Hey Trent, thanks for getting involved! First of all tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
So I currently work as a photographer whilst also studying at QUT (Queensland University of Technology) in Brisbane. Realising my passion for photography came about a few years ago. Now that I'm quite involved in the field I realise this passion was sparked from a very young age.
From when I was a child I always viewed pictures before reading text, viewed the cover of a book and never continued to read it. I guess most young kids were fairly similar. I was heavily involved in sporting starting from the age of three. Swimming and tennis were the two main sports taking up most of my time right through until the end of high school. Living a highly active lifestyle from such a young age made it harder for me to sit down and read a book. It just wasn’t mentally stimulating enough for my mind. So this encouraged my visual communication skills and taught me to portray emotion through photography.
When did your passion for photography lead to a career? and a little bit about your business (how it started and what it is now)?
A few years ago, a friend of mine I used to play tennis with contacted me after he saw some of my work on social media. He works mainly as an event photographer and shoots for several nightclubs and social venues around Brisbane. He offered to teach me more about the nightclub scene and how to shoot in difficult low-lighting situations. I worked each Friday and Saturday night for a while whilst attending Uni which helped me to learn about shooting in manual settings on the camera. Before this, I was never game enough to try shooting in manual as the semi- auto settings seemed to work fine. Now I pretty much always shoot in manual mode as it allows a much more accurate shot as each individual setting (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) is able to be adjusted.
I recently started my own photography business, ‘Trent Szmolnik Imagery’ (@ts_imagery). I currently still work with my friend shooting nightclubs and social events but am also beginning to take on my own work with clients. I am currently studying advertising and marketing at Uni and aim to combine these two fields together with photography to form a marketing business targeting start-up companies.
The rise of social media has seen a massive change in both personal branding and business advertising, how have these changes assisted or affected your strategy?
Instagram is a huge platform for photographers and it’s where I receive much of my work. It allows you to show off your work to thousands of people in each post and demonstrate your creativity to potential clients. I like to concentrate on my Instagram account not just to gain clients, but to connect with like-minded people. I aim to take photos that portray emotion. If people look at my images and stop for a moment before continuing to scroll past, then my job is done. It’s become ever so important to stand out from the crowd due to there being so much clutter in our feeds. Because of this we’ve learnt to just keep scrolling through with people rarely stopping to take anything in.
I’ve had people ask if I’m concerned with the recent camera phone improvements as they’re beginning to allow more everyday people to produce excellent quality photos, but I disagree with them. Something I’ve learnt in my time is that having the best or most expensive equipment doesn't always equal a more superior product. I think more people having access to higher quality camera phones actually helps promote the work of a professional even more. Similarly, to our social media feeds more photos being posted is only creating more clutter. Now, when a quality image gets posted its easier for them to stand out.
Your urban style would take you to a few interesting places I imagine. Do you have any funny encounters or have gotten yourself into any situations you probably shouldn’t have over the years?
I’ve had numerous funny encounters shooting in nightclubs, as I’m sure you can all imagine. I’ve been asked to do/shoot many things in my time that nothing surprises me anymore.
The most common reactions I get when taking photos of groups of girls at nightclubs are:
‘OMG I look so fat, make me look less fat!’ ‘YUCK, that’s disgusting! Take another one’
Yes, I purposely made you look fatter/more disgusting than normal... I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.
And final question tell us something about yourself that not many may know? (scared of anything or an embarrassing story etc.)
I once made a trip to the supermarket because I was craving passionfruit. Not the ones in the tin, I’m talking real juicy, voluptuous passionfruit. Grabbed three cause I'm a big boy. I was in such a rush to devour this delicious delicacy that I wasn't very diligent in my self-serve selections and accidentally selected 2 instead of 3. I didn't realise until it was too late. I haven't returned to the scene of the crime since and the police are still after me.
If you would like to check out any of Trent’s photography, head to @ts_imagery on Instagram!
The sleek Black-Black Uncle Jack adds a touch of style to any outfit. With black and neutrals big on the scene currently, you can’t go past this classic style for the perfect gift idea. A unisex style, the Black-Black is suitable anywhere, anytime. Rest assured the Black-Black is sought after by many.
MG X UJ Range: Our MG x UJ x Movember range oozes class and sophistication. Made from 100% stainless steel straps and casings, the MG x UJ hosts a copper, black and silver selection. Perfect for that extra hint of glam to any outfit, the MG x UJ range has a different edge to the leather wrist strap watch.
