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Looking beyond aesthetic

06 Apr 2017

Looking beyond aesthetic Image

While Pier Carthew enjoys exploring fashion through his lens, he said his was a more “rebellious” take on the theme.

Currently undertaking his final year of a commercial major at the Photography Studies College (PSC), the 36-year-old comes from a diverse artistic background, having made a career in acting and production.

With a fascination for diverse and interesting people, he is currently exploring identity through the theme of fashion in an effort to unearth a person’s story rather than just simply capturing their appearance.

“I think you can read a story into a person. It’s really hard to read a story into a generic model,” he said. “I actually don’t understand commercially why this isn’t explored more.”

“For me when I’m looking at a billboard of a beautiful person I don’t even look twice because you’ve seen that so many times.”

“It seems to me that there is an opportunity there to explore diversity more because it does have a visual impact. Apart from being politically correct, I think it is actually compelling.”

While he has pursued his commercial course with the intention of making money out of photography long-term, he said the course struck a good balance between encouraging creativity and commercial success.  

“The teachers definitely encourage a real artistic exploration,” he said. “I think what this school does very well is that it incorporates that artistic stuff but brings it into a commercial context, which is the whole reason why I came.”

Pier recently returned from a three-week journey to India with his 12-year-old daughter, where he used his time to test his own concepts as well as capture some amazing scenes from the streets of India.

Working through his favourite format of film, he described it as a “big adventure” that had given him a range of new ideas that he hoped might eventually manifest into an exhibition or photo book.

“Working with film is kind of freeing – where you don’t have so many files to look at and process everyday,” he said. “It’s slower. You take less photographs and you think more about every photograph you take.”

“I guess what it did do was it got me thinking about the thousands of projects that I could go back and do there.”

His featured image (pictured) provides an apt example of his exploration into identity during his trip to India, which features a moving and colourful portrait of an everyday Indian man.

It’s this sense of adventure that Pier holds dear in his approach to all of his work and he said he would continue to use photography as a vehicle for exploring things that interested him.

“I’m not much of a goal setter kind of a guy!” he said. “I just try and do things that I enjoy and, for now, I’m just going to keep making work that I really like.”

“I’m not going to produce work that I think the world will like. I’m going to keep doing my thing and I think there are people out there who are going to respond to it and those are people that I would probably rather work with.”

To view more of Pier’s work, visit

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