Next in our 'Life of Alumni' series, we're chatting with Amy Patterson, LCF alumna from BA Fashion Photography. Amy is now Fashion Photography Manager at John Lewis so we asked her about securing a job in the industry and her time here at LCF.
"I think the best piece of advice is to be open to learning and drop the ego. Be confident and focused on what you want to do but accept change along the way."
Could you give us a little introduction of yourself and your current line of work? What does day to day look like for you?
I am currently the Fashion Photography Manager at John Lewis. Three years ago they decided to bring fashion ecomm in house, so I took on this role and set up an ecomm fashion studio from scratch. I now have a team of 6 photographers and 4 assistants and we work with the inhouse styling and creative team shooting approx 35% of the fashion on jl.com. My day to day can vary really, I can either be in various meetings with the team, on set directing, on location shoots or researching and sourcing talent to support us for other shoots.
What encouraged your career in photography?
When I did my Art A Level I found photography as the best medium to express myself and like most others I fell in love with film and the dark room process. I went on to do an Art Foundation at LCF which ended up being heavily design based, this only strengthened my love for photography more. I then did a BA in Fashion Photography at LCF and I’ve spent my career working in different parts of the industry since.
You went freelance for a while – how was that? What challenges did you face as a freelancer?
I went freelance after leaving Metro Imaging, I enjoyed the sense of freedom and variety but at the same time you really have to push yourself whilst giving yourself a break. I found it difficult to take holidays as I felt like I should always be working.
How do working in-house vs. freelance compare?
Working in house brings consistency, stability and you are also part of a team which is nice. The team at John Lewis are the best bunch of people I have ever worked with, which is really quite unique. Freelance is great for variety, freedom and pushing yourself though.
How would you describe your experience at LCF?
I have to admit I don’t really think I have made the most of it! But I think it’s a great thing to have and I definitely have to make use of that library more. I chose LCF because at the time there were only 2 Universities in the country that offered a BA in Fashion Photography. I also got accepted at Southampton University, the only other place at the time that covered Fashion on the course. I considered it because I was born and raised in London so was attracted to getting away for a bit however the course director at Southampton said I would be mad to turn down LCF! I’m really glad I did choose LCF and London as I met some great people and had a very lively 3 years.
What’s your top piece of advice for a current student looking to pursue a career in photography?
I think the best piece of advice is to be open to learning and drop the ego. Be confident and focused on what you want to do but accept change along the way.