Passion and Determination
Meet Pixie Levinson

Pixie Levinson allows tmrw to delve into her world of photography and fills us in on how she was able to turn a hobby into her dream career.

If we look at Pixie’s career so far, it is clear that she has come a long way. With persistence, passion, and determination, there’s no doubt that whatever you put your mind to, you will eventually be able to achieve the dream. This for Pixie was photography. But that wasn’t always the case.

Having ventured into the fashion industry and presenting shows on YouTube, modeling was how Pixie got into becoming a TV presenter. “I worked on a few tv shows in Australia and a few YouTube shows in London. I loved it and it was a lot of fun”, she explains enthusiastically. She then mentioned that the reason this did not continue for as long as she had hoped was “that I left Australia and naturally gravitated to photography. I still really enjoy it and have a few things with Photography and presenting combined”.

Sounding grateful about what her life is like now and how this career path has allowed her to travel to places she may not have visited otherwise, from the windy city of Toronto, Pixie describes how “it is an amazing bonus of doing what I am doing- everyone wants to do their hobby as their dream job”. With this being said, we all have to start somewhere: “I attended the University of the Arts London. I then went to Chelsea to do Art for a year and then London College of Fashion, where I studied photography at University, so I was always planning on doing this as a job. But I do feel very lucky that it has all fallen into place correctly” – she pauses – “I definitely think that studying something ruins the love for it. It took a while for me to get back into it”

It is important to appreciate where it all started, in order to move forward and grow as the creative individual we can all become. For a lot of people who graduate from University, you may find that finding a job in your field of interest may not be as easy as you thought. This does not mean you should give up, as there are routes you can go down to eventually reaching your goals.

“After my degree, I was modeling full time and I got into the industry through photography that way. Through modeling, I met a lot of Photographers, I assisted and also met a lot of models who I took photos of. From having this background, I worked my way up and shot through the contacts I made”.

Developing a portfolio is essential for any creative individual. This allows you to showcase the work you have created over time. It’s always good to be able to look back on previous projects that you have worked on and improve your skills for any work you produce in the future.

“There’s not really a stop button where you stop developing your portfolio. There are always things you can learn and improve on. Personally, with my own portfolio, it’s always changing depending on my mood”.

As there is always room for improvement, no matter what industry you find yourself in, Pixie tells us how being open to experimenting got her to where she is today.

“The best thing that I have done is to be experimental and take on different types of work. I began with just shooting. I started when I was at University, shooting friends and family and then from there, I went to uni and studied. As I didn’t really know what I was going to do, I was interested in a whole load of things, so I was a bit of an experimentalist. I tried out so much, so, I didn’t have my mind set on anything long term”.

Pixie has also learned “not to take it too seriously”. Even mistakes that you make can be classed as art. “The concept of film is amazing and I love it. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to shooting film”.

Another piece of advice that Pixie offers is to “enjoy the process and double up in digital. Always have a backup option. You just never know”.

When it comes to pursuing your career, it is not always about who you know, although this can have its advantages. “I think a lot of it is through contacts and meeting the right people at the right time, Pixie expresses. But a lot of it is hard work and the case that I found is not giving up. If you want to do something, it will fall into place”.

With this being said, nothing comes easy. There have been challenges along the way that Pixie had to overcome, as she mentioned how “there has been a few along the way, which have been learning curves”. Thinking about it positively, Pixie understands how “it is great to have situations like that as it makes you who you are today. I think there are still more mistakes to make and more to learn”.

With the rise of social media, it is definitely important to identify your strengths and use that as your own source of inspiration. There’s no harm in being inspired by the work of others, as long as you put your own creative stamp on it. This is what Pixie Levinson does well.

“I think everyone has a tiny bit of pressure on social media. Although I do use social media to look at the work from photographers I admire, I just kind of remind myself that is just social media. It is not your life. It doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of life, there’s nothing else to it”.

“I try to keep it to my own style, rather than go off other people.” Many of us would like to know what goes on in the life of a touring photographer. Getting to work with musicians such as Dua Lipa and surrounding herself with an “amazing team, who are like a big family”, life on the road for Pixie “would vary”. The day would start off with “waking up on the tour bus. We’d go into the venue, shower and get ready for the day, which is always funny. We go into an empty venue, where it could smell of beer from the artists who played there before”, laughed Pixie.

“It’s not as glamorous as you’d imagine. We’d get breakfast close by and whatever artist I’m with, we have promo to do. What I do during this is capture the moment and make sure I keep it as exciting as possible, that follows on with the gig. During the gig, I try on focus on capturing behind the scenes. I enjoy being able to get the raw real emotion, rather than something posed. The gig finishes and then I will sit and edit, maybe 3-5 hours and then go to sleep. Then it’s the same thing in the next city”.

From all the photos taken, “Id take about 3,000 pictures and edit it down to 100 and use about 20-30.”

Whether it is from a photo shoot, a live show or a sports event, “I want to portray realness”, she explains. From all the project that Pixie has worked on throughout her career as a photographer, two photos stand out from the rest. These include the UEFA Champions League Final. “Just the facial expressions I was able to capture during the games was lovely because you could see the emotion on the faces, even if you weren’t there.” Another favourite includes capturing the behind the scene shots of Silk City’s music video for ‘Electricity’. “I loved doing the BTS for that. It was just really cool to be around and see the making of it all.”

Aside from these opportunities that Pixie is able to document, if it was up to her, being able to turn the classic movie, Alice In Wonderland into a real-life event and capture moments like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party would be “really cool”.

When you are as consistent as Pixie is in the field of Photography, you’ll start to understand that “having a creative eye is important”.

It is a misunderstanding that in order to pursue your interests, having expensive equipment is the way forward. This may be the motivation you need to help take your passion further, but this is not the only way. For anyone who is interested in Photography specifically, Pixie thinks that “equipment wise, it really depends on a budget. If you’re working on a beginners budget, whatever you have will work. You just have to play around with it. Angles, colours, Photoshop. You can download trials for free and see if you enjoy it, they’re the essentials to play around with”. Additionally, “high-end equipment is amazing, but it is not necessary to becoming a photographer”. This sort of advice is key.

The advice doesn’t end there. When you decide to share your work online, it is out there for pretty much everyone to see. Whether you get positive comments or any form or criticism, you can use this to your advantage. “Don’t be afraid to put your photography out there”, mentioned pixie. “It is scary. I was scared to do it in the beginning. Take the risk. Without the risk, there’s no gain in being proud of your work.

What we all need to remember is that “Art is subjective and as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters”.

 

Words by Sarah Akomanyi / Photography by Pixie Levinson

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