Gavin o'neill


About Me

Gavin O’Neill

* Lives in: NY
* Born in: New Zealand
* StarSign: Leo

I first picked up a camera when I was about 20 years old. At the time I was a musician (a drummer) in a rock band that was about to embark on nationwide tour, and documenting that tour became my first real experiment with photography. In the end I only took 1 roll of film (36 frames) over the 3 week tour, but it was enough to get my eye in, and surprisingly, enough to win me ‘photo of the month’ in a popular photography magazine with one of those first pictures, which was an encouraging way to start off. Over the next few years this became my hobby, and then my obsession, and I shot everything I could, from cars, to cats, to kids, to landscapes, even a few weddings, and at the same time, just tried to familiarize myself with all the basic technical stuff like depth-of-field and things. Then I saw a tv show about the making of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition (1994, with Cathy Ireland on the cover), and like any young man with a camera, I immediately decided that this would be my new life :) So a short time later (about 4 years after buying my first camera), I walked into the nearest modeling agency and asked them to shoot some of their models for free, just to build my portfolio, and after my 3rd shoot, they were so impressed that they offered to start paying me, and I’ve never looked back.

From that point on, I have just made things up as I’ve gone along, basically just believing that my passion for photography, and my insane work ethic, and my ambition, combined, would be enough to get me places. It’s been difficult for sure, specially considering I have also travelled non-stop in the last 15 years too, living in Perth, Sydney, LA, Milan, Istanbul, Cape Town, Miami, Hamburg, Munich, Paris, London, and now NY, so that has meant having to also find ways to make a buck while living ‘on the road’, live in different cultures, as well as perfect my photography, build my career, all without really knowing when my next dollar will come in. But I’ve loved it, and I still live the same way now, just going with the flow, and regularly jetting off to primitive places with a model and a crew, just to create things for myself at my own expense, just to keep the ball rolling. Basically I live the same way that I shoot….unscripted, unplanned, totally on instinct, and by just believing everything will be fine if i work hard and believe in what I’m doing. So far so good….