Always Searching

Photographer Tess Leopold gives us a peek into a life behind the lens

Always Searching

“I want to captivate, engage, challenge and create an element of difference – of art. That’s the essence of what I do.”

Tess Leopold’s trademark dreamy, bohemian images grace our pages in Issue 24, and when this photographer picks up her camera she knows exactly what she’s trying to achieve.

Can you tell us about this shoot?
This shoot was so special as I was working which such an incredible team. Shooting with the beautiful Billie Edwards and Emily Gurr, we headed out into the Byron Bay hinterland where we came across the perfect landscape for our creative direction. Make-up [artist] Penny Antuar was along for the ride and stepped in when even the slightest hair was out of place! Capturing moments of a beautiful story, the girls brought this to life in a way I could have only hoped for.

Were there any obstacles?
When shooting on location, the weather is either your best or worst friend! It’s pivotal in how a shoot is ultimately going to look. In two of these shoots we had high winds and rain, which of course isn’t ideal, but it’s out of your control. All you can do is try and use it.

Where did this all start?
It was on my first overseas trip at the age of nine. My mum encouraged me to buy my first camera – a 35mm compact film camera. I continued studying photography through school, but never imagined it would be something I could pursue as a career. After finishing school and moving from Melbourne to northern NSW, I fell back into documenting my life and surrounds. It wasn’t until going to Bali in an effort to relax that I decided I wanted to try and pursue it professionally. That was in March 2014 and that September I had my first paid shoot.

What’s the best advice you’d ever received?
Trust yourself. My dad always said that he trusted who I was… it is something I carry with me every day and a gift I want to share with so many others. We live in a world that is extremely fast-paced with a lot of competition and uncertainty. It’s definitely daunting and super scary at times but I also think it plays an important role [in terms] of what makes the world such a special place. If you can trust and believe in yourself, I think that anything is possible. No dream is too big.

Tool-kit essentials?
Most definitely a full stomach! Excitement, knowledge, my camera – a MUST – a creative eye and a happy heart.

Trends you’re lovin’’?
I’m loving anything oversized. A flared pant with an oversized shirt. Big knit dresses or a wide-legged pant with a tucked knit or oversized tee. Anything comfy and cosy for this time of year.

What’s next for you?
I’d love to do some more travelling, create something you can hold and maybe something you can wear. Stay tuned for those ones.

Top tips for on-location shoots:
1. Go in knowing what idea you’re trying to communicate.
2. Be open and prepared for things to change and not go according to plan.
3. Utilize what you have and use it to your advantage.
4. Get creative and be innovative.
5. Always, always, always have fun!