Sydney-based photographer Hugh Stewart has lensed some of the world’s most inimitable talents – Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford and Paul Newman among them. And while his portraits have featured in international publications such as British Vogue and Vanity Fair, and also hang in the National Portrait Gallery in both London and Canberra, it is his limited-edition flower studies that really fuel his imagination. More recently, the father of three – to Lily, Matilda and Flynn – has been working on a new project, the soon-to-be-released book, The Maverick Soul, a collaboration with interior designer Miv Watts, which is the ultimate showcase of Stewart’s philosophy: to capture creative families in intimate and oftentimes irreverent moments. It’s only fitting then that the photographer turned the camera on himself.
What ignited your love of photography and the arts?
“Bad exam results at school.”
How has fatherhood changed your world?
“I will not be retiring any time soon.”
What is your secret to striving for a work-life-family balance?
“If I knew that I would have a much better work-life-family balance.”
How do you nurture your children’s creativity?
“My children are all motivated to be the opposite of me which both Emma and I encourage wholeheartedly.”
How would you describe your personal style, and what type of clothes make up your daily uniform?
“Having day-old food down the front of one’s shirt should not be misconstrued as style. Chinos and long sleeved shirts preferably blue is the ideal uniform.”
Tell us about the inspiration behind your beautiful limited-edition flower prints, and also your new book, The Maverick Soul.
“The book is a reaction against all those generic sterile home books cluttering bookshops presently. Its a collection of mavericks and mongrels, all connected to each other and to Miv [Watts, the interior designer] who I did the book for. It features about four toilets, a few unmade beds and a seventy year old smoking a joint."
"My still life's are are really something quiet and peaceful I can do when I need a break. I can lock myself in the shed and paint backgrounds then go on walks around the neighbourhood stealing flowers to photograph. I don't have to talk to them, flatter them or show them the end result. If I can end my days photographing flowers in a shed in Wales and selling them on the internet I would be very very happy.”