It's hard to believe that Clare Plueckhahn is only 26 and yet working as a professional photographer. Yes, 26! I met her a late last year when she came to Sydney from Melbourne to show her portfolio. I'd been impressed after she shot some beautiful photos of Midi Boutique (pictured, top), a shop that belongs to her friend Jess Young, which we featured in real living. Clare is currently producing a girls' surf film. Cool.
Which five words best describe you? I'm a dreamer. Adventurous, visual, energetic and restless.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? Assisting other photographers, which I saw as a great learning experience. After that I freelanced in a studio that specialised in linen photography. So I perfected steaming, ironing and folding linen! But since then I've been freelancing out of C.I.Studios as a food, surf and lifestyle photographer.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? You never stop learning. And if you do, you're not pushing yourself hard enough. Corny but true.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being 26 and sustaining myself through a career as a professional photographer. I never thought I would be where I am so early in my life. That and also travelling last winter to Hawaii to do photography stills on my first feature film 'First Love'.
What’s been your best decision? To persist with photography and not take an easier road. Mum and Dad are really supportive now but I remember they were always warey because freelance work is so irregular. It's hard to maintain especially when all your friends are getting regular full-time jobs. Early on it was really hard to keep motivated but it's definitely paid off. Deciding what you want to do and just doing it is easier than it sounds. You just need to take the leap!
Who inspires you? Tim Winton because I love the way his words evoke images in my head. My passion for food photography comes from cooking. I'm always testing out new recipes; my day pretty much revolves around food. I also like keeping abreast of the industry. I'm always looking at what other photographers do, or drawing from my everyday experiences, friends and family.
What are you passionate about? Creating beautiful images and having the time of my life doing it. I guess I've just combined my two loves (cooking & surfing) into my profession.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Sofia Coppola. I have forgiven her for her acting in The Godfather 3 and completely adore her films. From Virgin Suicides to Lost In Translation I love the way she sees the world.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Doing photography for a cookbook and working overseas in Europe.
What are you reading? Eat, Pray, Love. Which kind of goes with my motto at the moment. Eat, surf, shoot, sleep.
images clare plueckhahn