Rose-Gold White: The Rose-Gold White selection from our leather range is a timeless style that can take you from day to night. The white leather strap with rose gold trimmings on the watch face gives a fresh, bright look to any style. The Rose-Gold White is the ultimate wrist candy.
Skye: With Christmas meaning summer, Skye is the ultimate companion to go from beach days to balmy nights. Better yet, don’t worry about taking it off before you hit the beach, all watches from the NATO range are waterproof. The sky blue pastel colour and soft nylon wrist strap are designed perfectly for summer fun.
Rosewood: From the tweed range, the Rosewood is a luxury piece from Uncle Jack. The dark grey casing and double dial paired with the burgundy strap creates a classy vibe, stepping that outfit up a notch. Once you’ve put the Rosewood on, you won’t want to take it off.
Tan-White: The ultimate Uncle Jack. The Tan-White is understated yet classic, and perfect for every day wear. If you’re stuck on a design, you cannot go wrong with the Tan-White, giving a crisp finish to any outfit. Look no further than the Tan-White Uncle Jack.
Pouches: Love so many of the Uncle Jack watches you can’t decide? A signature Uncle Jack pouch is the perfect addition to the wrist candy. Hand crafted from genuine leather, the Uncle Jack pouches are a perfect little addition to hold cards, cash and even your phone. Hand crafted from genuine leather and hosting three neutral colours, the pouches are the ultimate accessory.
Ash Schmitt is an illustrator from Perth, WA. Ash turned his passion for drawing in to his job, and now a day never feels like work. Here’s a little Q&A we did with Ash on what it’s like to follow your dreams and keep at it. If you would like to look at more of Ash’s work, head to @schmitt.com.au. Further, Ash has also just released a book, ‘Big Softie’, where his main inspiration, Kanye West, becomes the most lovable man in the world.
Q: Hey Ash thanks for your time, love your Insta feed and the style of your illustrations! I know you may cop this question a bit but what inspires your work and how did you come about such a field of work?
Thanks for the kind words! Music is my biggest inspiration. Kanye is King though, Bob Dylan too, I like eccentric people. I’ve always liked creating things, including music, and drawing is the only one I’ve been semi good at so I stuck with it and here we are.
Q: Talk us through the process involved in getting a bit of work from an idea to a product?
The idea process is the fun part. I’ll get an idea while I’m having a shower, or driving usually and can’t wait to start drawing it. Then I will make a reference board when I get to a computer and plan the piece. Then drawing is the only part that feels remotely like work.
Q: In past interviews we have seen how social media has played a huge role with the shifting nature of advertising and promotions for bloggers and photography professionals. For your field of work, which is quite unique, how have you seen the role of the ever-expanding social media platform?
Without Instagram there would be no way I would be drawing for a living. 95% of my work comes from people who find me on Instagram. It also makes the long hours I might spend on a piece feel worth it when you post it and get a bunch of nice people saying nice things about it.
Q: So what’s next on the agenda? Where do you hope for your brand and work to be in 5 years’ time?
I’ve just finished my biggest project to date, “Big Softie”, which is a book about the lovable Kanye West. That took a heap of work so now I am going to spend a few months working on commissions and random personal projects. Then I will plan another big project and try make it better than the first. In 5 years’ time I really just hope to still be getting paid to draw, it doesn’t feel like work.
Q: And finally, any bits of advice you would have for budding illustrators or even on a broader level anyone chasing their dream with start-ups?
Stick at it, because personally it took over a decade for me to find my style, or where I could take my drawing, and if I had of chucked it in prematurely I wouldn’t be able to get up every day and do something I love.
Here at Uncle Jack, we know how much accessories can make an outfit and we have built our brand on ensuring that our designs are modern, stylish and able to suit whatever look you are trying to pull off.
Being a local Melbourne label launched by a few mates with big ideas, we love supporting other local labels and pairing Uncle Jack with like-minded businesses to ensure that all of our stylish customers have their finger on the pulse.
Of late we have paired up with Status Empire (www.statusempire.com) in their latest concept – The Gent Society. This annual membership has gathered a top collective of labels to provide weekly discounts and heaps of other offers all year round. Check it out and get on board!
After getting involved with this membership it got me thinking about some of my favourite accessories and has led me to this article, a collection of some of my favourites to pair your favourite Uncle Jack with. Enjoy!
As the days are starting to get longer, the weather warmer and summer creeping up very quickly its time to start getting rid of the hoodies and jackets and start getting those summer kits ready.
A member of the Gent Society, Billy Bones is another local Melbourne label with some of the best looking Fedoras and Beanies getting around.
