Culture

Through The CR Archives With Graham Shearer

Above: Graham wears waffle crew knit.

Both an avid surfer and a famed photographer, Graham Shearer has made Byron Bay home. Here, we talk creativity, family and take a look at some of the CR campaigns he has shot throughout his career.

Photography by Will Braden.


What has been a highlight of your career so far?

“Going to faraway, exotic places and the people you would meet there; also the different characters that make up the teams you work with. Being a freelance artist, you would usually be put together with a new group on every job; a dysfunctional family with the sole aim of producing good images.”

Above: Graham looking through his Country Road archives, wearing nep cable knit and slim stone jean.

Could you share a favourite story from on the road?

“You usually tend to remember the trips when things go wrong, like when I went to Nairobi on a shoot for an English fashion magazine and we got attacked by a bunch of wild baboons. We were stuck in the middle of Amboseli National Park without a guide and got lost for 5 hours trying to find the lodge where we were staying. We arrived way after nightfall much to the grief of our fashion editor!”

Is there a certain way you approach the creative process?

“It starts with thinking of a specific concept or idea. Then you choose a location, then – and this is one of the most important things – you need to get the right team for the job; picking the right model, the fashion stylist, the hair and makeup crew, the equipment, the assistants etc. You’re only as good as your weakest link, so you need to get this right from the beginning.”

Above: Graham wears waffle crew knit.

Is there a certain way you approach the creative process?

“It starts with thinking of a specific concept or idea. Then you choose a location, then – and this is one of the most important things – you need to get the right team for the job; picking the right model, the fashion stylist, the hair and makeup crew, the equipment, the assistants etc. You’re only as good as your weakest link, so you need to get this right from the beginning.”

"I worked with Country Road for around thirteen years and we were always travelling to such wonderful Australian locations."

How has your practiced evolved since the beginning of your career?

“Creatively, I find it much more rewarding now doing my own personal projects and not having to rely on magazines and art directors for an outlet. A lot of my artwork is exhibited and sold through art galleries.”

Above: Graham wears waffle crew knit.

What was your favourite Country Road shoot you’ve worked on?

“I worked with Country Road for around thirteen years and we were always travelling to such wonderful Australian locations. We had a great creative director, Sue Vesey that looked after everything and gave me such creative freedom. It was pleasure to work with her.”

“We were a naughty bunch in general, always up to some mischief. I remember after shooting for a full day in the sand dunes at Anna Bay near Newcastle, that some of us wanted to go to a Christmas party in Sydney that night, so we snuck away drove to Sydney, partied all night and made it back just as the sun was rising – Sue never knew!”

Above: Graham wears waffle crew knit.

How would you describe the brand's aesthetic?

“The brand always kept its aesthetic towards a truly Australian feel and lifestyle. They had a unique vision with a real editorial feel.”

How would you describe your style and how has it changed over the years?

“I come from a film background – way before digital and Photoshop – so I really had to teach myself lighting and technique as there was absolutely no room for errors.”

“It was an exciting time in fashion photography and I was into pushing colours and techniques and angles to get something different. Now with all the available effects with Photoshop I tend to find the images less realistic so I have gone back to shooting in a more pure and honest style.”

"The brand always kept its aesthetic towards a truly Australian feel and lifestyle. They had a unique vision with a real editorial feel."

Tell us about your ideal winter’s day as a family in Byron Bay?

“An ideal winter day in Byron would be spending some time with my wife, a surf with my boys at Broken Head and then sitting round my newly installed - by me I may add - fire pit debating who got the best wave. I also like going to the markets to by fresh organic produce – Bangalow markets are a must!”

Do you encourage your children to be creative, and if so, how?

“They grew up in three continents and have travelled extensively with me on work trips, they are bilingual (my wife Patricia is French). They all have the potential, Louis my oldest son is amazing at what he can do, the other two boys, Julien and Vincent, are both studying engineering and who knows where that will take them. But we never really pushed them to do anything they don’t like, it’s best they discover their talents on their own.”

Above: looking at Graham's archives.