Jason didn't make it to university straight after school. Now, after completing his degree, he is enjoying his career as a photographer, and his debut solo exhibition showing in September 2019.
Q&A with Jason Smith
Can you tell us about your time at Deakin? Is there anything you especially remember?
The incredible support from Deakin staff, approachable, knowledgeable and experienced tutors/lecturers, fantastic facilities, including a professional, fully kitted out photography studio and print room, and a great vibe and atmosphere at a modern, progressive and all-inclusive university campus.
What has been your journey since finishing your course? Briefly outline your career path prior to your current role.
Since completing my studies in August 2018, I have been working diligently in building my freelance photography business. In my journey, I have also found employment freelancing for an event photography company and a French start-up brand building photography company. I am also in my fourth year working as a volunteer photographer for a community not-for-profit. In October 2018, I joined a small group of emerging documentary photographers in a 13-month mentorship program and have been working on a long-term documentary project. For the past three years I have been working on a personal photographic series titled ‘Urbanscape’, an exploration of colour and geometry found in Melbourne’s urban industrial landscape, which has led to my first solo exhibition.
What has been the biggest influence on your career?
The continued support and encouragement from my beautiful wife.
Have you always wanted to pursue the kind of career you have embarked on? If so, when and how did you realise?
No, this has come later in life after a prolonged season of personal challenges. In 2014, I embarked on a formal study pathway to pursue the potential of a career as a professional photographer. Studying at Deakin broadened my view and opened my eyes to the possibilities also of a career as an artist.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to pursue a similar profession?
Do your research and find an area you would like to specialise in. Study, practice and exercise great determination/resilience/dedication. Always look at ways to upskill, be innovative, creative and progressive, and embrace challenges and failures as opportunities for growth and success.
What do you believe Deakin University has shown you/given you as a person?
Confidence to pursue goals, trust in my instincts, skills and ability. Remain true to yourself and be expansive…nothing in unachievable.
What are your passions outside your work?
My wife, volunteering, healthy living, astronomy, mentoring young adults, and my footy team Richmond.
How would someone describe you?
Caring, authentic, trustworthy.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting our in your career?
Continually develop your skills and knowledge, network with peers and industry and seek out mentorship. Look for volunteer opportunities which are personally rewarding, helps those less fortunate, builds skills, confidence and experience and just is an awesome thing to do!
What is something that amazes you?
There is so much beauty in the world yet we are so busy and distracted that so few seem to notice.
Is there anything else you’d like to add we haven’t covered?
I am grateful to finally study and complete a degree with Deakin University. I deferred a place offered by Deakin many years ago when I was straight out of school and since then I’ve felt it was a lost opportunity. However it’s amazing how life works, and in 2015 Deakin accepted my mature age application and now I possess a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Photography) and so the delayed but not forgotten journey, begins.
Image credit: ‘Urbanscape’, Jason Smith, 2019
156 Ferrars Street
5 September 5.30–7.30pm