Photography for me was an effortless transition from creating/experimenting/playing and freedom to a dream career where I still get to go to work excited every single day.
It's played a huge part in how happy I am, I'm sure. Nothing better than loving your job.
In your commercial photography career you work a lot with beautiful women fashion. Does anything change in your approach to personal work when you get to explore beauty without the need to push a product?
Personal work is like going back to school where all that mattered was making a magic image.
Too light, too dark, too soft, too bad! It looks amazing! It's a chance to bring out your box of tricks, wether it be a new light or working with an amazing makeup artist to create something for yourself. It's a chance to be selfish and it's ok.
What was involved in making and curating your sun editions collection?
These images are a collection that reflect the aspects of my job that I love! I chose these pictures because they are the kind of images I would like to have on my walls at home. I feel like there's something in there that can appeal to a wide audience.
I'm curious about the concept behind your polaroid images. I know that Polaroid has been used by you in your early career. Is it a nostalgia, or a different connection?
I wanted a record of my time with Polaroids. One of my favourite memories is when I was an assistant and I would be offered a leftover box from a job. Back in those days it was expensive!
Pulling a Polaroid was either proof of your skills or failures in lighting and I liked that pressure. Reading the lights, setting ratios, choosing the softness, adding colours were all expensive decisions compared to now where you can just take frame after frame in digiland. I guess they remind me of a time where you had to know your stuff.
Do you have a philosophy for approaching nude photography?
When photographing the nudes in black and white my main aim is to capture the talent in their raw natural state. Sometimes a model's natural beauty is lost or masked due to a brief or transformation required by the idea central to the concept.
As a result, we do very minimal hair and makeup, maybe the makeup artist will do a small clean up on the skin, brush up the eyebrows and moisturise the skin but that's it.
In a time of increasing photoshop fails, facetune and other phone filters I like that my pictures celebrate the models true natural beauty.
I've just had a little baby boy and I am making him a physical photo album to record his journey of growing up in this big wide world. I feel it makes the pictures more real, something to touch and appreciate.
Screens are great for my work but a printed photo blooms into a new version of itself, bringing the whole process to a satisfying conclusion.
When I have seen my pictures printed up for the 'This Time It's Personal' exhibitions I'm always so proud. Selena is a printing genius and always extracts every last bit of beauty from the files.
She suggested the paper for my crocodile image and it is given it a 'lil extra magic that I love!
Steven Chee's collection is exclusively available through SUN Editions: own exclusive fine art prints by Australia's leading contemporary artists. A new curated online photography gallery by SUNSTUDIOS Australia.