Ten Minutes with Trent Mitchell

There’s no such thing as mundane

Trent Mitchell is an award-winning Australian photographer that has had success around the globe. With a hint of irreverent spirit he works to capture beauty in the seemingly mundane. Bellroy’s creative team have been fans of Trent’s work for a long time, and we’ve recently become friends.

Last month Trent took out the coveted Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize for 2015 (think the Oscars of photography). It seemed like a perfect time to sit down with Trent and ask him a bit more about what makes him tick, and how he chases magic day-to-day.

You’ve got five words, describe yourself.

Film, Australia, Photography, Beach, Father.

What’s the weirdest misconception that people have about what you do?

Social media creates a lot of misconception around what people do and being a photographer amplifies that misconception by an articulated 1000 words every time.

I love playing games with this. I don’t take social media seriously at all. Don’t be fooled by my posts from exotic locations. I’m at home on the couch scrolling and day dreaming just like you.

What’s the most interesting photo you never took?

A picture of a boy in a red shirt sitting in a boat out the front of Vic Hislop’s Museum in Hervey Bay. Its a picture that’s as weird as it is topical and contemporary. It’s the shot that won the 2015 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (the header image). It was shot on film… I almost lost that roll in the post. So glad I didn’t.

If you weren’t a photographer what would you do with most of your time?

I came up with an idea to make ceramic goblets for mates to drink red wine and craft beer from. I would be a drunken pirate potter!

Now that everyone has a camera on their phone, what are two things that have changed for professional photographers, good and bad?

A. Everyone’s a photographer. B. Everyone’s a photographer.

You’ve just been transformed into an owl, where do you go and what do you do?

I fly to Iceland and watch the auroras for hours with my new ultra light sensitive eyeballs.

What’s the most inspirational place you’ve been?

Australia, because of its unmatched sense of freedom and beauty. I need time and space to create and there is no better place to get that inspirational feeling from in the world than Australia.

You recently released a pretty crazy book called Above/Below? What’s the biggest thing you learned from the experience?

Making the book itself was just an extension of what I do and skills I had developed over years of hard work and a burning desire to create. The lesson I learnt was how to finish things. How to end them.

I learnt that once things end, new things are open to happen. This seems totally logical but I see a lot of people (creatives) become fixated in perfecting their work and having ongoing projects that just don’t end.

I feel like finishing a project is more important than chasing perfection. By printing work and releasing it into the world as a finished body of work you are creating something bigger than the work itself. It has become a finite concept developed all the way from a single thought into an object. I have learnt that there is a particular energy in doing this and it has profound effects to how you see things and create in the future.

Share a Better Way you’ve found of doing something.

If you’re eating corn off the cob, eat it against the grain. The opposite direction in which we are all taught how. You don’t get corn stuck in your teeth. There’s a lesson in that.

Finally, what’s in your carry quiver….

Nikonos V
2 x Provia 100F 35mm film
Mamiya 7II
Bellroy Elements Travel
Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket
Book for ideas/notes
Pen for writing on exposed film
Local cash ( Cook Island 3 dollar note )
Leather man
3 x Portra 160 120mm film
Beer coasters ( I collect them )
Sticks and rocks ( I collect them too)

Trent’s eye for the extraordinary inspired The Adventurer in Bellroy’s Carry Collections.

Bellroy, Trent Mitchell