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Following in her father’s footsteps

Currently completing her final year at ACG Tauranga, gifted photographer Francesca Miller-Hard is looking forward to the challenges a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree will bring and taking the next steps towards a creative and rewarding career.
ACG Tauranga Year 13 student, Francesca Miller-Hard

Francesca Miller-Hard has been surrounded by cameras and creativity for as long as she can remember. She received her first camera – an underwater point and shoot – on her eighth birthday, and now, a decade later, she’s turning her childhood passion into a career.

“My dad is a photographer, and seeing his process of creating art through photography has fuelled my own excitement. Once I started, my love for photography only grew,” says the talented ACG Tauranga student.

She’s already had her first paid photography job – capturing a DJ gig at the Waihi Beach Hotel – and she can’t wait to do more.

“I’m aiming to find more events and freelance jobs next year. It’s so exciting using my passion for work because I strive to produce my best work knowing I’ll get to proudly show it to my employer.”

Now in Year 13 and having returned to ACG Tauranga after a few years studying in Auckland, Francesca is working on growing her portfolio, laying the foundations for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Auckland in 2022. 

“I absolutely wish to pursue photography as a career. I’d like to follow the path my dad took, balancing freelance work and independently creating. I feel that this would suit me as a person in terms of my organisation and independence. I think one of the greatest things about the human brain is the excitement we can drive from our passions. I hope everyone can find their niche because creating and producing something you love and are proud of goes hand in hand with true happiness.”

Inspired by the work of Alessio Albi, Brian Ziff and Min Hyunwoo (not to mention Instagram), Francesca is interested in a wide range of photographic styles.

“I don’t confine myself to one genre of photography. My art jumps between self-portraits and an editorial style. However, I’m working on expanding my subject choice and continuing to explore different types of photography. 

“In the past two years, I have explored the analogue side of photography after my dad let me use his little film camera from the ‘90s. I love the mystery of not knowing how the photo will turn out until it’s finally developed. Experimenting between film and digital photography has allowed me to perceive my photos through fresh eyes.”

Francesca’s process of creativity is all-encompassing, and she loves the considered approach of planning and producing art.

“There’s a sense of pure joy and total immersion that I feel when I work on creative projects. Mastering the technical elements of light, composition and camera work creates an interesting balance of creativity and precision. When I take self-portraits, I enjoy the challenge of controlling what’s happening behind the camera as well as in front. Using myself as a subject takes patience and my best pieces of work usually come after hours of finding the best compositions.”

Creating a portfolio of work for A-Level Art & Design in 2021 has been a big focus for the talented artist and the perfect complement to her studies in Business and English literature.

“These three subjects create a good balance of creative and analytical thinking for me. I particularly enjoy English literature because I get to analyse a different form of art – poetry and prose. I think starting photography from a young age grew my critical eye, allowing me to question what I see on the surface and explore beyond this, whether it’s a photograph or a piece of prose.”

And whether she’s creating a photograph, critiquing a poem, or honing her business skills, Francesca knows she’s in the right place.

“I love the family feeling of ACG Tauranga. Watching the school grow from being a founding student to coming back after experiencing different schools and curriculums, I feel that ACG gives me room to grow with guidance across all of my subjects.”

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