In Conversation with Sean Izzard

Sean Izzard is co-founder of The POOL COLLECTIVE, “I don’t really run with a title. It’s very much a collaborative beast, and we don’t have much emphasis on hierarchy.”

How did you get your first break Sean and then how and why did you start The POOL COLLECTIVE?

I have been working as a professional photographer for just over 30 years now. Initially as an editorial sports shooter, then transitioning into commercial and advertising work. I can’t really identify a first ‘break’ as such – my attitude was more based around building consistently over time, to concentrate on producing quality work and to solidify relationships along the way. Over the course of my career I’ve been represented by many agents, ultimately hiring my own agent/producer, which was how I operated for the years before the idea to start my own production company.

This idea first came to be out of necessity really. My great mate, Simon Harsent, had just finished with his Australian rep at the time and suggested off-handedly that I should start a production company. My initial response was that it sounded really hard, but then I broke it down and figured that I already had in place what I needed to get something started, and so it came into being.

Most photographers tend to operate very independently. They may share studios, but are usually very private about how they work, who they are working with etc. I had my own studio, and much like everyone else, was like a shag on a rock. I had however, been entertaining the idea of setting up a ‘drop-in’ style hub at my place, where photographers and assistants alike would be welcome to come over and share their work. This for me is where the juice is – to be able to contribute, and be contributed to, and this in turn became the fundamental philosophy behind The POOL COLLECTIVE. To share, inspire, motivate and produce are the original tenets and continue to shape everything that we do.

Description of The POOL COLLECTIVE

We are a collective of seven artists working in motion and still imagery. Our philosophy is based on a model that supports the individuals within the group and places equal importance on the quality of both their commercial and self-driven work.

All members are encouraged to continually produce meaningful personal projects. This manifests in publications and exhibitions, and also forms the basis for our own publicity and advertising. And one of the most important culminations of our involvement in the art community is The Pool Grant.

Who (or what) inspired you to start The Pool Grant?

Founded in 2009, The Pool Grant is a cornerstone of our philosophy. Both Simon and I owe a great deal to the many mentors that helped get us get started. So, we decided to create a Grant. We wanted to give back to the community that helped us by providing our own mentorship, support from our team of managers and marketers, and tangible resources such as the $10k.

This has become one of the most important events in our calendar, and certainly one of the most rewarding for us. We are incredibly inspired by the ideas that come through and the caliber of the proposals we see each year. With the brief being so open, we receive a wide range of perspectives and approaches to the project. From still life to portraiture, documentary to highly conceptual ideas, we are continuously surprised and delighted by what comes our way. I believe The Pool Grant also helps foster a great interest in helping and supporting emerging artists within the wider arts community, which is paramount to keeping the creative space alive.

Tell us what you are currently working on?

Simon and I have recently collaborated on CommBank’s latest brand campaign – both directing the TV commercial and shooting all visuals for the print and online campaign. This collaborative approach is part of POOL’s creative ideal, and is something we are doing more and more of. It’s an exciting new direction where we have taken the sense of collaboration so present in our personal projects into the commercial realm. This follows Christopher Ireland and I working together on an upcoming brand campaign for the Australian Defence Force where we produced all key visuals as well as content pieces for online and social media.

The team is also very busy preparing for some exciting projects during Head On Photo Festival, and of course, The Pool Grant.

Who can apply to The Pool Grant?

The Pool Grant is open to Australian and New Zealand residents over 18 years of age with less than 3 years of commercial experience in photography. The submission process is fairly straightforward; we’re interested in hearing your idea and seeing a sample of your photography skills. We’re looking for potential, and want to give that person the chance they need.

For further information

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