of Rebirth’, is being held at the Bayview Centre Claremont on Saturday the 1st of February at 7pm.