Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

Celebrate Christmas at Eureka 89

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Embedded electricity networks are ripping off consumers

Metro Tunnel

New road alignment on St Kilda Rd

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Why Magnitsky Act is important for Australia

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Short-stay violence spurs action

Southbanker Image


“An animal out of control”

Port Places

Fishermans Bend: the first quarter 2019

Housing Image


We are leaving an intergenerational time bomb for our children

History Image


Melbourne goes wild about Harry!

Safety and Security

Safety and Security Day

Southbank Sustainability Group Image

Southbank Sustainability Group

Bringing win after win to Southbank!

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Attaining (and maintaining) wellness

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Vertical dwelling is now mainstream

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

The bulldog blogger

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank

Letters Image


City Rd death trap

Connecting with people

11 Aug 2016

Connecting with people Image

As the Photography Studies College (PSC) prepares for its open day on August 14, it has no greater ambassador for aspiring photographers than teacher Craig Wetjen.

Having previously run his own commercial photo business and worked in almost every medium there is, the American knows what it takes to make a living out of photography.

However, having successfully spent the best part of the last five years creating his first ever published photo book, he said his advice to any incoming photographers was to find your passion.

“If you’re going to be a commercial photographer, you need to find something that really separates you from the rest of the world and that’s not shooting what everybody else has shot before,” he said.

“Even though it’s been done before you need to shoot it again but shoot it with your own twist. You need to be extra creative.”

While he has made a living out of photography, Craig knows about the highs and lows of the industry.

Having previously run his own wedding portraits business for 15 years, he said that the constant stress of figuring out where his next dollar was coming from had been gradually taking its toll on his health.

“I did a mental health assessment. I was depressed about the whole business side of things. No one was buying anything anymore. I was trying to keep the roof over my family’s head, suffering severe anxiety and panic attacks,” he said. “I had some blood tests and found out I had chronic lymphatic leukemia.”

“By finding that out and as well as dealing with the depression and the anxiety, I was like – hang on a second. I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to flip the entire project on its head.”

After photographing his father-in-law working in his shed in 2010, Craig eventually came up with the idea to create a book photographing men in their sheds.

In a bid to reinvent himself, inside and out, Craig travelled around the country and met 101 men in the making of Men and Their Sheds where he photographed and explored the stories behind them and their sheds.  

Featuring a foreword by Beyond Blue chairman Jeff Kennett, a percentage of each book sale is donated to the Australian Men’s Shed Association and Craig has now become an ambassador for Beyond Blue.

He said that the experience of giving back to causes that were close to his heart and connecting with people had not only been rewarding for his career but, importantly, his own health.

“I just ditched the whole business idea and went back to why I loved photography and that is for the enjoyment of creating something for me and that’s where my men and their sheds book project came from,” he said.

“I was getting out to the backyard shed. What was even more poignant was that so many of them were almost their own satellite men’s sheds because their mates would always come over and have a chinwag in their backyard.”

“Just to bring that extra added awareness of the importance of mental and physical health and all those sorts of things and getting involved and giving back that really drove home with a lot of the fellas.”

The experience has now given Craig a number of new project ideas and he said rejuvenating his passion for photography had all manifested from his ability to connect with people.

“By showing genuine interest in someone’s activities in something that they love to do they open up and that’s what I try to convey to the students when I teach them,” he said.

“When you want to photograph people just get into a conversation. Forget the camera. The camera becomes secondary.”

Men and Their Sheds is now available at all good book stores. For more information visit

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.