Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A Picture of Passion and Ethos

Conversations fall in to various categories.

Some are educational for one or both parties. Others are fun, whimsical, opinionated or inspirational.

On a rare occasion, a conversation includes all the above, and then some.

Today I had such a conversation and it was with someone I feel I know well and have known for a long time. However, we really don't know each other that well at all.  

It was our first conversation in about 2 years however there was no re-capping  of the last 2 years; this didn’t seem necessary.

My conversation partner is two years my junior. He withdrew from the structure of employer/employee work relationships a little over two years and is therefore two years further down this path compared to me.

Alberto was my conversation partner. He is a professional photographer, having returned to his passion some 15 years after first establishing (then closing) a studio in Adelaide before settling in Brisbane after a stint as a diving instructor in Cairns.

Alberto was introduced to me about 9 years ago by his partner who I had met through the Hamilton Wheelers Cycling Club when we raced against each other in the same grade. She always finished ahead of me.

When first we met, he was building a reputation in masters age group bike racing, later taking out  the King of the Mountain title in the Grafton to Inverell Road Race. He doesn’t ride any longer. In his work life, he was 3 years in to a planned one year (gap year) stint as a baggage handler for Virgin.

As well as returning to his photography passion, he has also rediscovered his love of the ocean and surfing, a love first honed in his teenage years.

Much of his photography involves spending long hours in the Ocean, no matter what the temperature. He also produces some superb portraiture, still life and non ocean related scenery. He has an eye for the natural and for nature.

I know of some of his work through his Website and Instagram account. He also exhibits when invited and frequents the South East Queensland weekend market circuit. I first wrote about him two years ago when I visited his exhibition at Raw in Brisbane.

Alberto works to a client brief and I asked if there are any assignments he would not accept. He said he has given this a great deal of thought and fortunately, has not yet been challenged to consider this. He suggested it would depend upon the intent of the brief and the story his photographs would be used to illustrate and not just the subject matter being photographed.

I was more interested however to hear what drives his work that is not based on a client brief. For example, is he thinking about what he might be able to sell, or is he photographing what he would like to buy?

He did not hesitate in answering his work assumes he is his own customer.  

We discussed the cold hard commercial impact of always creating content, be it photographs or written material for the market versus producing content we like, while effectively "waiting to be discovered".

We landed on the side of idealism meaning that at least for the time being, we are prepared to be patient and will "wait to be discovered".

We also discussed matters Social Media and our attempts to discover the secrets of promotion via the various mediums; what words to use, what not to use and how to “boost” exposure. We are  still very much in the infant stages of our learning.

Alberto granted me permission to use his images in this article. I have decided not to as I cannot select from the many beautiful and many thought provoking photos he generously placed at my  disposal.

Instead, I will simply provide a link to his Website and Instagram account.

More than anything, I was inspired by our conversation and by Alberto’s love of his art and his passion and belief in his chosen path. I was inspired by his determination to continue being true to his own ethos and doing so during those periods of fluctuating income and sparseness of sales.  

Alberto's is both a lesson and a motivation.

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