Feature Image by: Marnie Griffiths, Getty Images contributor

Marnie Griffiths: From the School Library to a Photo Library

When Gold Coast school librarian Marnie Griffiths describes herself as a ‘hobbyist’, she is really under-selling herself. To say she is a talented enthusiast doesn’t even come close to the excitement she exudes talking about the joys photography brings her. In fact, the only thing bigger than her laugh is her heart. She spent years teaching hearing-impaired children literacy skills and still gets a buzz when she catches up with them in the street.

Where did it all begin?

In the dim, dark days of film. I wasn’t too good on working out exposure times and the results I wanted weren’t coming out. Then my sister surpassed me in photographic talent and it was: “Next… thank you!” I’ve still got that camera – and it’s still got a roll of film in it.

Then I bought a Canon 650D for family photos and it reinvigorated my passion. I saw Sean Scott advertise the Lady Elliot Island Photo Frenzy for Canon Collective and I was hooked.

No more exposure times?

The joke is I went to Canon events and at one of the Canon photographer was doing a talk on exposure. After listening for a while I thought, “My God, I think I understand all this”. Then it was, “Yes, I can shoot manual! And I know what I’m doing!” What I’ve learnt in the last five years, I could never have learnt anywhere else. It was amazing.

Photo a turtle in Lady Elliot Island. Image by Marnie Griffiths
Photograph by Marnie Griffiths

So I gather you’re a fan of Canon events

The one at Lady Elliot Island was the single most important part of my photographic journey. I went to as many events and workshops in the next two years as possible. There I can experiment and learn, discovering what aspects of photography I like the most. I’ve met a great group of people and if ever you’re stuck on something there’s always someone more than willing to help – not just the Ambassadors, but other students as well.

And it was all a path to Getty Images

I heard about the ‘This is Australia’ program from the Canon Collective. I submitted my images and every day was checking to see if my name was on the acceptance list. I didn’t think I had much of a chance, but one day it was there. I was so excited – and they’ve now accepted about 300 images and I’ve already sold two.

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What do you think makes your images stand out?

I’m putting a lot of effort in going out and getting the images that haven’t been taken. For the ‘Re-picturing gender’ brief I’ve spent many hours getting shots of female BMX riders. They’re awesomely talented. They have the most frightening stacks on their bikes, then just get up and dust themselves off. All the riders support each other checking to see if they’re okay. With Getty Images, it’s all about looking for a different angle, a different aspect. Everyone brings their own ideas and this is just one of mine.

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Is diversity important?

Of course. Photography has the power to show another beautiful side of life. I choose to submit images that see another side of us. Australia really is diverse, made up of a myriad of cultures, and our advertising should reflect that.

Any plans for future projects?

I’ve started getting into taking photos of whales. I’m driven now more than ever to capture beauty on camera. There’s nothing like photography to make you feel relaxed and happy – forget all your problems for a while. And I’m joining Greg Sullavan on the Winter Wonderland Tour in December to improve my landscapes.

For more photography tips and tutorial click here.

Fast-track yourself to become a contributor in ‘This is Australia’ program with Canon and Getty Images.

Photography by Marnie Griffiths

Follow her success on Instagram: @marniejgriffiths

Getty Images: This is Australia Collection

Photograph by Attila Csaszar, Getty Images Contributor

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