Pushing the limits

By Jacklyn Yeong

For Luke David, his passion for photography started when he first purchased a camera for a trip to Japan.

It took a lot of experimenting, practising and preparing to figure out how to us the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.

“When I first had the DSLR it was always on auto and I was amazed just with how far I could zoom it in,” he said. “Then I tried to teach myself how to do all that aperture and shutter priority stuff and then slowly learn how to go into manual and what ISO was and read as many materials to trial and practice with them until it became natural.”

Submitting and winning several competitions with his travel shots gave a green light to Luke to continue pursuing photography. The affirmation inspired him to continue his “passion projects” during his travels.

Incorporating photography into his love for exploring new places also allowed Luke to kill two birds with one stone.

“Whether it’s overseas or going to new parts of country Victoria, I like to travel and discover somewhere new,” he said. “I do my research and kind of work out what I want to photograph and work out when the best time of the day is and, when I get there, I like to discover the place, the people and landscape.”

His ongoing challenge was to develop a habit of being camera-ready at all times to capture the right moment.

“It is important to be able to grasp the right place at the right time, like the Miko (shrine maiden) taken during closing time at a temple in Nikko,” he said. “She happened to turn back just as I took this shot, if I wasn’t camera-ready then I would have lost the moment.”

Attending Photography Studies College (PSC) part-time has challenged Luke to go beyond his interests, which he found to be an important attribute in becoming a good photographer.

“We’ve done a lot of things like portrait shots which I haven’t really done before and also still life and flash photography,” he said. “So, I signed up with PSC because I was getting really specialised in a certain area and I want to learn everything that I didn’t know.”

He was able to enhance his photography skills through receiving words of encouragement and constructive feedback from his experienced tutors and peers.

For his portfolio last year, Luke converted one of his cameras to pick up reflected infrared light so that it displayed effects on different materials and fabrics.

“I’ve enjoyed taking those shots that gave it a sort of fantasy, sci-fi look,” he explained. “My portfolio last season is kind of telling a story or a narrative about a post-apocalyptic world that was all shot in infrared so it feels like you’re in a science fiction movie.”

Luke recently made it into Capture Mag’s Top 20 Emerging Australian Photographers 2018 with his six-piece landscape series from Hong Kong. It was also one of Luke’s personal favourite series.

One stand-out piece from the series featured Montane Mansions – a rare architecture spot with four surrounding apartment towers that looked very close together when shooting from the ground looking straight up.

Luke has started working on a portrait series for his upcoming portfolio featuring people from the LGBTIQ community in their different walks of life.

He wanted to display the “pride” theme in a series of 12 shots by capturing what they are proud of doing in their daily grinds.

“Because I’m studying at PSC, for me it’s a way to try and improve on something that I don’t normally do,” he said. “Also, it is to start a personal project that I would like to take forward.”

You can check out more of Luke’s work at www.lukedavidphotos.com/portfolio

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