The spectrum of life is captured through this professional photographer’s lens

PERTH’S Frances Andrijich, 61, stepped up to photograph 40 smiling, older women performing their morning tai chi exercises in a Chinese park recently.

Her endearing images were captivating but they weren’t destined for Frances’s photo album.

They may instead feature in some of the world’s best magazines.

The tai chi photo, is exclusively for Have a Go News.

© Frances Andrijich

Frances is the artist behind the works that have dominated magazine photography in WA for a generation.

Hardly a household name, Frances Andrijich, though, is familiar to the publishers and editors of Australia’s elite magazine publishers, including newspaper magazines and glossy supplements.

If you have opened an Australian magazine in your lifetime, you will have seen a photograph by Frances: A landscape, an entertainer, a winery, a surf beach, a rocky coast, an enticing dish or a cuddly pet.

Even a clothesline or three.

On her shoots, the mother-of-two and grandmother oversees a team which may include a stylist and make-up artist with hand-picked clothing, props and lighting.

Frances has built a creative collaboration with stylist Paul O’Connor and hair and make-up artist Hendra Widjaja.

Permanent assistant Clair Negri manages the cameras, lenses, computers and tripods.

For outside shoots, they may engage their eye-in-the-sky drone which has replaced many of her previous outings, shooting from helicopters.

Her subject may be a model, film star or sports champion like female soccer player Sam Kerr.

Heath Ledger kicked-up his heels in his 90-minute photo shoot.

© Frances Andrijich

Or it might be an upcoming international name like Perth’s beautiful Mikhaila Todd, a model and DJ at some of the world’s hottest nightclubs who happens to be Frances’s daughter.

In China, Frances was a guest of the West Australian government to photo-showcase the best of our state to the Chinese.

At the exhibition, Frances catches-up with WA’s Professor Barry Marshall whom she photographed as Nobel Laureate.

Premier Mark McGowan and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia were at the China Art Museum with WA’s Tania Malkin and Hugh Brown and renowned Chinese photographer, Madame Yu Huiwen.

Frances’ skills are known to governments and corporations and she spends much time shooting in the south-west, particularly Margaret River.

Back home, she can be heading to the red dust of the north-west or the cool, green south west where she’s a constant and well-recognised photographer at winery events, beach breaks, rocky coastline or international festivals and product launches.

Frances has contributed to 14 books including popular The West, featuring amazing WA images, and quirky Consider Clotheslines with text by Susan Maushart.

Whether in dangerous South African town sites, meandering through Moscow’s great halls, traversing Indonesia’s remote islands or capturing the Croatian countryside, Frances finds fuel for her life’s passion.

© Frances Andrijich

“In my work I see the whole spectrum of life, meet the people in the bush, see what happens behind the scenes and get close to the decision-makers and leaders.

“Portrait photography can be incredibly personal and you sometimes get close to people. You have to form a quick connection.  I am incredibly lucky doing what I do,” she told me.

“It’s a big responsibility, especially doing magazine covers.

“You have to meticulously plan the shoot, gather your equipment, get to the venue, arrange other members of the team, be organised and committed but receptive to things out of your control – including the people and the weather.

“You can’t lose your cool. Clients and editors never want to hear about excuses. You’ve got to get the shots,” she said.

Arriving back from China, Frances is required in the south west but squeezes in time with her partner, prominent WA documentary-maker Michael Muntz.

“And I always set aside four weeks a year to spend time with my grandsons Freddy and Artie and daughter Annaliese, (host of radio show The Queen Sesh with Constance Hall on Hit network), in Sydney or when they come here.

“Hanging out with my daughters and grandsons, reading them children’s books, is my favourite thing in the world,” she said.

Working odd hours, Frances nevertheless tries to maintain regular stretching exercises along with pilates and regular walks.

She’s also target for her mum Jagoda’s Croatian-based cooking.

“After a tough assignment in the south-west I can’t turn down a bowl of mum’s home-made soup or biscuits on my way home,” she laughs.

Frances came to Australia from Croatia with her dad, Nicola, and mum when she was four.

“As a migrant myself, I have always appreciated the way new arrivals to these shores shape our identity,” Frances explained in an introduction to her works.

Most of Frances’s work is centred on stills photography but in the new era she takes in video and computer-based new media requirements as well as the drone.

Frances acknowledges that with the stresses and strains or professional photography with its long hours she can’t continue indefinitely but feels her calling will last for several more years.

As she has put it: “The kaleidoscope of colours that splash along the Swan River, the spectacular sunsets of our coast and that astonishing rock of an island, Rottnest, with its secluded bays and crystal-clear waters – all have a majestic, distinctive beauty.

“Mother Nature is an expert artisan,” says the artist who has captured it all on camera.

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Journalist, commentator, broadcaster and author. Lee, columnist for Have a Go News has reported for The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The West Australian, Sunday Times, Albany Advertiser, Melbourne Herald, Launceston Examiner, Business News and national magazines. Lee has covered federal politics, industrial relations and national affairs. A public speaker, newspaper columnist and author of two books, Lee co-hosted 6PR’s current affairs radio. He also co-founded a stable of national business newsletters. Lee is former communications manager for a non-profit, mental health carers’ organisation.