Our Time is Now Macy Stewart – What we Learnt
Macy Stewart is a fashion and portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After a year with Mastered (London) for fashion photography in 2018, Macy has built up an impressive client list. She has shot with the likes of Lifestyle sports, Dazed & Confused, Lady Gunn, Lucy’s magazine, Irish Country Magazine as well as many Irish designers. Her work has been described as (able to) “vibrate with a kinetic, emotional energy” by Dazed writer, Anna Cafolla.
Macy was the first creative we interviewed for Our Time Is Now. Macy has always been creative, right through school until she dropped out at the age of 17 when unfortunately her father passed away. Macy found herself consumed by grief. With all her friends still at school, she felt she was falling behind and had no confidence and nothing going for her. However she had a camera her Nanny had bought her for school and she started taking photos for instagram just for fun and to be creative. It was a real passion and a way for her to process her grief. She never thought photography would be a career and become her full-time job, but her passion, commitment and talent paved the way for her success and naturally over time it has evolved to become her career.
Macy’s story is one of resilience, strength, passion and creativity and is so inspirational for other creatives. Here are some of our key takeaways from her interview
Genuine passion is essential
“I started taking photos just for fun and to be creative. It was a real passion. I never thought it would be my job. It just sort of happened naturally.”
Macy started taking photos just for fun and to be creative, which naturally led to her journey to becoming a full time photographer. You can’t manufacture this passion and enthusiasm for what you do. It has to be authentic.
Confidence is key
“Building confidence in yourself is the main thing. It really does have to start with you”
“I needed to work on feeling worthy, believing my photos are worth being seen, they are worth being published”
Macy talks a lot about confidence, she had already identified it as something she wanted to work on before starting work as a photographer. She talks about how important it is to build confidence in yourself, that you have to work on feeling worthy, believing you are good enough and your work is good enough and deserves to be seen and appreciated. That confidence has to start with you and can’t come from external validation. You have to believe in yourself and that building confidence is an ongoing process, something that you have to keep working on throughout your career.
“The main focus wasn’t getting clients it was getting experience, more experience could then in turn lead to more clients”
When Macy was starting out her main focus was on getting experience. She made the decision to prioritise getting experience rather than getting clients. She found that getting more experience naturally led to getting more clients. Having work published builds credibility and your profile and also more importantly builds your self-confidence.
Sexism on set still exists
“Women can’t afford to have an ego on set”
Macy talks about her experiences of sexism on set and how photography is still a male dominated profession, with a lot of ego. She explains how there is sometimes not enough respect for women on set, how she is sometimes not even acknowledged which can be challenging to deal with.
From not enough to too much work and learning to find the balance
“I need to keep going. If I stop I will ruin what I have built”
Macy shares that after 5 years working as a photographer she was finally getting the work that she dreamed of, getting to a place of being established only to constantly find herself feeling burnt out.
When you are building a creative brand, it’s very easy to fall into feeling like you’re constantly behind & the workload can feel endless. What’s beautiful to hear is that Macy pushed through that phase & now is a place of finding that work life balance that we all hope to have!
You can watch Macys videos on our website
Listen to the full interview on Spotify
Or watch it on Youtube
Photos by Creating A Space
Project supported by Belfast City Council