How Monica Schipper Became a Sought After Getty Images Contributor

Pursuing a passion is rarely a straightforward path, especially in the world of art. It takes time for things to develop, a concept photographers know better than anyone. Meet one of New York City’s most acclaimed photographers– Monica Schipper, an artist who has shot her way to the top of the industry through passion and perseverance.

Schipper naturally gravitated toward the camera as a young girl in Melbourne, Australia, snapping photos of family and friends, intuitively capturing the play of natural light. While the camera was always close at hand, Schipper began leaning more toward journalistic storytelling in her teenage years. But after a brief stint pursuing her degree, journalism simply wasn’t clicking, and she proceeded to enroll in a photography course at the Melbourne School of Art.

And things clicked.

A family friend gave Schipper her first opportunity as a studio assistant and encouraged her to explore her talents at Melbourne’s highly competitive Photography Studies College. Although undoubtedly gifted behind the camera, Schipper recognized that talent alone would not be enough to guarantee acceptance into the program.

“Anyone can learn the technical side of photography, but you either have the eye for it or you don’t, and you can’t teach the passion,” Schipper says, recalling her admission interview. “And that’s exactly what I was bringing to it. I had the eye and I was passionate, I just needed someone to take a chance on me.”

Schipper’s confidence impressed, and she was accepted into the program, watering the seeds of her burgeoning career. While studying, she began cutting her teeth in the industry, shooting anything she could get her lens on, from portraits and commercials to fashion shows, diligently refining her technique and building clientele.

By 2008, Schipper’s name was growing in the Australian photography scene, and work was flowing in. But to continue on her skyward trajectory, a move outside of OZ felt imminent. London, or maybe Paris? Agencies in both of the capitals had Schipper on their radar, but after documenting the Superbike World Championship in Salt Lake City, an unexpected love affair with New York City began.

“I was so moved by the energy here, that I knew New York City was my new home,” the photographer recounts. “I was on my way to Paris for an interview at an advertising agency; instead, I flew to Australia, sold my car, donated my furniture, packed up my apartment, and returned to NYC.”

Schipper would spend the following years on the grind in the Big Apple, working nonstop to ascertain and adventure beyond the level she had achieved in Melbourne. For artists of all mediums, New York City is one of the world’s biggest stages — when you’ve made it in NYC, you’ve really made it. The American metropolis provided the pressure to shape Schipper’s skillset and portfolio into a diamond, propelling her to her biggest gig yet — Getty Images, the world’s largest photo agency.

With an archive of over 200 million assets and a valuation of $4.8 billion, Getty Images might as well be synonymous with high-quality content, a definitive milestone in any photographer’s career. To become employed as a Getty Images Contributor means three things: you’ve got the eye, you’ve got the skills, and you’ve got one hell of a portfolio. Schipper’s work to date was evidence of all three, and in March 2013, it garnered her an invitation to interview with the media giants. Things were about to get busy.

Schipper’s new affiliation with Getty Images launched her from the freelance fringes onto sets with some of the world’s biggest personalities, such as Melania Trump, actor Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), 5-time grammy-winning drummer Questlove and fashion mogul Michael Kors. Many of the world’s most renowned publications source their media through Getty Images, placing Schipper’s hard work in front of millions of viewers within the likes of Vogue, Forbes, Billboard and Time.

One Getty assignment in particular left a lasting impression on the photographer. While on location shooting former First Lady Michelle Obama’s announcement of the global education initiative Let Girls Learn, Schipper knew that she was witnessing something special.

“I love being a part of an event that empowers and honors the achievements of women,” says Schipper. “I still remember the feeling in the room; everyone held their breath while Michelle Obama spoke.”

Schipper’s photos from Let Girls Learn were circulated through media outlets worldwide, elevating the photographer’s prestige to new heights. It was a moment of personal triumph, but it also brought an appreciation for the opportunities that her status with Getty Images now afforded her.

Working with Getty, Schipper was no longer a solo shutterbug, but a contributing member of the world’s most-recognized image gallery. Understanding the scope of her assignment has brought Schipper a greater understanding of how to work within a team, something that will only benefit her as she continues to lend her talents to star-studded events.

“It’s important to remember that you aren’t just representing yourself; you’re representing the biggest company in the image industry,” says Schipper. “Working for Getty Images means that there is an expectation of the highest standard of work, and to achieve that, you have to conduct yourself professionally at all times.”

It’s a standard that Schipper has met throughout her career time and time again, the very reason why her work has featured in the biggest media publications out there. Through passion, perseverance, and damn good photography, Schipper is now recognized as one of New York City’s top professionals. And the eyes of the world eagerly await what comes next.

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