Why Stop at One Dream Job When You Can Have Four? Laura Du Vè Tells Us How She Does It

Why Stop at One Dream Job When You Can Have Four? Laura Du Vè Tells Us How She Does It
This article is sponsored by Set For Life.

Would you like to be a photographer? Running about snapping pretty pics in an artful way that is true to your style, capturing magic in real-time? Or would you prefer to be a make-up artist — transforming the beautiful mosaic of the human body into a canvas for something truly stunning?

How about a model? Embodying a concept or an idea or a feeling and transforming your very being and directing that energy towards the lens, yourself a living, breathing artwork.

Well, who says you have to choose just one? Just ask Melbourne-based multi-talented marvel Laura Du Vè, whose day-to-day involves all of the above, and then some.

But how does she manage to do it all and still, you know, stay sane? After all, living the dream is fun and all, but dreams can get exhausting too, can’t they? 

Take it away Laura.

LH: You’ve recently shot for Refinery29 Australia’s Street View vertical. We love to see it! Can you tell us about when you first got into photography and how has it evolved over time? 

Laura: I did! I’ve loved capturing personal style for Refinery29. There’s so much incredible and unique styling happening in Naarm and it’s always so interesting to me to see how people desire to be seen in a public setting, myself included. 

As for photography, I have always been obsessed with images and colour. I believe my first interest was music videos. Like most millennials, I grew up in front of Rage on ABC, and I really believe seeing so many unique concepts through music videos is what piqued my interest initially in both photography and film realms respectively. I believe that was why I really found myself strongly drawn into music portraiture and more generally capturing people in both candid and more stylised images. 

When I was a kid, my dad used to take photos of my siblings and me and develop them in our laundry and as a teen, I remember borrowing his camera to experiment and take photos of myself and things around me. 

When I discovered my interest in photography I gained a desire to photograph LGTBQI+ people, as growing up I was quite far in the closet. I didn’t really have access to the LGTBQI+ community, nor did I really know where to look as there wasn’t much around. I find it somewhat mind-boggling that I’ve managed to carve out my life to shoot all sorts of LGTBQI+ people, events, shows and artists. 

You also work in front of the camera as a model, how did you get started in that? 

I do! Honestly, it was all Tumblr’s fault. I found myself wanting to explore a more sensual side of myself and I honestly just thought I looked great in this particular lingerie set, so I posted it, and it went somewhat viral. I found myself frustrated that I didn’t see bodies like mine wearing well-made and strappy lingerie — this was back in 2014, thankfully things have shifted a bit in the right direction since then.  

In 2015, I quit my retail job during my quarter-life crisis and went to New York for three months, and had a really transformative time. My love of photography was reignited after working in a mall had really drained it from me. Working in creative fields in the States, I found myself creating with lingerie brands and a photographer whose work I had followed online for ages. It gave me a confidence boost that I really needed.  

I came back to Melbourne to the sudden passing of a good friend which made me really think about what I wanted in my life and that life is short and you’ve got to go for what you want. This mindset had me pursue modelling freelance, after some weird experiences with agencies. 

I got really into YouTube makeup tutorials and realised how it’s all about light and shadow — much like photography is — and decided to start my photography business which also offered a makeup service. 

Do you have a favourite creative medium?

I feel like every photographer under 50 will say this, but I really love colour film. Particularly Portra 160. I love that you need to wait for the image, I love the slow presence that comes with it. 

Did you always see yourself working in a creative field?

I didn’t. Although looking back it would have really been the only direction for me. I was an insufferable musical theatre kid, and also a confused punk/emo who just wanted to create and edit music videos and go to punk shows. I always wanted to be around music, culture and the arts. I don’t think it was until I was 25 or 26 that I really decided to push in one certain direction — photography being my main breadwinner.

What are the challenges of being a freelancer?

Not always being sure where your next paycheck is coming from, and needing to prepare for quiet months (usually the deep winter months). Although beginning to shoot weddings has eased that stress somewhat. I shoot with a wonderful LGBTQIA+-run wedding company Lavender Haze and it’s really rewarding capturing all sorts of couples, but there’s something really special about capturing LGTBQI+ love, considering our history. 

What are the best things about freelancing?

Being able to create your own schedule, absolutely. Although for my mental health and my unfortunate love of routine, I usually try not to start too late in the day. 

You must need to be organised to be a makeup artist, model, and photographer. How do you balance all of your passions and split up your days? Can you give us your top tip?

It sounds like a lot but really every day is different! Sometimes I have a boudoir shoot where I’m also doing the client’s make-up before I set up the shoot scene, other times I’m on set modelling for a brand or another day shooting a live music event or drag show so it feels like quite an organic way to work. 

The creative fields I work within bleed into each other in a way that really works for me. What I do find tricky is remembering to make art for myself. Setting aside time to create for creation’s sake and not with a client outcome is probably the most challenging part and remembering to push myself to do this because it brings me so much joy, and that’s where all my interest in creative fields started.

What’s a non-negotiable for you on a typical day of work? 

I’m going to be so annoying and say a strong flat white. 

What does living the dream look like to you?

Finding enjoyment in your day. Feeling excited to go to work, it also looks like a lot of late nights and early starts, burn out and going above and beyond for small budgets because you care about the outcome. It’s needing to look after yourself and your body as you’re the boss and if you pull a muscle or don’t stretch before a shoot you don’t have a clone of yourself (yet) to pull through for you. 

If someone was wanting to become a creative multi-hyphenate, what advice would you give to them?

In the current climate of the arts, and a bit of a lack of funding, it’s a precarious time to say the least, but I’d say set aside one day of your week that is just for your creative interests. Collaborate with like-minded people, do those favours for jobs you really are invested in but also value yourself enough to not overextend yourself too much if it isn’t a paid opportunity and you’re serious about the creative direction you’re heading. 

Getting paid isn’t the be-all and end-all but it definitely helps when you know your bills are paid on time so you can enjoy your work. 

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