Everyone takes photos these days, with ever-present digital smartphone cameras allowing anyone to snap a picture wherever they may be. Yet, there’s still something to be said for the sentimental power and amazing feeling of having a physical printed photograph. We spoke to Brenton Spiteri, owner of the remarkable and thriving photography business, The Wedding and Portrait Studio in Caroline Springs.
The Power of Photography
As much as it’s known that a good camera is an integral part of good photography, but that’s not all there is to photography. “Just like any tool, having a calculator doesn’t make you an accountant; having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer”.
Brenton is passionate about the art of photography, which he has been studying since high school. “I was asked to photograph a wedding when I was in Year 12, and from there on, I was hooked.” Brenton enjoys the intimacy and precision of physical photographs, and emphasizes how crucial it is that a photograph captures a moment that allows a reader a link to an exact moment in time, over and over – forever. Capturing important moments with such fluidity and precision is the goal of every photographer. “A good photo must be immersed in a specific memory… as though it is frozen in time. It should evoke feelings and hold emotional resonance.”
There’s something about having a physical photo to hold – rather than a simple digital file that could corrupt or be overridden in an instant. Sure, a popular image on social media like Instagram might get likes, but you can’t put Instagram in a photo album. It’s the tangibility of a physical keepsake that makes it unique. An image on social media can be tweaked, filtered and edited until it barely resembles the original image.
We live in a digital age where we rely heavily on keeping our most treasured moments on our smart phones and on social media platforms which only promise a life span until the phone is broken stolen or formatted, or social media platform being removed from the internet and gone forever. As Brenton’s saying goes, “if it’s not printed, it’s not forever”.
People and Pictures
Anything can be the subject of a photograph – from nature, to urban settings, to the interiors of buildings, but the image of a human being within a photograph seems to afford it a certain level of attachment.
Brenton tells the story of one client who threw out a wedding album after a marriage separation only to later feel heartbroken at being unable to quickly access photographs of her mother to use as legacy after a her mothers sudden passing. Luckily, Brenton had copies of the wedding in archive.
Brenton also described the incredibly touching story of one of his clients who wished to be captured with her family before she passed away. Annette loved and trusted the studio, and connected to have the studio capture the true essence and relationships with her family. All this while knowing she could never see the photographs, Brenton was able to describe the story within each photograph and what they meant to him while also ensuring that Annette’s legacy would be captured for her family long after she was gone.
Brenton has seen children become young adults, witnessed marriages and captured those families’ welcome newborns. On average, his clients return to the studio once every 15 months, with some having frequented the studio multiple times over the 14 years, since it was founded. True and heartfelt relationships are formed between the studio team and their clients. As famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt said, “it is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Why Analog Isn’t Dead Yet
Like many older inventions, analog photography has arguably been swallowed by the digital age, with fewer young people seemingly interested in physical photographs. Perhaps the real story is slightly more complicated though. Old things don’t die out simply because technology has gotten better, in fact, the pure images produced by old cameras are often favoured by photography connoisseurs. Recently, instant cameras, or Polaroid, have swung unexpectedly back into fashion, doubtlessly propelled by a new generation seeking a nostalgic experience.
Old media and technology is often a point of historical interest for hobbyists, as well as being an interesting point of exploration for young people who never knew such technologies previously. Cassette tapes, vinyl and retro fashion have all made fresh comebacks, and there’s no reason to assume analog photography isn’t among them.
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