Owen Richards – BA (Hons) Photography graduate

Current employer: Self-employed

Current job title: Photographer

Current location: London

“I have had the opportunity to photograph lots of interesting people and travel to amazing places. The one that stands out is the one time I was flown to Birmingham, Alabama, in America, to photograph a musician for two days.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

When I initially graduated I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a full-time freelance photographer. I moved to London and worked in picture libraries with the idea of working in archives where I could apply my passion for history alongside my knowledge of photography. Alongside this, I was photographing for magazines and small jobs in the evenings and weekends. I found that the office environment and hours weren’t for me, so I gradually became a freelance photographer via assisting photographers and building up my portfolio and contacts over several years. Since that jump work has increased year on year and I am now getting to a stage where I have enough work that I can decide on my direction as a photographer.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I knew I had a passion for photography that had evolved at university, and I knew I wanted to do something connected to it but I had no definite role in mind and hence no singular career path that I could follow. My career path has been defined by opportunities that have come my way.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I have had the opportunity to photograph lots of interesting people and travel to amazing places. The one that stands out is the one time I was flown to Birmingham, Alabama, in America, to photograph a musician for two days. I also spent a week in the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy photographing and filming cyclists. The location was beautiful and navigating the steep mountain roads added to the excitement.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Believe in your own work, keep yourself motivated and busy. Also be kind and good to people: the industry is a difficult one to break into, so we all need to help and support each other.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes there are several graduates in my year and the year below that are based in London and the South East. We all try and keep in touch and support each other when we can. Occasionally we get to work together; I’ve made a short film on a fellow graduate, Robin Friend, amongst other things. I keep in touch with Oliver Udy who graduated with me and now teaches on the degree. I return to Plymouth annually to give a talk about freelance photography and my career.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Absolutely, because I gained knowledge and ideas from the lecturers and staff on my course which I still apply to my everyday life, not to mention that Plymouth is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes and interesting subjects in the UK.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying photography, please visit our BA (Hons) Photography page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Art, Design and Architecture, please visit the school page.

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