A perfect staple for your standard summer kit or for that Sunday sesh you swore was only going to be a couple of quiet ones, these Fedoras will have you looking a cracking 10/10!
Pictured is their Salted Caramel, which at a modest $79.95 is a must for all wardrobes out there.
Check out their range at www.billybonesclub.com or their insta @billybonesclub
This has got to be one of the coolest accessories I have come across that serves a practical purpose to boot.
The Orbit Key comes in both Leather and Rubber and can hold up to 7 keys. I bought mine with the USB and Bottle Opener add-ons which have saved me in countless situations!
This stylish little thing keeps your keys in a neat, compact fashion to make sure you will never be fumbling around trying to find your house key again.
Check out their range at www.orbitkey.com.au or their insta @orbitkey
OrbitKey are also a member of the Gent Society
Solid State Cologne
In a compact little tin, Solid State have produced a wax-based cologne that can fit slimly in your pocket to ensure you’re smelling at the top of your game all day and night.
Perfect for long days at work, when on the go, your travels or a night out, this cologne comes in 3 scents; The Journeyman, Voyager and Wayfarer and from reports “would last ages really” (-@edpearson just a normal guy who once bought it).
At $35 a pop, this product is good bang for your buck and to top it off is another Melbourne label with all products made locally.
Check out their range www.solidstateformen.com at or their insta @solidstateformen
Solid State is yet again another member of the Gent Society.
The final member of the Gent Society that gets a plug in this article is Swanky Socks. Swanky Socks will take your look to the next level and give you that little touch to stand out from the crowd.
Socks are in. Done are the days of the plain old sock, instead mix up your kit with a touch of colour. Swanky Socks are one of the leading labels in this trend, with some cool colour combos that will have you looking fresh.
A New Zealand label, Swanky Socks have a membership offer running where for $15 a month you will have a new pair delivered monthly. Sit back, relax and inject some colour into your kit!
Check out their range at www.swankysocks.com or their insta @swankysocks
I came across Native Union strolling through the streets of Paris on a Europe Trip a couple of years ago, but on a backpackers budget I took the brand down in my notes and followed it up when I got home.
Pictured here is the CLIC Wooden case, the case I have used for quite a while now. Native Union’s products speak for themselves; top quality, stylish and original.
Just take a look at their site and their goal is clear that ‘by combining the finest materials, functional design, and considered details, Native Union creates products with personality, that enhance the way you live with your tech’.
While the CLIC iPhone case is my favourite from their range, some of the other products on offer follow very closely behind. Make sure to check out their Charger Docks and the ‘Anchor’ cables, to see just how good their products are.
Check out their range at www.nativeunion.com.au or their insta @nativeunion
How good is it that we have gotten through another winter and approaching the better times of summer! With road-trips, beach days, festivals and everything in between that comes with summer, its time to protect your eyes.
What better way to do that then deck yourself out in a new pair of Raen’s and be looking the part while you’re at it!
Raen has been a favourite of mine for the last couple of years and this year I think I will be grabbing myself a pair of the Remmy 49’s (pictured). Raen’s style is simple but sleek allowing it to work with a range of styles and outfits. Their simple but unique frame designs combined with a range of cool colour combo’s make this label one that stands out from the rest.
Check out their range at www.raen.com or their insta @raen
Kicking off on 7th October, The Art of Banksy expo will run through to late January showcasing over 80 of the infamous street artists’ pieces. To add a bit of a local touch, the exhibition also features a large range of some well-known and up-and-coming local Street Artists.
Melbourne’s street art scene will always hold a soft spot within Uncle Jack, with Hosier Lane influencing our very own Mily range, so this will definitely be an event we will be getting around!
Set up in ‘the dodgy car park, behind the good car park behind Fed Square’, the exhibition features an outside area, the Railyard, which has been transformed into the perfect summer session spot. With a rotation of food trucks provided by Welcome to Thornbury and its very own Circle Bar, keep an arvo free and head down to check out what’s on offer, grab a drink, a bite to eat and have a listen to the live DJ’s on offer.
Curated by Steve Lazarides, Banksy’s former manager, the exhibition has not been free of criticism with many seeing it as an opportunity for Lazarides to commodify Banksy’s work for his own personal gain following their falling out in ’08. As true as this may be, controversy and Banksy seem to go hand-in-hand and this may be one of the only times available for Melbournians to check out such a large collection of his work in the one place.
So whether you want to see an original Banksy or are just looking for a day out over summer, check out The Art of Banksy, to see for yourself what the hype is all about.