HomeBlog michaels Interview Sessions: Charlie Payne
michaels Interview Sessions: Charlie Payne
michaels ‘Friday Interview Sessions’ PART 4 - Charlie Payne: Commercial Photographer
Welcome to Week 4 in the michaels Interview Sessions! Today we talk to another Melbourne-based Photographer, Charlie Payne. Charlie is dedicated to his passion as he splits his time between working in Commercial photography shooting architecture, still life and fashion, and exploring his personal creative expression through portraiture, landscape and luminious photographic work. Have no doubt we will be seeing much more from this young and talented up-and-coming photographer.
Hi Charlie, thanks for taking the time for a quick interview with me. I see you recently exhibited at ‘The Grotto’ in South Yarra, and noticed more than a few red dots on the walls – I take it the exhibit was well received. Tell us a little about it.
Hey Marc, my pleasure. Yeah, I had my first exhibition along with my friend, painter, Nick Modrzewski in August. Nick and I had been talking about having a collective show together, so at the beginning of the year we started organising one. I suppose we had a vision and just stuck to it. It took a lot of work to get it all together but we wanted to exhibit in our ‘own’ space so we found one and named it the Grotto; no idea why, and we wanted to run it our own way. We got some very much appreciated support from a number of people and Little Creatures certainly helped us a lot with making the opening an enjoyable experience.
Somehow we had literally hundreds of people there for our opening night, which was a shock more than anything, but a good one at that. All in all Nick and I both did quite well for our first ‘solo’ exhibition, Nick sold pretty much everything and I did alright for myself too.
So you’re well on your way to becoming an established, professional, commercial and fashion photographer - But where and when did it all begin? What sparked your interest in photography?
Still a long way to go yet. I have always had an interest in photography and liked using my dad’s cameras when I was younger but never really intended on becoming a photographer until I had to choose something to do. Photography is something that agrees with me in different ways. I like the way it allows you to capture time and do what you want with that moment. I also like how quick it can be, as an art, in that you can have an idea and create something in very little time, if you want to; but for that matter it can also take a very long time too I guess, to evolve from idea to image, but that is just another plus.
How did you develop your skills as a photographer? Have you had much in the way of formal training or are you largely self-taught?
I went to photography school, that is the best way to learn how to use a camera and lights, but I think it is up to the individual to learn how to actually take a photograph. You have to develop your eye and learn to use your tools just by using them, taking something from everything you do. Some of the biggest lessons come from the photos you take that are crap, you just have to be able to realise that they are. It is also important to keep evolving your photographic eye, to look at other photographers and creative areas and even work with other photographers. Skills come with experience and I still have a lot to learn.
I'm sure you have had extensive interaction with other photographers over the years - what is the best advice you have received from another artist in the industry?
I think the best thing I have been told is to be open minded as far as what I choose to photograph and not to label myself as one particular type of photographer; I think that is important. You learn from all different photographic genres and can apply what is learnt across the board.
It may be hard to put into a short response but I'm interested to know what you love the most about your job?
It rarely feels like a job, that’s certainly a big benefit. I think I like the ability to be creative and (sometimes) get paid for it.
It's always fascinating to look into the bag of the artists and see their tools - what's in your kit? What is your equipment and software of choice for your workflow?
I use Canon 35mm digital gear. I prefer the menu interface and usability. I have a number of different 35mm film cameras and my favourite piece of equipment is my medium format film camera, a Mamiya RZ67 with either Kodak Portra 400NC or T Max 400. As for software, I use CS5 with Bridge for file handling and Camera Raw for all pre-photoshop retouching.
Is there anything missing from your kit? Perhaps a 'hero' piece of photographic equipment your are yet to obtain?
A digi back for my RZ would be very nice, or a 5Dmark II, that is a very nice camera, and far more obtainable.
Having asked what great advice was once imparted to you, what advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a professional photographer? What does it take to be a fantastic photographer?
I’m not sure. When I meet a fantastic photographer I will be sure to ask them this same question!
... A very modest response Charlie. Alright, as far as your style is concerned, what matters most – techinique vs creative, if you wouldn't weighing in.
The technique is as important as the creativity. The important part of being a photographer is being able to apply both to every image. Some people might be fantastically creative but won’t know their head from their ass when it comes to a camera; whilst on the other hand, someone might know everything there is to know about photographic technique but have the creative ability of a fridge.
So they are complimentary; it is more about knowing what technique is appropriate for an intended creative outcome. This is where the time and experimenting / learning come in.
We know you have a website under your name at www.charlespaynephotography.com - are there any other sites you participate in, ie. Facebook, Flickr and so on… where else can we find you on-line?
Thanks for the chat Charlie, we wish you all the best in your future photographic endeavours. Before you go we're going to ask you to get creative here for our last question... If you weren't a photographer – what would you be? You can take an original photo, link to an existing image or video, draw a picture, anything you like so long as its visual!
Charlie submitted this image - I think we all know what he's getting at!
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A faint background image on a printed piece or included in digital files as a security feature (such as on printed currency or checks) or to denote a copyright of an image. An identifying mark or symbol imbedded in the substrate on which the art is made, usually referring to the maker of the substrate.