FRAN MILLER PHOTOGRAPHER | NOT SO ORDINARY CITIZENS
Posted on August 9, 2016 by Trace
C I T I Z E N S
O F T H E S L I D E
— Not So Ordinary Citizens Interview —
Fran on why she loves capturing the Ocean —
“The scope and power of the ocean leaves nothing but the truth to be visible, as it overwhelms all trivialities.”
Fran Miller has left her home on the Gold Coast and arrived in New York to show her first solo photographic exhibition, specialising in fine art surf and water photography at the
NYC Women’s Surf Film Festival.
Some of Frans yet unreleased, limited edition artwork in the series entitled ‘Prima Donna’ have been pre-sold, whilst the remaining are available to purchase during the Surf Film Festival presented by Lava Girl Surf, held at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club on August 12 – 13 2016, with Artist opening night on the 12th.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to take them all home with you!HC: Originally from Sydney and now residing on the Gold Coast, Australia, was it a surprise to be asked to feature in this New York Festival? Tell us how it came about?
FM: It was a complete surprise to be asked to show in the festival let alone to be asked to solo-exhibit.
I had briefly been in contact with Davina Grincevicius [the festival director] over email regarding women’s surfing in general but hadn’t discussed anything to do with the festival.
It came about primarily from having some of my images selected to be featured on the film festival poster and from there we developed the concept of the exhibition.FM: The images I chose for the exhibition reflect my genuine desire to showcase the amazingly skilled and talented female subjects I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
Many of them are my friends and I’ve been able to witness the manner in which they have gone about being positive influences in our community.
I wanted to make sure that those traits were shown off under the title Prima Donna, the star of the show, especially when in current popular culture we celebrate seemingly less desirable traits.
HC: You have a loyal and captive audience following you on Instagram. Do you believe the power of Social Media has allowed more people to see your talent? How long have you been taking photographs and is this your full time work?
FM: I’ve been taking photographs since I was a child when my sister let me use her SLR camera and it has since become my full time work for which I am grateful because I have never been more passionate about it.
I do believe that there is significant power in Social Media and that this has definitely increased the global audience and reach of my images, which is a blessing as it allows me to showcase more of my story to the world.
HC: ‘SERENA’ pictured above, you named as one of your all time favourite photographic pieces.
You said: “This image captures a demure figure, enveloped by the vastness of the ocean and is a timeless representation of the subtle elegance in a boundless world”.
FM: The demure figure is a very close friend of mine. The photo was taken during a session where she was the only person in the line-up and I can recall just how calm it was between the sets and how she was looking out to sea in expectation of the next waves arriving.
I titled the piece “Serena” not for the name of the person in the image but as a reflection of the Serenity that existed in that moment.
HC: What type of equipment are you using in the majority of the images you are exhibiting and do they differ to your steadfast favourite camera & lens’s on an everyday outing.
What is your favourite camera of the moment?
FM: I have been shooting primarily with a DSLR body with a mix of different branded lenses but recently I’ve been extremely excited about a number of mirror-less cameras and am definitely considering taking a leap into this world.
On an everyday outing my preferred camera is my iPhone, I always believe that if I’m not capable of constructing a good image with an iPhone then no camera will save me.
The question of my current favourite camera is more a question of my current favourite lens. At the moment it is my Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 which I use in and out of the water.
HC: Other than the exhibit what else is on your agenda while you’re in the States?
FM: I’ve just come from California where I spent some time shooting some amazing surfers and getting the opportunity to surf some of the legendary spots like Lower Trestles and San Onofre.
In New York I plan to visit as many art museums as my feet and brain will allow me.
I just went to the International Center of Photography, self-proclaimed to be the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture, and I would have to say it was a very thought provoking space, and one which fascinated me deeply.
More or less my goals outside of the exhibition are to put myself in mentally stimulating situations that will encourage my future creative process [plus I’m working on my August summer tan and increasing my fish taco consumption!]
HC: Your work allows you to be constantly in the Ocean shooting beach culture in a seemingly endless Summer – what other activities fill your soul with happiness?
FM: I am obsessed with books, both visual and written text. I spend a part of every day reading and I am always on the hunt for a good new [or old] book.
I’ve been really enjoying the poetry of Coleridge lately and I have found that I get a similar joy from poetry as I do from taking photographic images.
But the absolute top activity that fills me with the most happiness is being with my friends.
To me they are as important as my direct family and whether it is spending time with them on the beach or at our local bar, my friends time is my favourite time.
HC: You have called the Gold Coast home for a few years now. What are the things you love best about living near the border of QLD & NSW. Take us through a typical day: Sunrise ’til Sunset.
FM: I bought my apartment in Coolangatta last year because after many visits to other countries and cities, no-where else felt like home as much as there.
There is an unbelievably strong community in the northern NSW, Southern Gold Coast area that is completely supportive of so many things that I am passionate about.
Namely: exploring the creative process, beautiful tasting locally grown food, and of course being one of the strongest surfing cultures anywhere in the world.
Not to mention I like going right, as in Burleigh, Kirra, Greenmount, Snapper, Byron, Broken, Angourie.
On a typical day I always check the surf first thing in the morning from the top of Kirra Hill where I can see the entire line-up. I will then usually go shoot photos in the water for an hour or two before having a surf myself in the middle of the day, followed by a couple of hours of photo editing.
FM: Towards evening I will do another sunset photo session and then afterwards I will gather with the squad to relax with some drinks at our local hangout. Rinse and repeat!
Anytime I’m not shooting photos, I’m surfing.
HC: Name one person that has been a source of inspiration for your photography, and that you believe has most influenced your imagery.
FM: This is almost an impossible question. I am inspired by so many artists. What we see as normal today was at some stage considered revolutionary and certainly in the past being revolutionary was often a quick way to the axe.
My favourite artist is Caravaggio, for his observation and depiction of human behaviour. I think that this is an influencing foundation for the theory and concepts behind my photography, though obviously I don’t mimic his execution.
FM: I would have to say that I love the vastness of the ocean and how it puts into perspective how small we are on this earth.
I sometimes feel that modern society tries to overly construct and direct our lives and that there is a lot of nonsense in that.
But the scope and power of the ocean leaves nothing but the truth to be visible as it overwhelms all trivialities.
HC: Where has been your favourite place to shoot.. and favourite destination?
Where will your travel adventures take you to in the future?
FM: My absolute favourite place to shoot is Rainbow Bay, not necessarily because of a serene backdrop [note the high rises!] but because every time I’m in the water there I’m surrounded by the community that I love: mums, kids, teenagers, all stop to say hi and I love to hear what is going on in their lives.
So it is actually an extremely social environment for me.
But on the other hand, there are other local areas which I won’t name, where I tend to capture the most emotive images, where it is just myself connecting between my subject and surrounds.
FM: My favourite travel destination is actually Crescent Head. As much as I have had incredible days on the beaches of Mexico or Hawaii or Indonesia, Crescent Head is the one.
On my mind for future travel, I would love to explore places that I haven’t seen that don’t yet exist on a map.
I don’t know if that is possible but you can always dream…
Thanks Fran, great to catch up with you!
All the best with your Solo Exhibit at Rockaway Beach Surf Club on August 12 – 13 2016, and your USA adventures!
The Annual NYC Women’s Surf Film Festival presented by Lava Girl Surf.
PHOTO : Viewers taking in the surf films from last years event.
PHOTO AT TOP OF PAGE : PORTRAIT OF FRAN by ELYSE LU
Keep in touch with Fran Miller
Instagram @fran90210 ↰