- No One Sees It Like: Canon Collective Member Russell Charters
In this interview we discover how Canon Collective member Russell Charters sees the world.
First off, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a Civil Engineer working for a local government, and had a stint running my own building maintenance business.
When I was younger I was heavily involved with surf life saving and competitive swimming, then motorsport with a variety of competition events.
I was bred in New Zealand, and moved to Melbourne when I was 25. I’ve been here ever since.
I’m married with two children—I started documenting their life with a 35mm film SLR and then one of the first Kodak digital cameras. Now I tend to capture images of anything that takes my fancy, though street art, sport and travel, landscapes, seascapes would be the types of photography that I’m most into.
How did you get involved in photography?
My family always had cameras around; my uncle had a photography business in New Zealand, my sister was a photographer with a home darkroom, and my parents always seemed to take photos.
I was given Dad’s old Kodak Box Brownie at a very young age, and used it until I graduated to a Yashica Rangefinder in my teens. Once I was working, I moved onto a variety of 35mm SLR’s from a Praktica to an Olympus OM10.
Once I had children my cameras started getting more use, and once my son started playing basketball and footy, I started trying to capture some peak action shots. I stepped through a variety of super-zoom bridge cameras until settling on the Canon DSLR’s.
How do you fuel your creativity?
Light fuels my creativity. The same scene can look totally different depending on the light. Early mornings, fog, clouds and golden sunsets can all make an ordinary scene look amazing. You might not be planning any shots, but the way the light creates layers in the distance can have you pulling a camera out.
Tell us about one of the most meaningful images you’ve captured?
One image that means a lot to me is of my son on the Hooker Valley Track at Mt Cook, New Zealand. I did the track the year before and really wanted to take my son to the glacial lake at the foot of Mt Cook, so he could experience the natural beauty.
We planned a boys’ long-weekend and flew over. The weather had been bad with snowfalls and showers, but one morning we were blessed with a clear period.
There were plenty of photo opportunities with the amazing scenery, and it was good to see my son really enjoying himself and appreciating the landscape. He must have been impressed with the scenery because he took command of my camera and used it for the remainder of the trip. Since that trip he accompanied me to Uluru for the Canon Collective Festival.
Finish this sentence. The most useful piece of photography advice I’ve every received is…
Spend the money and buy it once. Too bad I got this advice too late! I can’t count how much money and how many different lenses I have bought and sold in the past. They were cheaper alternatives to L lenses. Once I had my set of L lenses covering the focal lengths I use, the spending stopped.
What are your goals this year?
There are a few spots in Australia I would like to get to and shoot some images – Mungo National Park, The Grampians and maybe The Blue Mountains. Every year I hope my photography improves from image capture to how I process the image. The Canon Collective has been a great vehicle for meeting new people, learning new techniques and being pushed outside your comfort zone.
Why did you join the Canon Collective community?
I saw it advertised online and went to the second event organised in Melbourne. It was great to shoot with a group of like-minded people. The events, the shared knowledge, and the gear you could try made it pretty easy to be involved with the Canon Collective.
What surprised you about the Canon Collective?
How approachable and knowledgeable the Canon Collective team and the Canon Masters are. They freely give their advice and knowledge whether you are a complete novice or an experienced photographer. There’s no camera or gear snobbery. I’ve met an amazing bunch of people that have now become my friends.