Reflections | Tanya Macheda - Mother's Day Edition

Tanya Macheda is the Photographer and Product Stylist behind Tanya Mac Creative. Having pursued her passion for all things photography, she has artfully created a business which she not only loves, but one that provides beautiful and timeless imagery for her clients. When she’s not behind the camera lens or styling, Tanya is also a mum to two children. We chatted to Tanya about life, motherhood, fashion, and of course, jewels.

How would you describe what you do?

I am a Freelance Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle Photographer. I love telling the stories of emerging and existing Australian brands and entrepreneurs and bringing their branding dreams to life through my imagery.

What did you do before this, and what was the turning point in deciding to launch Tanya Mac Creative?

I have always loved photography and fashion. Before starting my business, I worked as an Editorial Photographic Editor at The Age Newspaper working alongside some of the best photographers in the country, for almost twenty years. After having my second daughter, I juggled Part time Editing at The Age and working as a Product Stylist for SEED, styling womens and childrens wear for their catalogues and EDMs. Doing both simultaneously allowed me to work with both loves however during The Pandemic I, like many Melburnians, spent a lot of time working from home which gave me pause to reassess what I wanted to do next. I had always wanted to pursue my own photography and post covid realised that life is too short to sit and wait for the right time to take the next leap of faith. I discovered that there was a way that I could bring all of my passions together, in creating beautiful, bespoke sets and images and capturing moments behind the scenes for fashion labels, small businesses, influencers and entrepreneurs. I particularly love working with mothers and women, who traditionally shy away from the limelight and humbly hide their own passion projects from the world. I hope that through my work I can help others to tell their own stories, in a beautiful way and to make them feel proud of the brands they create. A bonus is that by being a full time freelancer I can spend more time with my husband and daughters during their golden years of childhood.

Tell us, how do you typically start your day? Do you have any daily rituals?

Coffee. Always coffee.Then a typical day entails getting my girls ready and walking them to school, squeezing in a weight workout and then either heading to a shoot on location or in the studio or spending the day editing in my office.

What inspires your work and what have you been most proud of? 

I am inspired by the beauty that is around me daily. Whether it be what someone is wearing, the colour of the sky or a beautiful building facade. I am particularly drawn to old buildings and brutalist architecture so you often see a mix of fashion and architecture in my photography. It’s hard to pinpoint my proudest moment so far, but taking the leap to leave my job of twenty years to start my own business has definitely been a gutsy move that I am proud of.

When you have some downtime away from work, where is your favourite place to go?

I love the beach. I am a summer person by definition but love going to the beach in Autumn and Winter most. Feeling close to the ocean and being alone with my thoughts clears my senses. Being a visual person can be overly stimulating at times and surrounding myself with a pared back canvas of long stretches of sand and sky and no other sound but the waves crashing on an overcast day is very soothing.

How do you balance motherhood and career?

I have learnt to balance with humility and gratitude and with the knowledge that you can do everything but not all at once. Some days I am the best mum in the world to my girls, but my work might take a backseat. Other times my work will be at the forefront but I might feel like I haven’t been very present at home. I like to think that it’s called a juggling act because you have to act like you are not losing balance even when you are. It can be overwhelming a lot of the time but I am grateful that I have the privilege to focus on both, albeit in turns.

What do you love most about motherhood and what has it taught you?

It has certainly taught me to be more patient. The biggest lesson I have learned so far though is that sometimes  things are not as confusing as we make them out to be in life. Children are simple and pure and haven’t been conditioned to think or see with veils of opinions shrouding their reality. My girls humble me often with their views of the world.  The thing I love most about being a parent is bearing witness to how they see things and experiencing all of their firsts with them and re- experiencing them myself with a different outlook. The other great lesson being a parent has taught me is to value and notice all the small things. My husband and I have a thing we call “The lost lasts”....the last time you tie a shoelace, or fix their hair for school, or hear them say a word the wrong way, and not notice it until we look back and realise that it was the last time. I don’t take those moments for granted anymore, so I will always, always say yes to a cuddle or hands outstretched for “uppy”.

What advice would you give your children about pursuing their dreams and goals?

I hope they can witness through me that it is never too late to pursue a dream and that there is never a perfect time to start working on that dream. I often tell them if I feel nervous or anxious about learning new skills or trying something I haven’t done before so they see that vulnerability first hand and understand that being uncomfortable means that you are challenging yourself, which means you are learning and growing.

As a photographer and creative, how would you describe your style in three words?

Utilitarian, Classic and Minimalist.

Do you have a style icon or current muse?

So hard to choose one person but Cindy Crawford in the 90s is probably one.The classic fashion of the 90s in general is pretty iconic for me. 

How does jewellery influence your mood or personal style?

Some pieces of jewellery are like home for me. I can feel naked without them on. Other pieces elevate me and give me that little sparkle when I want to feel a little ‘extra’.

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery, or one that evokes a special memory?

Apart from wedding rings which are of course very special, I own a few pieces that are dear to my heart. My gold rosary ring that I bought on our first family holiday to Sicily (where my grandparents were born) is one favourite. I wear it everyday along with a gold bracelet that I received for my Communion when I was 9. My lucky charm is a gold and onyx ring that I inherited from my grandmother after she passed away in 2021. These are some of my favourite pieces but Jewellery is so sentimental to me that it is hard to choose just one.

Which piece from Elle Forma resonates most with you?

There is something extra special about the Rainbow sapphire hoops. They sparked joy in me the moment I met them.

What would be your ‘Tanya Macheda’ curated edit of products from the EF range?

Favourite pieces are currently the luminary cartilage earring, paperclip hoops, Ines ring, Gigi bracelet, Gianna chain and Rainbow sapphire hoops.