Beginning her career in professional photography just 8 years ago, Michelle Grace Hunder already has two separate portrait series in the National Sound and Film Archive of Australia and is considered one of the most revered Australian Music Photographers. After shooting with literally every major player in the Australian Hip-Hop scene, Michelle then spent four years on a major personal project called “Her Sound, Her Story” celebrating Women in Australian Music, across all genres, with her project partner, Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore. Michelle & Claudia worked with over 80 women, both artists and behind the scenes in the music industry, across all genres, shooting portraits and interviews for this highly ambitious project. The full length documentary of “Her Sound, Her Story” premiered with huge industry acclaim in May of 2018 and is currently touring the country.
What does a normal day look like for you?
There is no such thing as a normal day really. Every single day is totally different, which I guess this kind of job suits me really well. It really depends if I have a shoot on or not, but I could be somewhere on location, or in the studio, I could be editing, location scouting or doing boring administration stuff like answering emails or invoicing. It really does vary so widely, and work hours are all over the place, so it’s hard to maintain any kind of routine. I do try to get to the gym as regular as possible, walk the dogs and spend time with my husband in between all the madness as well.
Which artist do you relate to and why?
Probably the artist that I’ve felt spoke to me the most over recent years was Jarryd James. His music absolutely FLOORS me, I always feel like his songs are written about certain heartbreak situations I’ve gone through in the very long distant past, and you think you’re WAY over it and then BAM – a song comes on and you’re ruined, hahaha. Music is amazing like that.
What have been some high notes (highlights) in your journey?
I think the release of my first self published photography book, Rise, was definitely a huge highlight, when we did the photo installation and concert for Her Sound, Her Story in 2016, and the release of Her Sound, Her Story the Documentary have been the 3 biggest career highlights so far!!
What have been some low notes (challenges) in your journey?
I think as artists, we always struggle with self confidence and thinking our work sucks. I try not to compare my work to other artists too much, that can be a real confidence killer, and understand there is room for everyone and to find your audience that appreciates your stuff.
When things get tough, which songs do you turn to for inspiration/motivation?
I’m a huge hip hop fan, so I love to put on some rap music. Kendrick is always my go-to, but I’ve been listening to heaps of BROCKHAMPTON lately as well. Love that they are being really innovative in this space, super cool.
How does music keep you motivated?
I guess there is something in a vibe that can really lift your mood! I definitely had artists that I listen to in different states of mind that help me through for sure.
What photography tips can you share?
Shoot what you absolutely LOVE and people can see that in your photos.
What advice can you give for those interested in pursuing photography?
Understand that it’s not all glamour, that you need to work really, really hard.
What’s currently playing on your Spotify?
Can’t get past Kids see Ghosts at the moment! Actually all of the Yeezy season releases are on high rotation. Kanye is an absolutely genius producer.
Find out more about Her Sound, Her Story, click here.