Sitting on a beautiful outdoor terrace in Alexandria at the back of Sun Studios, I had the opportunity to meet up with seasoned professional photographer Matthew Vasilescu, who also happens to be an aspiring film director.
In a midst of bright greenery and sunlight, we talked about his long-running immersion, passion and sacrifice that he has put into the craft of the camera.
But what are the origins of his story? Vasilescu spoke of what first drew him to the camera, “I started working with a camera and I started taking photos because I couldn’t paint or draw effectively. I had creativity in me and I was, I guess, looking for a creative outlet, [and in high school], I think my art teacher Ms Quigley had pointed out that there was a school camera around and available, and [I] just became immediately attached to it”.
When Vasilescu spoke of his approach to the camera he detailed about his aesthetic preference for keeping his images simple and capturing his effects in-camera, as opposed to relying on lengthy and exhausting post-processes, be it in still or motion images.
“For me, it’s the details of all the other little things that go to make up an image or a communication in an image, ‘cause an image is much more than [a] snapshot that people see and like on social media [in] today’s world. It’s a communication into that business, that person, that location, or that emotion of what you want people to see, feel and respond to”
With a keen eye for detail and directing people in order to capture quality images in film and photography, Vasilescu has a strong clientele and various projects of his lined up, including a series of film-ic advertisements for the youth-oriented foundation Chain Reaction, based in Mt Druitt, and a film collaboration that will follow the processes involved in making his Secret Shire project, a business in which he sells prints that capture all the hidden beauty of the Sutherland Shire.
“The reason the Secret Shire name came around was because…everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about and what it is, and it has this little warm spot in anyone’s heart…[so] I kind of grounded it in that emotional heart place”.
When recalling a discussion with his photographer friend Alex in regards to his Secret Shire film project, Vasilescu said, “…when Alex and I started talking about storyboards and what we could do in shots he’s like, oh yeah you’re a director already. You’re not the cinematographer person.”
Vasilescu continued amicably, “He’s just bought one of those fabulous wonderful drone contraptions, which you know, he’s started to play with…[so] that’s my little motion project, which we’ll probably end up doing over summer I think, at the rate we’re going.”
I asked him about what the key idea was behind the Secret Shire, to which he mentioned, apart from the emotional connection that, “the key idea has come from, I guess, in a great part, being involved in the networking groups that I’ve been involved in over the last almost two years…so I have wanted to find a way that I can sell photography as a product, rather than photography as a service.”
Coming from a photojournalist background, Vasilescu has described how the experience earlier in his career has helped shaped him into the well-rounded photographer that he is with the ability to capture promptly in a range of scenarios, to which he detailed, “Without photojournalism and starting in a photojournalistic world, I wouldn’t be an any photographer…wouldn’t be the rounded photographer that [I am].”
From one of his earliest teachings in photojournalism he recounted, “I can’t even quote who it was that said it, but I totally remember the fact that, you have to be prepared to photograph an accident and/or crime scene, local advertising…you had to be prepared to photograph the prime minister, and then also the local story of someone complaining about the footpath being put in or taken out…and you had to be not only prepared to photograph all of those things in a day. You also had to be addressed to photograph all of those things in a day as well”
When I asked him about what possible ideas he had in mind in terms of film directing he said wholeheartedly, “I think I’d probably still go back to my roots of [being a] photographer and shooting the story of a photographer, be it a documentary or a drama. Often the photographer is maybe in just [one] frame in a film and they are brushed aside…It’s never been heroed and never been documented as heroed”.
With the liveliness of discussion, I asked him about his advice that he’d give to aspiring filmmakers and photographers. He acknowledged the struggles practically anyone in the industry has to go through, such as trying not to give all of your services for free, but furthermore, he said, “It’s finding that voice, finding what it is that you want to do and staying to that, because that’s what will lead you to your break and lead you to doing what you want to do”.
This article was originally published here.
Photo credit: Charlotte Tai