Martina Gemmola is having a good year. The up-and-coming Melbourne photographer has had features published in Vogue Living, Inside Out and House and Garden magazines, and is also gaining a respectable advertising client list, including Kikki.K and Haymes Paints. But, as with many success stories, she has been plying her trade for many years. After studying photography at RMIT Martina assisted leading photographers and spent time living and travelling overseas before returning to her hometown to cut through.

Which five words best describe you? Calm, hardworking, loyal, open, grateful.

How did you get your career start and what path gave you taken since? Many hours learning the beautiful unpredictability of the darkroom sparked a passion that led me to enter the sought-after RMIT Bachelor of Arts in photography course. Since then I have lived and worked in Greece and Los Angeles, learning what I am and am not excited about in the world of image-making, assisting some incredibly talented photographers, and refining my own personal style and aesthetic. Since moving back to Melbourne my freelance business has taken all those experiences and become what it is now – a bit of a dream.

What's the best lesson you have learnt along the way? Just keep going. That, and learning that the doubt that creeps in is all part of process, a cheeky little test to see if you really want it.

What's your proudest career achievement? Working up the confidence to approach people and publications I wanted to work with was a daunting, rewarding, and proud turning point in my career. It sounds simple, but I realised unless I put myself out there, nobody would know I existed. Folio in hand, I put my work, heart and passion on the line and much to my relief, the response was positive and encouraging. Phew!

What's been your best decision? Joining the Creative Women's Circle. After returning to Australia after six years, I wanted to reach out to like-minded people who I felt I could connect with on a creative and personal level. This ace bunch of ladies has been an amazing resource of inspiration and fun, and I have collaborated on so many gorgeous projects through this group. I found my name being passed around more and more within the network and beyond, and it really changed and expanded my business. Finding your people is such an important part of your creative journey.

Who inspires you? Anyone who manages to live, breathe and be successful in their small creative business.

What are you passionate about? My husband, family, home, travel, beautiful light - and my cat.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The late Olive Cotton - one of my first photographer crushes. She was a dynamic, humble and ever-so-talented photographer who paved the way for female photographers of the future. I imagine a cup of tea with her would uncover many pearls of wisdom.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many! Combining photography and travel on a dream project would probably be at the top of my list.

What are you reading? On top of the ever-expanding pile is a book of baby names – for our next little adventure!

images courtesy of martina gemmola

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