September 28th, 2023Artists of the Central Highlands
With Eve Lamb
Renown for his photographic landscape studies and creation of gaze-grabbing images in the commercial realm, acclaimed Hepburn based photographer David Rosendale enjoys an ongoing love-affair with light and its transformative role in image-making. He currently has an exhibition taking place at Eastern Peake Winery Cellar Door, Coghills Creek as part of the wider Ballarat Foto Biennale happening now through to October 22.
Eve: Hi Dave. I’ll start by asking you how you initially found your way to becoming a pro photographer?
Dave: The first connection was in primary school in Melbourne. My parents had a bookshelf completely devoted to National Geographic magazines. I would sift through the photo essays and current affairs. I remember being amazed by the photography of the Volcano eruption of Mt St Helens and the Challenger Space shuttle in the early ‘80s. Capturing these epic moments in time. There were always incredible photographs and there were always these brilliant advertising campaigns by Canon, Nikon and Minolta in Nat Geo. I became fascinated by the potential of the camera and the medium itself. To be able to capture a moment. Fortuitously, opposite my primary school was a second-hand camera store, and in grade six I purchased my first camera, I think to take photos of all my mates as we were graduating and moving on. That summer holidays I photographed everything, and I think the first connection to the landscape was made there, spending time taking photos in Rye back beach on a family holiday. I chose art, studio art, and focused on photography in VCE at high school among the other core studies. I went straight to RMIT out of high school and did a BA in Commercial Photography and trained in film photography. It was three years for the BA. By the third I was already working as a photographer’s assistant. I worked for many great Australian photographers. This was film days… A different era. I was an assistant for five years, and it kind of simply occurred, when clients started asking if you can shoot certain jobs. You had the confidence to say yes.
Eve: Have you ever worked in any other areas besides photography?
Dave: No, I have worked in photography all my professional life, since my final years at RMIT as an assistant, then a professional. But before that I did the usual eclectic round of jobs to get by as a teen. I lied about my age and started working at about 12, first in a chemist, then a supermarket, then washed cars. Then a colour photo printer in a 60min photo lab, eventually dropping everything to be a photographic assistant. Then photographer.
Eve: How have you gone about developing your photographic abilities?
Dave: Learning doesn’t end. It is continuous. Every job I have, there is something random and unique I have to become proficient with, to adequately deliver a result. I constantly study lighting, how images in popular culture are made, and absorb visual media around me. I undertake workshops, on line webinars and the like. Attend talks.
Eve: What is your current camera, and other photographic go-to gear, of choice? The equipment you always have with you and wouldn’t be without?
Dave: I have had many camera systems over the years, Canon, Mamiya, Hasselblad, small, medium and large format film cameras. There is no one perfect tool. With the onset of digital I am currently using a Fujifilm camera… “Waiting for the light”, the one thing I can’t do without is my Gitzo Tripod. That, coffee and some kind of ski jacket and gloves cause its generally freezing where I shoot!
Eve: You are very well known for your superb landscape work. What is it about landscape that feeds your photographic soul so to speak?
Dave: Being in nature, hiking pre-sunrise in the dark and the freezing cold, and experiencing how the sun eventually rises and gives warmth, gives shape and dimension and life to everything. This is what I am connected to. I was always drawn to the light. The light is the mystery. It is responsible for all life in a literal sense, but gives meaning and purpose and context to all things. Trying to capture random events of light, the sun rising over a snow covered moonscape of Kosciuszko national park in winter (for example) are the fragments of time I seek to capture…
Eve: Are there any other focal subjects that particularly inspire you?
Dave: I love all aspects of photography, every situation requires something new. Though there are many sub contexts of photography, what I particularly love is light. Capturing light. Light in the landscape. Lighting an interior of a room, lighting a product for advertising. Lighting a face. Portraiture has always been a particular love as well… I also have a great love of still life and product photography. I specialised in beverage photography for years…
Eve: Where do you work? Travel? Although you live in Hepburn I understand you also have a Melbourne studio as well?
Dave: I still keep a studio in North Melbourne. This is perfect for all my commercial work, portraiture, products etc. Being on the west of the city, it is perfect to travel to from Hepburn. As most commercial work is now digital, I can work anywhere otherwise, on a lap top or at home. I constantly look for new locations locally in the goldfields, and travel to the alpine regions of Vic and NSW every year. I also have an on going project in Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Rd.
Eve: What are the greatest rewards you derive through your work Dave?
Dave: Variety. Always learning something new. Opportunities to introduce you to interesting people and places. My career has connected me with notable Australians, athletes, actors, prime ministers,has taken me across Australia and the globe. Whilst all these opportunities have been incredibly rewarding, seeing your final artwork on a wall, or your work published, is an incredible reward. Having your work connected to a worthy cause is also most rewarding.