Featuring these WordPress photographers is great, but I started realising that I haven’t really shown any from Down Under, so I went through the blogs that I follow and looked for an Australian WordPress photographer, and the one I decided on was Distan Bach and his blog Distan Bach Photography. He does a wide variety of photographs and shows a lot of versatility in many types of photography. For me, there is a particular shot that I love that he does.
Distan photographs lots of places around Sydney, Australia. I am not going to get into which is better, but there are certainly things in Sydney that you don’t find in Melbourne, and one of them is the above, tidal pools. Because Melbourne is in a Bay we don’t have these, which is a shame. I love the shots that I have seen of tidal pools and if I ever get to Sydney Distan is going to have to take me out for an early morning shoot so I can take some. Is that okay Distan?
For my first question to Distan, I asked him “Why do you take photos?”
Ever since I was a child, I was always oriented to visual language. I remember seeing movies like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tron and Blade Runner and being totally in awe of the worlds depicted on screen and I think they had a lasting impression on me. I loved being swept up and immersed in these alternate realities and they seeded my imagination with these panoramic vistas. I think music has also played a role in my photography inspiration. Not in so far that I hear specific songs when taking pictures, rather, its the emotional response that music engenders that I identify with. You see, I rarely notice song lyrics – in fact, I have sung and played many a tune on guitar or piano and never taken any notice of what the words say. Music stimulates a ‘feeling’ in me and its this aspect that has parallels to my photography.
So, what does all that have to do with why I take photo’s? For me, beautiful photographs stir your emotions. They conjure emotional reactions and feelings. They inspire and they can tell stories; a visual poetry that span’s the continuum of tragedy to ecstasy; solitude to rapture. This is what I love about photography and why I like creating images.
He has also traveled overseas and I have enjoyed watching how he has taken images of some iconic places in Northern America. I think he has some of the best images I have seen of some of these places.
The next question was about his inspiration.
Many things inspire me so this is a difficult one isolate. If I had to sum it up though – its probably beauty. And by that I mean the raw beauty that exists almost everywhere – in nature, in delightful people, in urban landscapes, in details. I love how images can reveal a story in a momentary exposure too. The work by Vivian Maier, Fred Herzog and William Eggleston spring to mind here in this respect.
Where else? Well, on a day-to-day basis it has to be the work of my photographer peers and bloggers. I constantly look at the wonderful images on their blogs or on other sites like 500px and even Pinterest. Sometimes I can feel a bit disheartened because I realise that I’ve still got so much to learn and, sometimes – occasionally – it makes me question my ability. I think its good to remind yourself though that sites like Pinterest tend to aggregate and cluster re-pins of the most excellent work of many people. Obviously, more average photo’s tend not to get shared as much and its this awareness that reminds me that we’re not all great, all of the time :-)
The last question I asked was about how he worked, or if there was anything special.
This question reminded me of a quote I read once which went something like this – “the only way to make remarkable photo’s is to put yourself in remarkable places.” This line has stayed with me for a long time and prompts me to push myself to be more thoughtful and intentional or just to physically position my body so I can compose stronger pictures. I also think its a good excuse to travel more too ;-)
In other respects, I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about the way I work. If anything, it probably depends a lot about what the job brief is. For instance, if its a paid shoot, I tend to do a lot of prep work and think a great deal about what I need to do. I try to pre-visualise certain images and try my best to achieve these. I already know I’ll capture a lot of in-between moments that will be good, but its the pre-visualised ones that give me the greatest satisfaction – particularly when they work out.
For my personal stuff, I don’t really have any special methods. I find landscape and vista photography pretty straight forward (for my level at least). I sometimes feel I trivialise my landscape photography work because I’m just taking a photo of what nature has revealed in front of me. Having said that though, I can be quite intentional in creating certain landscape images now simply because I know how to do it.
Its funny really. I’m most interested in photographing people – truth be told, I’d love to be a portrait photographer. This is something I’m working slowly towards, but again, there’s just so much to learn – least of which is the technical side. Until then, I’ll continue practicing on whatever it is that’s in front of me.
It is nice to see some photos from my neck of the woods too. I have been down this part of the coast many times, but not for many years, though I am hoping to get down there again at the end of next month with one of my blogging friends who I have never met.
Distan also gave me a list of what gear he uses.
I’m still on the old Canon 7D.Other gear includes:
EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM, EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM, EFS 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM, EF 50mm f1.4 USM, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, Numerous bags from both Lowepro (5) and Crumpler (1)Black Rapid camera strap. Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod with Manfrotto ball heads (one small one for travel, the other for when I’m shooting locally because its heavy). Canon speedlites 580EXII and the 430 EXII. Various filters for landscape work. Plus the usual odds and sods of light modifiers, cleaning gear, stands and clamps that we all amass.
I am going to put a heap of images into a gallery now, but I really hope you will take trip over to Distan Bach Photography.