Scott Burrows is an Australian architectural photographer based in Brisbane and Melbourne. He finds the interplay between architect and photographer to be unique and he constantly strives to maintain a freshness for clients seeking to nourish their own professional development through the imagery he creates. Scott’s first attempt on photography was 20 years ago when he took a photograph of a building that he had been part of the design team on, then the rest is history…
George Takes Twelve
1. Pleasantries first… Tell us about who you are and what you do?
My name is Scott Burrows and I have been specialising in architecture, interiors and all things built environment for the past 20 years. I work across all genres of built form from the tallest to the shortest, to the widest or the skinniest, to the steepest or the flattest.
2. When I was growing up I wanted to be….
I haven’t grown up yet. Ask me in another 10 years…
3. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
When I first decided to turn photography into a career I was lucky enough to have had a few photographers in the local market give me some prudent words of advice in terms of running a photography business. Stick to your professional morals in the work you create and turn up to site with the biggest bloody camera you can afford. It will really impress your clients.
4. What’s been your favourite moment so far in your career?
A lot happens in the space of 20 years and there have been multiple milestones. My first ever commission and my first ever professional film camera ( which I still own to this day ). I remember first learning to use a 5×4 film camera and getting 5 consecutive exposures all correct without messing things up. That was a big step. But I don’t really have one moment. There have been magazine covers, photographic awards, publishing opportunities, books, international travel assignments, artwork commissions. I just hope that I still keep getting ‘moments’ throughout the rest of my career.
5. What do you feel is the most challenging part about being a photographer today?
I think the biggest challenge is the sheer amount of visual clutter out there and people finding it hard to distinguish between what is a good photo vs what is a great photo. A lot of people get hung up on one spectacular shot that defines their work but the true secret to being a professional is being able to repeat that again and again and again. Just because you do one great golf shot does not mean you are a professional golfer. I also don’t subscribe to photographers being chosen based on price. I trade on value rather than dollar amount. So if you can get an exceptional photographer to take 4-5 shots vs an average photographer to take 20-30 shots for the same price I would choose the exceptional photographer every time. You owe it to your brand and market perception.
6. What words of wisdom do you have for a go getter look at breaking into the world of photography?
There are two types of photographers out there. There are those who love the process of photography, the equipment, the methods, the technical stuff and the history. And then there are those who have an innate passion for a subject matter and just choose a camera to record with. Work out which one you are and it will hold you in good stead as to what type of professional you turn out to be. Your imagery will showcase just how committed and enthusiastic you are to your cause. You can not fake it.
7. What’s the most treasured belonging/item in your own home?
My family and the 18 year old bottle of scotch that for some reason I need to keep replacing every so often.
8. What’s one thing other people may not know about you?
I used to be a navy diver.
9. Can you pinpoint the moment photography turned into a profession for you?
Yes. I was working for a large architectural firm in Perth, Western Australia. We had just completed a large engineering building as part of the airport industrial expansion and had it professionally photographed. I had always been a keen photographer but never knew someone makes a living from photographing architecture. The shots that came back were very nice but I thought that they missed a few key aspects of the building’s story. I photographed it the following weekend, put the images on the communications manager’s desk and the rest is history. From that point on I slowly built up a body of work. One day I went into the studio director’s office and requested to work only 2 days a week so I could concentrate on my fledgling business. He gave me a choice of which job I wanted most. I handed in my notice, sold a bunch of AMP shares to buy some professional gear and have never looked back.
10. When’s the last time you were on the opposite side of the camera lens?
Doing the headshot for this article. I needed a quick portrait for another media profile but had no recent images.
11. You’ve got 24hrs to shoot any person or subject in the universe. Who or what is at the top of your list?
My true passion is shooting big buildings and stadiums. Give me access to the tallest structures and the noisiest stadiums and I am as happy as a pig in mud. Plus as an added bonus if you can get Gal Gadot to stand in front of them that would be good too.
12. What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects in the pipeline…
I am currently trying to put together a collection of some architectural work that would appeal in an artistic sense. Plus I am also reviving my love of black and white in architectural photography. True black and white of architectural space really tests your photographic skills. You are not relying on colour in the image to generate interest.
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“I only play songs I know all the words to. It’s how I refine my karaoke talent.” – Scott