Michelle Grace Hunder Interview - Her Story
Michelle has been photographing professionally for the past 5 years, and has worked with the likes of Seth Sentry, and many other Australian and international hip-hop acts! The release of “Rise,” a photo-documentary of HipHop and the faces behind it, and most recently the "Her Sound Her Story" a photographic exhibition celebrating the female individuality, strength, and creativity in the music industry. Each instalment of her work further solidifies her as one of the most talented photographers in the industry.
Futuremag: Tell me a little a about your role in the music industry.
MGH: I am a music photographer most well known for my documentation of Hip Hop in Australia. I self published a book called “Rise - A Photo-Documentary into Hip-Hop in Australia,” which is now in the National Archives of Australia, as a book that makes a significant contribution to the music culture of Australia. Which is super cool!
Futuremag: What are some hurdles have you faced on your career’s journey to get to where you are now? How have you overcome them to reach success?
MGH: I wouldn’t say I’ve faced too many hurdles, but I consider myself a pretty hard working person that creates my own opportunities. Music photography is probably the hardest area to actually have a paying career, but I wanted to make it work, so I’ve had to find ways to do that. I guess the biggest hurdle is that challenge, trying to work out how to be financially able to make music my biggest priority work wise, which is near on impossible for most because of the way things work now in music photography. I will say initially, there were some challenges in people thinking I was a groupie or dating a rapper whatever, but that didn’t really last long once people knew who I was. Now I’m a familiar face so people don’t think that way, but it’s frustrating that that’s the first thought when you see a female.
Futuremag: What tips would you suggest to other women or anyone for that matter, thinking about entering the music industry?
MGH: I feel like the only suggestion you can make is to be really good at what you do and let your work speak for itself. I’m seeing more and more female music photographers every year and its so encouraging. I really try to be supportive of those women too.
Futuremag: What advice would you give anyone pursuing a career in music?
MGH: Just follow your dreams, but don’t think there are any short cuts. The people who work the hardest and produce the best work are always the most successful.
Futuremag: What do you find most fulfilling about your career?
MGH: That I get invited into spaces that most people don’t. It’s always such an honour to document tours or behind these scenes moments that the average punter would never be able to see; pre-show rituals or muso’s handing out or whatever. They’re my favourite type of photos, as I think they’re timeless and what I will look back on in years to come and think ‘wow that was so cool I got to experience that."
Futuremag: What have been a few career highlights for you?
MGH: I think releasing Rise is definitely a career highlight. My next project (Her Sound Her Story) which is actually focusing on women, will be a huge highlight of my career and also see me transcend the genre of Hip Hop that I’ve been shooting in for years now. Not that I want to completely leave it behind at all, but just be known as a Music Photographer rather than just Hip Hop.
Futuremag: Who are your top picks for influential women in the music industry, and why?
MGH: I think Zan Rowe is incredible, I always love listening to her in the morning because of her knowledge base, she always teaches me something about an artist that I didn't know. I also think Vicki Gordon, and Kathy McCabe are both really incredible women.