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Capturing the moment

02 May 2016

Capturing the moment Image

By Sean Car

A yearning for creative exploration drove final year, and now award-winning Photography Studies College (PSC) student Robert Palmer, to pursue further study.

The former air force engineer admits that the technical side of photography came easily to him when he first enrolled.

He said his passion for photography originally manifested when he was 18, when a slot machine gifted him the money for his first camera.

While his work with the air force has seen him travel extensively around the world with his camera, he said his pre-existing creative ability was generally limited to “literal and logical” thinking.

“I wanted to get that motivation and that perspective on things so that, rather than actually taking a photo of something, you actually look at it in more detail and capture the moment rather than just capturing an image,” Robert said.

“Making it more interpretive and getting the right side of your brain thinking a bit more is why I came here and PSC is definitely good for that.”

Since entering the collaborative and inspiring learning environment at PSC, Robert said the experience had opened his mind to new possibilities and “forced him out of his comfort zone”.

While initially enrolling with a landscape-centric focus, he said the course had forced him to explore people more deeply and their relationship to landscape.

His talent for the art form was truly realised this year when he was awarded the Australian Institute of Professional Photography’s Gold Award for Landscape Photography for an image he captured in his hometown of Newcastle (pictured).

Robert said the black and white nature of the image, which captures a moment reflecting Newcastle’s rich maritime history, helped express emotions that colour often couldn’t.

“I love this quote that says photographs in colour take pictures of people while photographs in black and white tell pictures of the soul,” he said.

“I’ve found that I really loved light and dark and I love that sort of imagery because it’s dark and it has high contrast and it’s abstract but it also shows some of the nature of the psychology of people.”

As for his next chapter, Robert said he had dreams of opening up his own studio, exploring photo-journalism further and to even start delving into films.

He said the lessons he had learnt from PSC had taught him that conveying a message and engaging people through photography was all about understanding the medium.

“There’s always two people in an image,” he said. “There’s the person in the image and the person looking at the image and there might be no one in the image but there’s always someone behind the image.”

“The whole point is to try and get as many people as possible to relate to that image and you do by having different perspectives.”

To find our more about Robert and view more of his work visit

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