Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Photography - Renee Gardiner

I have just been recently introduced to the photography of Renee Gardiner. I find her subject matter interesting and her play of light even more engaging. My favourite out of her portfolio at Red Bubble is the Station Building. She has managed to capture the essence of dusk: the red of the earth and the deep dark blue of the sky.

I managed to get her to agree to an interview. Here is Renee in her own words:

Tell us how it all began? How did you start taking such beautiful photos? What inspired it?
My interest in photography developed from an early age. I have always had the desire within me to make pictures, to paint with light. I guess the beautiful landscape we lived in, in the hills of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, helped to develop and capture my interest in landscape and nature photography. Also my dad used to tell me stories about working in a darkroom when he was in his 20s. We always planned to set up a darkroom at home; unfortunately the plan never eventuated.

Over the years my parents spent a fair amount of money on film and developing prints for me. I used to set up a studio in my bedroom or somewhere around the house and make my twin sisters dress up so that I could take their pictures. I was never very good at it and my understanding of lighting and composition was very basic but I could have easily spent the entire weekend being lost in the practice of making pictures.

Of all the photographs you have taken, which is your favourite and why? What is the story behind it?
I find that favourites change overtime as I add new images to my folio. I have learnt that you generally enjoy the pictures you make when you enjoy the moment you are in. If I go out hunting for pictures rather than simply going out to make observations while having my camera by my side then I am generally not very pleased with the results.

I went travelling through outback South Australia with my partner earlier this year. I have a few photographs from that trip that I’m happy with. I really love the image of the bird in a tree. It was taken at a place called The Breakaways about 60 km north of Coober Pedy. It is a very important place for the local Indigenous people. To me the image represents the quiet of the moment. The lighting was amazing and the setting sun bounced beautiful rays of warm light onto the weathered landscape.

Give us a quick bio (of yourself) including top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and websites you must check everyday?
I have been living in Perth for almost a year now. Prior to that I was in Melbourne for a couple of years, where I studied photography through a private college. Melbourne really inspired my creativity; it’s so full of life and cultural and history. I hope to complete my studies in Perth in the near future.

I’m a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to interests. My favourite book is the Celestine Prophecy. While it is purely fictional there are a lot of important messages in it about connecting with people and not taking things for granted. I enjoy reading well written real life travel stories such as Baby in a Backpack to Bhutan by Bunty Avieson, Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald and I love the book Shantaram, which is a true story of escaped Melbourne prisoner, David Roberts on the run in India.

I appreciate all sorts of music from classical through to Aussie Hip Hop, as long as the artist is talented and genuine I can usually enjoy it. My favourite movies include Good Will Hunting, Love Actually and The Castle. As for websites I must check everyday, well I’m pretty glued to my email at the moment. It’s a cheap and easy way to communicate with loved ones across the country.

What was your earliest memory of receiving something beautiful?
I have to say that I’m racking my brains trying to think of the earliest memory. I remember playing with a friend in the yard as a child; my friend found a four leaf clover and gave it to me. I thought that was a pretty special gift. I find that the most beautiful things come from nature. I much prefer to receive a feather that someone has found on the ground or something that someone has made than purchased items. I do appreciate beautiful artwork. Recently a good friend gave me a painting of hers just for the sake of it. It now hangs proudly above the fireplace in the lounge room.

What do you like most about photography? Why?
I love that you can get lost in the moment with photography. When you are photographing a landscape or a street festival or a specific project you are completely absorbed in the place/event/ object/ idea. At the time nothing else matters. You become very connected to your subject very easily. Through photography you are able to explore and interpret details that are not easily seen or are overlooked in the hum of everyday life.

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