Edited by Odeta Catana, photography editor
Could you please tell us a little more about yourself.
Where do you live?
Well, I am 20 and live in Wollongong, which is a small city on the south east coast of Australia. I work and study here as a land surveyor as a full time job and in my spare time I am out taking photos at sunrise and sunset or on weekend adventures. I also occasionally enjoy heading into the heart of the city to take candid photos of the characters that are found there, especially in the rain.
How did you start taking pictures? Usually there is always the old story of the boy who finds his grandfather’s camera, did that happen to you as well or not?
In hindsight, I do wish I had started my photography journey using film as it is a medium I have come to enjoy very much! But no, I began my obsession with photography after falling in love with the photos of a particular photographer I found on social media and with that inspiration, I made an impulse decision to buy my first DSLR camera, with the challenge to always shoot in manual mode. Since then, I’ve spent my time researching, learning, practicing and grooming my obsession over this amazing means of personal expression. The particular photographer that led me to pick up a camera is now my girlfriend and we have the opportunity to grow alongside one another.
Where does your inspiration comes from?
So much of nature inspires the way I shoot. How light is forever changing and sculpting a scene, how the sea and sky can convey strong moods and how a human face can hold so much emotion, especially at a time when they think no one is watching. But most of all I am inspired by experience and how I feel at any one moment when I am with nature or a companion and my camera. I also really enjoy finding work from artists and learning from what they have to offer. It’s one of my favourite things to look through someone’s portfolio and explore their style!
In a portrait, what is important for you?
I personally enjoy portraits which convey a lot of emotion and mood. This is generally helped by an effective light source for example, deep shadows. Natural light has so many qualities that help this! But I do see the importance of flash in some situations. I also think it’s important to have the environment or clothes create an interesting story about the subject.
What kind of relationship do you have with your subject when you shoot?
Most of the people I photograph are friends, so I think that affects how I capture them on a sub-conscious level. On the other hand, some people I photograph are strangers on the street, and I love looking at an image that I’ve captured of them and feeling like I’m looking directly into a moment of their lives and knowing nothing about them.
Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?
I am completely self-taught in that regards and I found it quite easy to research the technical side of photography and making sure I knew how to properly and efficiently use my camera. There are so many online resources for that sort of thing! The rest came from practicing and developing a style over time. Because of this, I know that I personally would not have received much benefit from a photography school. It is also a very personal thing for me and I believe I may not have developed the way I have if I was in a class with other people and a possible sense of competition. In saying this, it will be different for almost anyone and some people might find it beneficial to have hands on teaching and others to learn with. I think the best way to learn how to shoot is to just stay in manual mode (film cameras are good for this) and to shoot everything and anything until you begin to learn what you like and don’t like and you’ll begin to realize how to successfully create what you want, in time.
What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?
There have been many occasions where I’ve seen something interesting or beautiful that I wanted to photograph but didn’t. Whether it was an amazing sunset that I didn’t have a camera for, or an interesting person that I was too nervous to ask for a photo from. But it is in these moments when I remind myself to appreciate the experience and the visual display that I was lucky enough to see. When I do that, I don’t feel annoyed that I may have missed a good shot, I come away with a new, memorable experience.
What’s your photo-mission?
Since I began this journey well over a year ago, I have set the ultimate goal to photograph a wolf in the wild. This is a long term mission that will also affect the direction of my life because it requires travelling to and living in different countries and becoming more and more in touch with nature. I’m looking forward to reaching that point in years to come and enjoying all the experiences and other things that I will photograph on my way to reaching that goal.