I have been working with various art forms for as long as I can remember, but photography took on a more serious role about four years ago.
Photography is a field where I am always learning and growing and the day that stops is when I no longer am a photographer. I am self-taught, but have learned the most from working as an assistant (and now with) some of the greatest photographers of our time – Harry Borden being one of them. I have also been inspired by the work of Jonathan Gregson and Ditte Isager.
My background is in the creative industry, in direction and branding, so I have always viewed that as part of my photography career. I believe that has not only helped enormously, but also given me a competitive edge.
My first career break happened when Harry Borden agreed to have me assist him in his work as a people photographer. My second career break took place when Sunday Publishing (London) hired me for my first editorial shoot with them. Both of these events were game changers for me.
My favourite type of working day is an editorial shoot with an outstanding creative team. You are only as good as the team of people around you. I like lots of natural light and contrast in the props and settings that allow for surprise moments that are not part of the creative brief – I often find that the best shots are the ones not planned for). The food does not really matter, as long as I can sample it after the day is done and am fed well during the day.
I think people want to see real stories, with real people and with real food. Reportage photography – having the human element alongside food – is certainly where my interest lies. With this in mind I created 26 Merton Road, my professional photo blog documenting the images taken throughout my work and travel. It is named after an address I used to live at when I stayed in London. I consider it a visual resource for portraiture, food, lifestyle, travel and all the bits in-between.
I have just been hired to do the photography for a new magazine coming out of Canada focusing on wine and food, so that is really exciting. I am also working together with a Parisian chef at putting together a weekly food column for a newspaper coming out of Toronto, Canada. A dream of mine is to photograph for Toast (a UK brand), continue to shoot editorial for Sunday Publishing and to exhibit alongside Harry Borden.
In my work travelling has its ups and downs. My home is with my husband in Winnipeg, Canada. When I’m in London, I have the pleasure of living with some of my best friends, as I am the Godmother to one of their daughters and when I am in Paris I have a tiny little flat that I stay in that is in the same building as the chef I work with. I really am very lucky.
My favourite food market is Borough Market in London. My favourite places to eat change all the time – I love food and I love exploring new places. A recent enjoyable experience was while I was in Bath Spa, UK, photographing. I had dinner at Jamie’s Italian, which landed up being really quite lovely – I certainly enjoyed the old black and white silent film being shown on the brick wall behind my table. One of the things I enjoy doing the most when I’m not working, is finding hidden cafes and tiny, tucked away restaurants – those are the best! When I’m home, I do love to cook and find that I spend considerable time in my kitchen (which I have to admit, is absolutely stunning – big white island wrapped around an old brick chimney).
If I had to give advice to anyone who is considering entering this profession I would say that it is best to work out what your specific angle is and then go for it. The best advice I ever received was being told I had to find out clearly what set me apart from everyone else and then just put my head down and run with it. I’m still running!
Pauline Boldt Website: www.paulineboldt.com
Follow on Twitter: @26MertonRoad