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Breaking barriers

05 Feb 2020

Breaking barriers Image

When graduating students at Southbank’s Photography Studies College (PSC) exhibited their work late last year, a select handful of first- and second-year students also had their work shown.

One of those was first year student Geoff Webber, whose image Breaking Barriers 11 made the exhibition.

“It’s an image of a friend named Anna breaking through a plastic film barrier,” Geoff said.

“It’s an image from my folio subject which we did in second semester. Part of my genre was about façade and the face you put on public display.”

“It’s about what kind of barriers exist between representing yourself as your true self and what’s expected of you.”

Geoff began studying at the college after a long career in “corporate life”.

“I was a finance and IT person. I worked in banking for 10 years, for an American company for 16 years, had a couple of years overseas,” he said.

After establishing a settled life in Melbourne with kids in school tension arose.

“They wanted me to move back offshore but I didn’t want to keep doing that,” he said.

After a few years in different roles, including a deliberate “wind down” through working in the not-for-profit sector, Geoff moved back to an old passion.

“My wife goes on long bushwalks and bought a camera but didn’t use it for long before she gave it to me,” he said.

“I was always looking for stuff to do to unwind after work, to help with mental health more than anything.”

“I took it on walks along Southbank and experimented with long exposures at night.”

“I’d been into it in my undergraduate years, but I got back into that way, and then I became more serious about it and decided to do a course in it.”

Geoff said he had enough degrees and went for PSC’s Advanced Diploma because it was more vocational and taught by working industry professionals.

And he had to move from his habit of photographing “things” developed in wind-down time.

“I was working full time during the day, so doing night exposures, Milky Way pictures and that sort of landscape stuff – things you could do on your own,” he said.

“But I thought I better get out of my comfort zone and work with other people, and I love it.”

Since then, Geoff has had a focus on portraiture and creativity in studio contexts – which is how he ended up with Breaking Barriers 11.

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