A family photographer making a difference anyway she can

Article written by Alicia Lillington (BIR '13), from the ANU Women's Alumni Network.
1 February 2022

Early in my career I struggled to say no and I found I was pouring from an empty cup. Once I set boundaries I was able to offer the best version of me and create a job that is in line with my vision!

Codie Murray is the Owner and Director of Codie Murray Photography, where she photographs newborn babies and families. Shortlisted for the 2020 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Codie has earned international acclaim for her work.

Codie chose ANU because of its reputation and excellence. In return, she was able to learn life skills and develop lifelong friendships. "I learned to think analytically, to grow in confidence and to multitask."  

Her fondest memory of ANU is the drama lab. "It was like a small family." 

Since her time at the University, Codie has become a mum of two, a wife and a business owner. Her favourite career highlight to date has been buying her own commercial studio last year. When asked what her dream role is, Codie notes with a smile that it is what she is doing now, in her ever-evolving industry. "Photography is always changing with new technology and styles."

If she could have dinner with three people, she would choose Margaret Thatcher, who she considers a true leader, and Marilyn Monroe, who she says defined an era of glamour and success. Lastly, she would choose her Nan, who was and always will be one of her greatest inspirations.

In fact, Codie attributes her ability to meet her career goals, her genuine desire to help and her leadership style to having come from a family of strong women. "My nan was a single mother of 6 children and my mum was also a single mother of 3 children. My mum always put us first and she ensured we never missed out on anything. She worked hard to provide for us and give us the best education she could. She taught me to be empathic and to be kind and to always try and be the peacemaker in any situation. My nan believed in me more than anyone else in this world. She always knew I was different, that I had something unique to offer and she supported me in every decision I made. My leadership style is a credit to these two women."

Codie is further inspired by the women in her field, particularly as the newborn and family photography sector is targeted towards women. "The other women in this field are all boss ladies and many are balancing their own business with motherhood."

"Don't ever think you can't have it all. The family, the career, the dream job. I used my experiences of motherhood to help navigate my business and it made me such a better photographer and business woman. The balance is something I am always having to work on. However, my kids are my greatest source of inspiration and my husband is my biggest supporter so without them I wouldn't be where I am today."

Codie's most significant reflection is that it's ok to say no. "Early in my career I struggled to say no and I found I was pouring from an empty cup. Overworked and taking on clients that didn't share the same vision as me. Once I set boundaries I was able to offer the best version of me and create a job that is in line with my vision!"

Nowadays, Codie continues to try and make a difference in each and every way that she can. She speaks at graduations and school photography classes. She donates her time and services to local community organisations such as football clubs, small country communities and churches. She remains passionate about the need to stop violence against women. "The biggest hurdle women face in is being treated equally. We have come a long way but we still have such a long way to go." As her friends attest, she also remains a kind, inspiring woman who does a fabulous Kath and Kim impersonation.

In the next few years, she aims to move into the field of teaching and running workshops and retreats for other photographers. "After 10 years in the industry I believe I have so much knowledge that I want to share with others."

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