For those who haven’t heard my story – I started my journey in writing by answering two Craigslist ads. The first had me scrambling to arrange photo shoots to accompany articles for a New York magazine. Liz Dungate was the creative director/stylist for one of them, but we didn’t really get to connect that day. The second led me to a photographer who was starting a local magazine and I jumped at the chance to come on board.

WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: photo courtesy of Fred Fraser – link

Dungate was one of my very early interviews for this publication, I think the second edition.While I am sure my inexperience showed, she was gracious at the interview and kind in giving me feedback on what I wrote. I was captivated in particular by her early stories of exploring the art of photography with partner Fred Fraser – she doing hair/make-up/styling, he behind the camera. One shoot they even had the model suspended from the ceiling like a puppet! Over the years, we have caught up over a steaming cuppa several times and I have always left inspired.

Dungate is one of those natural artists who explores their talent through many mediums. She has designed her own fashion collection, painted incredible backgrounds for photo shoots (one of giant stick figures the model then had to mimic on camera), is a phenomenal make-up/hair/stylist (totally self-taught), works as a creative director for photo shoots and ads, and in recent years stepped into the role of photographer. Writing this I just realized, we are long past due for another cuppa!

WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: photo courtesy of Fred Fraser – link

8Q Spotlight Liz Dungate

What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?

My life career to date has been graphic design and art direction, with many paid and unpaid passions on the side… from illustration to makeup to styling to fashion design to sets & props for photo shoots. In the last three years I have finally made the decision to photograph my own shoots and I now spend most of my spare time doing (mainly) fashion-oriented photography, for pay, and for passion.

Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

Although I seem to have only recently “picked up the camera”, I have actually been involved with commercial and fashion photography for most of my working life. I’m so fortunate to have art directed and worked with so many talented professional photographers over the years, with my most valuable “education” being my many amazing years of assisting and collaborating with my partner, Fred Fraser, a truly gifted and knowledgeable photographer, on countless shoots… I’m so lucky that I got to start with some of that body of knowledge from him and also so many other talented people in the industry.

What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?

  • I’m always worried before a shoot… will it turn out anything like my vision, will I make good choices for posing and lighting, will there be enough food?
  • I really like people and always want the people I know to succeed, so I love to share any tips or connections I can… whether they need them or not…
  • Sort of a continuation of #2, I love meeting people for coffee, but I ALWAYS talk too much. Sigh.

Highest moment so far?

Hm, I don’t have that coveted front magazine cover photo credit yet. I very recently had a magazine editor write to me that she had prepared to view the story I shot for her magazine by first putting on some classical music and then brewing herself a good coffee, in happy anticipation of sitting down and viewing my images. The fact that someone would actually anticipate enjoying my work that much is an amazingly good feeling.

What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?

Right now I am trying to find a balance between my design job, and the photography that I want to do, and to continue growing in both and still have a life that includes family, coffees with friends and quiet times with my sweetie.

Who and/or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by my partner, Fred, and our life that has so much room for crazy projects and art and all the mess and unpredictability which that brings into our home… I’ll walk into the kitchen and he’ll be preparing some intriguing prop for a wetplate concept. He is my perfect partner who supports my choices, is right there to help if I need it, and is a constant loving force in my life.

I also look outside for inspiration, from Craigslist searches to art blogs and researching history… And I follow many strangers and friends, young and old, who are sharing such inspiring works on channels like Instagram, which is absolutely inspiring and incredibly humbling.

How do you personally define success?

I think I may be lucky enough to already be successful, in my own terms… I make enough to live on, have a loving partner and family, the ability to do creative works with fun and talented people, and to travel now and again. Ok, let’s be honest, success would probably involve the time and means to travel more often.

Favourite quote?

Maya Angelou is of course an inspiration to many, for so many reasons. Among all the books and stories of hers I devoured as a young woman, the one that has stayed with me, and actually influenced my life in a tangible way, is “New Directions.” In it a woman refuses to take the the options presented to her and instead “cuts a new path” and creates a living and a life that suit her, and not the other way around.