Part Time PSC student, Luke David has made it into the latest issue of Capture Magazine’s Top 20 Emerging, Australian Photographers, 2018 in the Travel Category! Luke is currently in his first year at PSC and is studying the 40 week Pro Photography Certificate.
We sat down with Luke to ask him what has helped contribute to his success.
Congratulations Luke! You are fairly new to photography so what inspired you to take it up?
"Thanks. What inspired me to take up photography was actually travelling. I try to go overseas every year and was taking hundreds of the usual tourist point and shoot, snap shots. I work in retail and there was a really great camera on sale a few years ago that I bought with the idea to take some “proper shots”. I went to the USA the next year and shot everything on auto. Some images worked, some didn’t, but I was getting really inspired just the same. Then before a trip to Japan, I decided “RIGHT! I am going to learn how to use this camera" So I downloaded all the info, read all the blogs and watched all the videos and when I started taking shots in Japan, I started to really love it. I put some images into a few competitions and they did well. I got really excited about creating images and wanted to learn more and more."
How do you think doing a course so far has helped you?
"I think when you are self taught, you go down a narrow branch, and shoot what you really love, whether it’s landscapes or something else, and you’ll get better at that genre, but you won’t learn much outside of that. I wanted to do a course for two main reasons: Firstly to have a group of peers that were interested in the same thing as I was and get feedback from people with different experiences. Secondly to learn about all those other things that I haven’t exposed myself to, so to broaden my understanding while making sure I know all the basic stuff."
That’s really great. Has the course delivered?
"There are some things I was very afraid of doing before I started. For example, I was afraid of pushing the ISO past a certain point, because high ISO makes noise, and everything I had read taught me that ‘noise is horrible’. I would never go above 600 ISO and I was always disappointed in my results in things like indoor action, but in the course, I was encouraged to step outside my limited thinking, because to get the shot, that’s what you sometimes have to do. Learning to make conscious decisions technically and creatively has been really great also. The tutors are really great too with their constructional feedback. They teach you the technical side and then how to control that, or when to ignore it, to produce images that are far more creative."
Tell us about your imagery.
"I have been doing a lot of landscapes, because it’s a way I can do travel photography at home. I enjoy finding a place out in the country or on the coast, and spending some time immersing myself in the surroundings and finding images. It’s kind of like a mini overseas trip.
When I go travelling overseas, I do all the touristy stuff in the middle of the day. I like to spend a few hours in the morning and evening going out and spending time in a spot that I may have found online before I left home. Although I tend to have an idea in my head about what I want, I love to walk around, look around and let the images come. Sometimes the best shots are ones that I never planned.
While I’ve been at PSC, as part of the “personal expression” element of my folio, I have been exploring digital infra-red. Seeing film infrared shots from Richard Moss really got me interested in this. Infra-red gives the series a really reduced colour palette and gives it an almost other-worldly feel. What started out as an urban landscape series has now somehow morphed into a post-apocalyptic narrative with some of my poor friends roped in as models!"
What have been your most successful images or images that you really enjoyed doing?
"My most successful images have come from trips to Hong Kong and Japan.In Japan I was still learning and experimenting, so it was about being in the right place at the right time and being ready as opposed to planning a shot. My favourite image was taken while I was in a temple in Nikko. It was in the hills with big cedar trees and it was closing time. I was walking down a damp, grey, stone path with green moss on the sides. It was dark and atmospheric and there was this shrine attendant who was walking down the path in a bright white top and a bright red dress. I knew this had the makings of an amazing image, and just as I shot, she turned back and looked behind her, so I caught her face in profile. I submitted this one to a few minor competitions and it won one of them.
In Hong Kong I wanted to shoot the landmarks, city scapes, markets and night shots. I have a series of about six of those that have been pretty successful as well. My favourite was of Montane Mansions, which is one of the last places in Hong Kong where you can get the feel of the Kowloon Walled City. Shot from the ground looking straight up, the apartments on all four sides feel so close together that they could almost be touching. It is such a different sense of personal space and close quarter living than what we are used to. The series that made it into the Capture top 10 came from this Hong Kong trip.
As far as during my studies, the images I love the most are from ones where I have really learnt to choose my exposure and expose for the shadows or highlights. One of these is a homeless guy coming out of 7/11 with a slurpy. He walked into a perfect square of sunlight, he’s illuminated in the sun against a shadowed background, with his perfect shadow against a brick wall caught in the square of sunlight.
I’ve never really concentrated on capturing people so I also really enjoyed Anzac Day where I forced myself to get up for the dawn service and spent the day shooting marchers while they were waiting to start."
Where do you want to go next with your photography?
"I would like to keep doing the course and in three or four years, start thinking about a career change, in whatever direction that will take. For the moment I just want to open myself up to the experience, learn as much as I can and be able to discuss my images with peers, taking part in that community and to see where it takes me. I want to learn all the technical skills, to soak up all the information I can. Over the course I really want to try and find a voice in my image making. I want to get exposure to all the different styles and find out what really speaks to me.
The school has really impressed me with the environment, tutors and also my peers. There is a great range of age and experience amongst the students. Everyone has made a conscious decision to come and learn, that’s a really key ingredient that makes for a great collaborative and challenging (in a good way) learning environment. Over only 6 months I have learnt so much, my images have improved and I’ve found myself creating images I never would have considered if I hadn’t taken up the course."
PSC Congratulates Luke David on his success and we look forward to seeing more of his creative captures throughout the year!
If you are considering a career change or wanting to take your passion for photography to the next level our part time courses are a perfect opportunity. Our last courses for 2018 start October 10! We often find that once you start your study here at PSC you'll want to keep going to the next level! Don't miss out!