For this month’s featured photographer we have the man behind Brisbane’s Least Wanted campaign, and many other memorable advertising campaigns. Damien Bredberg is one of Australia’s most sought after photographers. His work has won awards internationally & today we get to know him a little bit better.
Introducing Damien Bredberg:
Are there any photographers out there who have help curbed your career path or influenced your thinking?
There were two very influential photographers early in my career, both wedding photographers. Steve Jones & Bernard Pearson. Each of these photographers had a unique skill set, but more importantly, saw something in me and guided me all the way through college and into my commercial years.
What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to photographer for a living?
Like most, I started where the barrier entry was the lowest; in weddings and portraits.
For the first 12 months, I assisted for free every weekend, craving and learning more from every wedding. Having stuck through this, Steve Jones eventually gave me the opportunity to work within his studio; framing, scanning, printing and photographing the odd job here and there.
It was enough to cover my student life, but in no way was it going to sustain a career as a photographer. So I soon followed my passion for advertising and some years later categorised myself as a commercial photographer.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started in the photographic industry?
More business knowledge.
Its less about being a photographer and more about being a smart and savvy business operator.
What format were shooting when you started out?
The first third of my career was using negative, then switching to transparencies in the commercial world, and later purchasing a Canon 10D, which was my first digital camera…6mp I think.
Do you take photos with your phone?
Always! Inspiration is everywhere and the moment you stop looking and capturing is the time you know you need to move on.
How do you feel when you see someone with a selfie stick?
It disgusts me.
Some time ago I posted a pic and wrote a comment about all these people taking selfies. Seemed to upset many, but it just proved how narcissistic our society is becoming.
We understand you were there, so why do you need to make it about yourself and take up most of the frame?
What motivates you to keep taking pictures?
I won’t lie…money, bills, lifestyle & career are my key motivators.
I need to remember firstly and foremost, that I’m running a business, not a hobby. So my priorities and motivations are very different.
Do you have a favourite among your photographs? Which one? Why?
It would have to be the gangster fight scene, and for two reasons.
Firstly, it has a great storytelling and depth to the image. Secondly, it was extremely challenging as each character was shot individually in studio and then placed into the scene, so lighting, perspectives and scale were all very important in making it look real.
What do you think makes a good photograph?
Story telling. It must have depth, emotion and a story.
Have you ever had a really unexpected result from a project or image? What happened?
The image that has done me wonders internationally is my “scooter man” image of my father nude sitting on a Vespa motorcycle. It’s been printed on many covers around the world, and 12 years on its still being printed and used on billboards around the world.
How important is Photoshop in your final images? How long would you spend in post-production on one image?
It’s important, but not necessary. Too many images these days are over photoshoped and look too unrealistic. I used to Photoshop 2 hours for every 1 behind the camera, now its 25% of that.
For every hour I spend only 30 minutes on Photoshop, and for two reasons. Clients are not paying what they used to, and secondly I want them to look more realistic and not overdone.
What has been your most memorable assignment/client and why?
Geeez…this is never an easy one as they all vary and are significant for different reasons.
But if I had to, and only by a teeny amount, it would the burlesque style shoot I did for the Canon 5dsr Launch. It was special because it was directed, shot and retouched in front of a live audience of nearly 100 people.
Would you ever let a friend borrow your gear?
Always. Friends helped me when I was starting out, so it’s now my turn to give back.
What advice to you have for the budding young photographers out there?
Start where you want to end up. No good starting your career in a city and then wishing you could work somewhere else in 5 years’ time. Do what it takes to start your career where you want to live and be for the rest of your working life.
If you could photograph anything or anyone or anywhere tomorrow, what would the image be?
I’d love to shoot a portrait series photographing remote tribes in Africa
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