Seeing Life Through A Different Lens

Now flourishing as a photographer in Austria, Gavin Otter is a prime example of how life and careers can take unexpected turns.

He was neither a linguist nor a sportsman at School, yet Gavin (OE 1984–1989) is now fluent in German and an enthusiastic marathon-runner, skier, climber and snowboarder.

He is also a qualified paramedic with the Austrian Red Cross, having come second in his class in a course that was taught entirely in German. He taught himself the language, simply learning it from those around him and from the media.

Upon leaving School, Gavin had originally planned to go first to university and then into the army, but ended up doing neither. “I don’t regret that at all. I have studied other things, which I believe have benefited me more.”

He worked in marketing & sales and originally came to Austria with a former business partner to set up an events company. “We had that for seven years and my business partner still runs it, but I moved on purely because it was not making me any money. I learnt a lot, though, and it was fun. You have never really learnt anything until you fail: just stand up and do something even better.”

He first started developing an interest in photography in around 2007 and has been a been a professional photographer for some three years. “It evolved into something that is now a business,” he says. He works on a variety of assignments, including weddings, documentaries and commercial projects and says: “I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of Austria’s most stunning scenery, as well as some fascinating people.”

Gavin lives in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol and in a recent project for his blog, A Month of Colour, he photographed subjects ranging from his two small boys at play to summer views of the mountains and, from a visit back to the UK, a picture of the QE main building.

His advice for others considering a move into a similar career is: “Make sure you have another source of income as well; you are not going to be David Bailey overnight and it takes a while to build up a business. It is fun, though, building a business and watching it grow.

“If there’s anything I would like to pass on, especially to the boys at School currently, it’s this: don’t quit – you don’t know what you are going to do tomorrow and anything can happen. You can plan your life ahead…but things develop and you have to look for opportunities and go with what you feel is right.”