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Feature Image by: Jackie Ranken

International Women's Day: Meet Jackie Ranken

To celebrate International Women's Day 2022 we spoke to trailblazing Canon Master, photographer and artist Jackie Ranken. A long time lover of fine-art monochromatic photography, AIPP and NIPP Grand Master, Jackie Ranken combines her practice with teaching, exhibiting and instructing nationally and internationally.

“If a door opens, walk through it. Learn and keep the love for yourself and others.”

Canon Master, Jackie Ranken
IWD Jackie Ranken copy image

How did you begin your photography career

My first job as a photographer was when I was 16 in 1977. I was a race finish photographer of Greyhounds. These were colour photographs of the winning greyhound and others running past the post. I learnt how to photograph very fast moving subjects. I called myself a photographer but it wasn’t until 1996 that I realized the potential for me to use the photographic medium as a form of self-expression.

This was when I really became a photographer.

I started to explore alternative darkroom techniques and ways of seeing the landscape. This point of view happened to be upside down while my father performing a loop in his antique bi-plane.

The biggest learning curve came in 2004 with the move to digital photography. Photography is now anything I want it to be.

I learnt my craft through thirty five years of continual practice. Working within the photographic industry as a sports photographer, wedding photographer, commercial photographer and photojournalist. For the twenty years I have been in a position to share the accumulated knowledge I have through running Creative Landscape and Travel Photography Workshops in New Zealand and Internationally with my photographic husband Mike Langford.

What have been some of your career highlights to date?

Since 2001 I have won many prestigious photography awards 2001 Australian Professional Photographers of the Year, which have culminated in making me a Grand Master of both the Australian and the New Zealand Institutes of Professional Photography.

I chose to use the photographic print award system as a way to express who I am as a photographer and artist. The awards system encourages new ideas and ways of seeing. In recent years I have been experimenting with mixed media and using an encaustic wax with my photography prints. It makes the works more three dimensional and tactile.

Do you have any significant photographic influences or styles?

Mike Langford has been a big influence because we live and photograph together. We are constantly motivating each other to learn new skills and finish projects. I give myself the freedom to explore all sorts of photography techniques and styles . Preferring not to be slotted into any genres in particular.

IWD Jackie Ranken copy image

What gender issues have you noticed as a female photographer.

Early on when I was 21-22 and working in a commercial Studio in Sydney. I was not given the opportunity to work as a commercial photographer even though I showed lots of enthusiasm to be one. Mostly all the photographers that I came across were men.

I was working in the E6 lab exposing composite images onto transparency film for advertising and brochures. I had access to the studios and was able to use them for my own projects, but the doors to being a fashion or commercial photographer in that company were closed. I lost interest and moved back to Goulburn where I completed an Associate Diploma in Creative Arts and gradually started my own business. Being a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ at the start then moving into landscape and art photography by 2019.

Since you started out, what changes have you seen in terms of the gender split

These days there are a huge number of women in the industry and they are leading lights. However more women have moved into the wedding portrait rather than the Commercial/advertising arena.

Do you have any advice to up and coming female photographers

There are times in life when challenges or opportunities arise. I suggest to anyone to make the most of each one. If a door opens, walk through it. Learn and keep the love for yourself and others.

IWD Jackie Ranken copy image

Who are the inspirational women in your life. Why/How do they inspire you in your life and photography?

The inspirational women that I come across in my life are the women photographers who come with us on our Creative Photography Workshops. I admire their passion and determination to improve their photography and express themselves creatively. Everyone is unique with their own voice. I am a bit of a loner really and when I am not travelling and teaching others. I spend a lot of time in my own company working on artworks or personal projects. My inspiration comes from within and develops through the process of ‘doing’ and ’making’.

What's in your Canon kit? Why have you chosen this gear to be in your primary kit?

I have moved from Canon EOS 5DMKIV to the mirrorless Canon EOS R. I love being able to see the exposure and picture style of what I am photographing through the lens. This is of importance when I am making multiple exposures. I can see the multiple images come together (in-camera).

See more of Jackie’s work here

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