The following is the first of a series of posts in which AIPP photographers and videographers reflect on their creative journey, their inspirations, and the power of the image. In this first entry, Steve Scalone shares what drew him to taking photos, how and where he finds creative inspiration, and his beliefs on photography’s enduring power.
What are your first memories of wanting to be a photographer?
My attraction to imaging taking took off after my father purchased a huge JVC Video recorder when I was around 8. It was groundbreaking tech at the time and allowed me to start playing around with light, composition and storytelling. A couple of years later, my father gave me his Paxette 1952 rangefinder camera which he bought many years before. He could never quite get it to work effectively, but thankfully I could get an image or two out of it. This little camera lead me down the pathway of setting up a black/white darkroom in my bedroom which I adored at the time and a supply of ILFORD paper and chemicals to keep me creative. At first I was taking images around the backyard, but then ventured into dragging the shutter and multi-exposures. At around age 12 I started to think that this could be something I could do for a lifelong career.
What motivates or inspires your photography?
It depends on the type of work I’m involved in at the time. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a part of different photographic industries over the years, such as commercial labs, the wedding industry and commercial architecture photography. Visual communication and the process of sharing my point of view motivates my street and travel photography nowadays, however, when I was shooting weddings, I was totally committed into helping the couple bring out their own story, their own point of view through my images. To me, the process of being a part of another family’s day was quite fulfulling, especially delving deeper into finding out who they were. As a result, they ended up loving their images more which gave me the satisfaction and further motivation to do the same for others.
How do you maintain this motivation / inspiration / creative impulse?
I always try to expand my comfort zone in my own work, system processes and ideas. This could take the form of learning a new technique, photographing something completely new with little preparation or by delving deeper into fine-tuning a post production technique that could save time and make me more productive. I see a lot of inspiration around me in ordinary life. Walking through simple street scenes, seeing the colour and the shape, all form part of that creative process. I enjoy the spontaneity of looking for images in the environments that are presented in front of me.
Is there a division or interrelation between your personal photography and your photographic business?
Absolutely. When working with clients, I’m very conscious that they have employed me to help better communicate what THEY are all about. Of course I add my own personal style and techniques, but it is always for their end result, never mine. With my own personal street and travel photography, the most freeing aspect of it all is that there is no brief to follow; the creative process ends up being much more fluid and organic. In recent years, my clients have really responded to my personal work so the mix is becoming more uniform. It sets the stage for some really creative work.
Can photography change the world and the lives of others?
Photography is such a rich and diverse medium and is an extremely efficient way of communicating ideas and emotions with one another. Just ask yourself what has been the most the powerful photograph you have ever seen and not only will you remember it, you will also remember the emotions that are attached to it, and feel those emotions instantly reconnecting you to that image. It’s very powerful.
Is there an image that has affected or changed you in a profound way?
There have been many images that have affected me emotionally, usually photojournalistic images of war torn countries and inhumane acts. Personally though, my “White” series of images changed the way I started to look at my own photographic style and led me down the path I’m now on today.
Australian based commercial and fine art photographer Steve Scalone perfectly captures scenes that resonate the ‘decisive moment’. The use of delicate tones, refined composition and a precise depth draw the viewer into his images, provoking curiosity about the scenes and the people in them.
Steve embarked on a professional career in a series of photographic commercial labs. He witnessed the beginnings of the digital camera revolution and embraced the change. In the years since, Steve pursued the photographic form in both his artistic and commercial practices. Along the way he’s acquired numerous Australian and International awards for photography and book production. His talent on the ground for inspiring fellow professional photographers and nurturing his peers through education, as well as his continuing public advocacy for the arts, have led to him being honoured with the title of an ILFORD Master.