In conversation with Photographer & Culture Machine founder, Yasmin Suteja
Describe what you do for a living? What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m a freelance photographer and director. As well as the founder and director of Culture Machine, a Sydney-based production company, talent agency and photography studio in Marrickville.
What was some advice you wish you were given when starting out?
I wish someone had told me that all the hours I was spending scrolling the internet, reading academic journals, watching international films, and getting lost in experimental music mix tapes were actually going to be key components of my most employable "skills" - a bank of knowledge and the ability to reference art, films, books and theater outside of the echo chamber that is social media. Someone once told me that to be a good photographer, you have to understand how the Renaissance artists used their brush to paint light, and how musicians evoke emotion through sound, rather than looking simply at other photographers. I guess I was introduced to multi-disciplinary practice here.
What’s your favourite Brie Leon piece?
My favourite Brie Leon piece is the Link Chain Necklace. It’s timeless. And genius design. I love the way that the clasp is concealed in the design, so it doesn’t matter if your necklace moves around during the day, it’s always going to look like one perfect link chain!
How do you approach your personal style?
I’d describe my personal style as “SexyCool" (wanting so badly to reference TLC lyrics!) which isn’t surprising because the 90s will always be my favourite era and I definitely reference back to the 90s attitude a lot when I’m getting dressed. I want to be comfortable, but also feel confident, sexy and chic at the same time. If I’m in monochrome, then I’ll go for hard geometric shapes and interesting silhouettes. If I’m wearing colour I’ll favour a more simple silhouette with a bold colour and maybe a clashing print.
What are you reading, listening to and watching at the moment?
I’m listening to a podcast recommendation from my friend Isabella Mamas called “The Rabbit Hole” by The New York Times which takes you on a very interesting investigation into the mechanics "behind" the internet and the way that algorithms influence the things we read, listen to and watch, making us much less autonomous thinkers than we would like to believe. I’m also listing to the complete Radiohead “The King Of Limbs” album on repeat. I stumbled across the track “Lotus Flower” again and all these memories came flooding back. I love re-listening to an album years down the track and seeing what memories it conjures up. I’m also obsessed with Kelsey Lu and keep having these really visceral responses to her music. Especially her track “Due West”. As far as reading goes, I’m subscribed to this awesome independent publishing company called “STACK” and every month they send me out a zine. I love them. At the moment I’m reading “American Chordata” which is a compilation of short stories and poems.
What’s something exciting that’s coming up for you in the next couple of weeks?
My Birthday!!! <3 I’m a Sagittarius and December is my favourite month of the year. It’s summer in Sydney and it’s that time of year when everyone slows down and spends quality time with friends and family.
Thank you Yasmin! @yasminsuteja