Amy Wybrow creates photographic prints inspired by early botanical illustrations and photographic documentation of the natural world and presents them in a clean, contemporary style. Amy studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Dunedin School of Art, and a Graduate Diploma in teaching. She is now teaching photography and visual arts at James Hargest College in Invercargill and taking inspiration from the extremes of the Southland environment.
What do you do?
For most of my day, I’m Head of the Arts Faculty at Villa Maria College Christchurch, where the workload is varied but there is an element of routine to my day. There are always key things I need to get done each day which involves teaching art, meetings and lots of admin, I try to be flexible and react to what the day throws at me. When you’re involved in a school you are always on call and there is always something that comes up that needs my attention. As a photographer and a teacher, my approach is one I have developed over a long period of time, I wouldn’t call it perfect but I’m really passionate about both, when I am surrounded by creativity, it triggers my creative mind and my creative flow.
When I’m at home I’m pretty focused on what I’d like to get done on my photography, there is less routine and I’m relaxed with how I work. I often work late on editing and resolving ideas I’ve documented from previous shoots. The weekends are when I usually go and research a site for new work and figure out when to re-visit based on the light, I like to re-visit places because that’s a part of the idea of nostalgia I look for in my work. I can’t ever see clearly what I want to record by visiting somewhere once. When I first go and take photos it’s more to record what’s there in a documentary style, and at that point, I’m not concerned about the light or composition or colour, I’m more looking for what mood presents itself. After the initial visit, I look at the photos as a drawing process over time. The next step for me is to be able to spontaneously choose the right time of the day to re-visit, and then compose the work based on the chosen light & mood, but more so on a feeling, and a memory. To be honest I think my home studio is where I would like to spend more of my day in the future.
What did you have for breakfast?
Coffee on my way to work.
What’s currently on your walls at home?
At the moment I have a new framed print by Jason Greig called The Threat, on the wall, which my husband & I got from a little store in Lyttelton called Henry’s Traders. As usual, I have some Mary Mulholland floral paintings & some works on paper by Peter Cleverley & John Mitchell which I can’t wait to get framed so that I can hang them on the wall.
If you weren’t making art/doing what you do what would you be doing?
I’ve always wanted to be a Florist or an Interior Designer, and have a great appreciation for Architecture in its many different forms. I always have arranged flowers, objects & plants around the house, and love styling interior spaces.
Plants, Gardens and Architecture, the overlap between internal and external environments and the connection with our natural environment. For me I’m always trying to find that window to a botanical world inside a house, creating a link between plants & architecture.
Career highlight so far?
My career as a photographer has been influenced very widely by a lot of different types of art, and experimentation with different artistic mediums. I majored in Sculpture at art school and have experimented with painting & drawing on and off since then. As a full-time art teacher over the years, I have put a lot of effort into starting the careers of my students, leaving little time for my own work. Anytime I can reach someone with my work is a real highlight for me, and feel that now I have found my preferred medium I can put more effort into my own career.
Dream project or collab or both?
My dream collaboration would be to work with my art school tutor Di Ffrench who has sadly passed away, but was a major influence to me and my work as a Photographer. I have a small series of works by her in which she used me as the subject in the photographs, which I still take inspiration from.
I try not to plan specific projects as I feel it takes away from the spontaneity of my work, but any time I can gain access to document places and environments which the general public don’t usually have access to is a dream result for me.
Plans for the future?
I am fortunate enough to be heading over to Singapore, London and Italy a bit later on this year, so it’s the dream trip for me really. Kew Gardens is definitely on the list and there are many other exciting places I will be shooting at, so watch this space!
Build your dream concert, 3 acts you wanna see live. Living or dead.
We are missing out on seeing The National this year so they will have to go on the list along with London Grammar & Alabama Shakes.