An emerging talent

By Katie Johnson

When Aimée Lipscombe discovered she had won Capture Magazine Australasia’s emerging photographer award, it was by accident.

“I was sitting in bed with my family, reading the magazine, and my husband pointed out to me that I had actually won something. I was shocked,” she said.

Aimée originally thought her portrait series had only been shortlisted. But the third-year Photography Studies College (PSC) student had blown the judges away with the “haunting beauty” of her portrait series.

The collection of 12 images is indeed haunting. It portrays children in eerie night-time scenes—a theme which Aimée said was inspired by her experience of motherhood.

“What happens as a parent is that you’re almost paralysed by the ‘what ifs’. There’s a lot of messaging by the media about the risks to our children, when actually they’re probably the safest they’ve ever been,” she said.

“So, the idea behind the series was that instead of easing people’s fears it might be quite fun to play on them.”

One of the strengths of the untitled series—which includes Aimée’s own children, her niece and some of her friend’s children—is the ambiguity of the images.

“The children might be completely safe or there might be something sinister going on—so it’s up to the viewer’s own perception,” she said.

Surprisingly enough, Aimée began her studies at PSC with the intention of being an architectural photographer. But after a tutor pointed out her flair for portraits, she changed her focus.

“I was always second guessing myself with my work and portraiture is quite difficult because you want to portray people how they want to be portrayed. So, because of that insecurity I didn’t recognise the quality of my portraiture work until my tutor pointed it out to me,” Aimée said.

With the encouragement of her PSC tutors, Aimée was able to hone her talent for photographing children—despite them often being the hardest subjects to work with.

“I love photographing kids because they aren’t self-conscious in front of the camera. And contrary to what everyone says they’re actually easy to direct,” Aimée said.

“They’re always open and curious about the story. And they have fun with it.”

As a former producer for ABC’s The Drum, Aimee had considerable experience with cameras before studying. But despite her passion for photography, she had never pursued it seriously.

Her decision to study part-time at PSC allowed her to continue her freelance media work while also working towards her photography goals.

“Going back to study was a way to re-focus my energy and invest time in myself after investing in my kids for a few years,” Aimée said.

“This was important for me because I found it quite hard, as a woman, being successful on a particular path and then having children. Because it derails everything and you feel quite lost.”

Aimée’s latest PSC project is a deep look into her own family. It documents the joys, struggles and uncertainty of parenthood—particularly during this period of isolation.

And despite its challenges, Aimée said the photography project had made her appreciate her family on a deeper level.

“It’s making me actually stop and see the moments in my family. To have this period of isolation has been really lovely because I’ve taken that frame of mind of stopping and enjoying the moment.” •

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