Sep 1, 2010

Up-close and Personal with Frank Selmo

Photography by Frank Selmo

1) If you could name one defining moment that really sparked your photography fire, what would that be?

[image by Frank Selmo]
"At the age of 10, my father handed me a camera so that I could take some photographs on a school excursion. I wish I could remember the model of the camera, all I remember is that it was a Leica. My father handed me the camera the night before the excursion and asked me to look after it...and I did! For some reason I was in love with this piece of equipment....I also loved the old leather cover it came in too.

On the school bus I was obsessed with my camera....taking photos and learning how to use much so that my friends were annoyed with me. The excursion was to an animal park and I still remember some of the photographs I took and how proud I was of them. Unfortunately I don't know where they are a box in my Mother's basement probably.One photograph was of an eagle cracking open an egg with it's beak. I have to get back to wildlife photography some day".

2) Did you study to become a photographer? If so, where and how long was the program?

"I have been studying all my life to become a photographer....yes I have completed a formal diploma in photography however this is only one piece to the puzzle.

As a child I remember watching people. My parents would ask me to not stare, but I was simply observing human this point in my life I did not know that I would eventually become a photographer and that this observation skill I had refined would come in handy. I believe a good photographer is someone that has the ability to see beyond what the average person sees. A good photographer will anticipate a moment and has the ability to technically capture it. Having taught photography in the TAFE system in Australia, I have come to realize that not everyone has this see all the detail in a scene, to read people and their personality and not just see it as a subject matter. Every scene has a story.... portrait, landscape, architecture and even still life....there's a story in each of these. What I have been learning to do is to tell that story through one image.

I have also trained as a videographer having completed several film making courses....yes I aspired to be a blockbuster movie producer/director, haven't we The courses I completed were with independent film makers that were teaching in order to raise funds to continue their own film making careers.

On top of all that I have trained in graphic design and art. Most of this was on the job with artists, graphic artists and creative mural painters and signwriters....I learned a lot about layout, composition, color etc.

I think the most important thing I've learned, is how to relate to people. 90% of my work is capturing portraits, and that means I must like people and if not then I should!....know how to relax them, entertain them and have fun with them. This is the key to good portrait photography...and this is a skill that you work on all your life....learning to relate and communicate in a way that will give you the greatest results in your photographs. I have developed this skill through social interaction, teaching photography and delivering other motivational courses, but mostly on the job photographing people at weddings. Spend time with children and they will teach you many things that cannot be learned in a classroom".

3) Did anyone, in particular, influence you to become a photographer or influence your work as one?

[image by Frank Selmo]
"I am consistently following other photographers and their careers. I think all photographers can learn from those who have gone before them. Why not learn from their experience? I have recently been impressed with the work of Susan Strippling".

4) In your opinion, what makes a great photograph?

[image by Frank Selmo]
"A great photograph is an image that holds your attention. There are millions if not billions of photographs taken everyday, and the one that tells a story will be the one that makes an impact".

5) Do you have a favorite photograph of all time? (either one of yours or another),,, if so, which one and why?

"I love world war 2 photographs the most. The images from that period capture the essence of the turmoil, hardship, suffering and triumphs. The black and white textures cannot be reproduced even with the most sophisticated technology today. Authentic brilliance in my opinion... Just try it, google war 2".

6) What do you feel are the pros and cons of being a photographer?

[image by Frank Selmo]
"Pros... I love cameras, people, taking photos and editing.
Cons...Photographers work harder and longer hours than people would imagine....oh and the occasional bridezilla!"

7) If you had to classify yourself as a specific kind of photographer, what would that be and why?

"Portrait Photography...specializing in weddings".

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