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Interview with Joel Masinsin

#1 Please introduce yourself

Hello my name is Joel Masinsin and I’m an enthusiast fine art photographer from Melbourne, Australia.

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#2 How did you get interested in photography?

I guess my interest in photography really happened in two phases and years apart to each other.

The first was in high school, after seeing another student’s black and white photographs in a school art exhibition. I thought it was pretty amazing and wanted to learn how it was made. I decided to drop a Maths subject and pick up Media studies to learn photography. I remember being terrible at taking photographs though, but I did learn and enjoyed the process of developing film and printing in the darkroom.

The second was 10 years later when a couple of friends encouraged me to take up photography again. It was when DSLRs were getting some traction in the market and the popularity of Flickr was increasing. It’s really around this time when my interest in photography really took off. Seeing beautiful images by other photographers online and being able to connect with like minded people was very motivating. It helped me quickly grasp the technical aspects of the camera and opened my eyes into exploring the creative side of photography.

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#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?

I’ve always been an avid drawer since I was young. This led me to studying Graphic and Studio arts in high school. That then transitioned to pursuing and completing a Degree in Graphic design at college. Even though I’m a self taught photographer. My transition from drawing and design to creative photography was relatively quick and easy. I guess drawing and photography have the same purpose in the end, both are just means of making an image.

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#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?

There are plenty of photographers that I admire, Catier-Bresson, Sally Mann, Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson, Murray Fredericks, to name a few. But it’s the works of Michael Kenna, Rolfe Horn, Hakan Strand and the great Ansel Adams that stood out to me and had an immediate connection with. Their black and white images really inspires me to get out there and make more photographs.

I really like Kenna, Horn and Strand’s minimalist approach at capturing landscape and seascape images. Their use of subtle grey tones and strong composition to emphasis a focal point in their photographs are enjoyable to look at.

Ansel Adams and his photographs on the other hand are bolder and his landscapes are more grand in size. His meticulous approach of getting all tonal values in his prints is something I’ve always admired. Thinking about his accomplishments and how much he has given back to photography always fills me with awe. The man was a true pioneer.

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#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?

Most of my images are taken while on family trips. So there are a lot of planning that goes into finding places that my wife and kids can enjoy too while I scout for things to photograph. Fortunately for me, the kids don’t mind spending time near the beach, even when it’s cold, because I prefer to capture the light and weather during the colder months.

When I do find something in a location that interests me. Then there are steps in my head that I go through quickly. Usually it’s pre-visualising an interpretation of the scene. Selecting which ND filters that would flatten the water, or whether to use a colour filter if contrast is needed between the clouds and the sky. Finding a strong compositions is essential and spot metering the scene will give me a workable negative once the roll of film has been developed. These are fairly quick procedures that I cycle through before exposing a frame.

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#6 Which places has been your favourite shooting sites so far and why?

Many of my images are from the shorelines of Victoria. From towns on the coastal areas west of the state, along the Great Ocean Road, to the East side around Wilsons Promontory. They all have been my favourite destinations to look for images.

The coast has always fascinated me, there’s something about hearing the sound of the waves coming in and rolling along the shores. Breathing the fresh, salty air just makes me feel relaxed and rejuvenated. The constantly changing landscape of sand, sea and sky is also another reason I keep going back to places near the water. Photographing on the same spot can give me different results every time.

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#7 What do you do in your life besides photography?

My day job is in Sales and naturally that takes most of my time during the week. On my days off, my time is divided between photography and my family. Sometimes they intertwine, specially when we go on our road trips. I get to spend time with my wife and kids and also get an opportunity to photograph places too.

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#8 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?

We are planning on heading back to Tasmania and exploring the West coast of the island. A trip to New Zealand is also in the books. In the mean time, I’m always going through negatives that I have accumulated in the last 6 years. Slowly selecting and adding images to my folio. I’m hoping, if time permits, I’ll get a chance to organise a show sometime in the near future.

Website: joelmasinsin.com

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