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The Trent Mitchell Lowdown

Capture Magazine’s Emerging Photographer of the Year, Trent Mitchell, gives us the lowdown on his award winning images.

What’s your earliest photographic memory?
My first serious memory, putting aside the disposable camera fun, was shooting landscapes as references to my year 12 Art major work. I bought the prints in to show my art teacher and I was explaining to her that the colours in the pictures were not what I saw. She then went on to explain to me the different films have different colours, contrasts, grains, etc and you had to pick the right film for the right light and the task at hand. She explained the basic concept of films and colours in a way that sparked my creative mind. That was the catalyst for my interest in real photography.

Looking at your entries in the Capture Awards – you shoot many different styles – do you have a favourite?
I’m playing. I’m just playing with a camera, light and subject. Sometime, I may not shoot any portraiture for months as my passion and energy may be directed at capturing sport for instance. So I will concentrate on sport and may learn something new in that genre. I then get passionate about portraiture and fashion again, apply what I learnt while shooting sport and come up with a new twist somehow.

What are the essential elements for capturing a great photo?
Light, then feeling. Photography is such a powerful communicative medium and putting all obvious technicalities, concepts and artistic elements aside, the essence in any good shot is how well it communicates its message to the viewer, how it makes the viewer feel.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the photo biz?
Passion, Persistence and Patients. Don’t look at anyone’s photos. Shoot your own and learn from your own. It’s a hard thing to do but it’s the best way to develop a true style and eye.

How much of a rapport do you need with your subjects to achieve a great shot?
Generally speaking you can get good pictures of any subject without much rapport, but to get amazing shots, ones that are honest, beautiful and natural you need as much trust and rapport as possible from the subject.

You recently picked up several Capture Awards – could you give us the back-story behind one of the images?
This photo (above) was taken in Coral bay, North WA. It was late afternoon. The tide was coming in and a lot of tourists were out snorkeling trying to hand-feed these large snapper that frequent the area. There were schools of fish all around me and a lot of tourists splashing around. It was quite a unique situation and I really wanted to nail the picture.

I was shooting for around two hours and had a really good time. The technical problems that arose, were trying to keep the front of the water housing covered so it had a consistent film so that it would appear to be perfectly dry. The fish were darting around super fast. I was shooting at high shutter speed but still trying to keep the people in focus above, so you would have an idea of what was happening. It’s a great juxtaposition.

See more of Trent’s work at tmphoto.com.au

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