Behind the Lens, Craig Pevitt Illumination Photography

Comments (0) Interviews

FOCUS staff “met” Craig Pevitt when he responded to our post on Facebook about sourcing fabulous photos of the New England for the wall in our new office.

We’ve since found out that Craig can not only shoot stunning landscapes, but has a whole portfolio of work that includes portraiture, boudoir, fine art and product shots. Craig has honed his skill behind the lens both in Australia and while growing up in Hong Kong, and we’re proud to showcase his work!

Hi Craig. What brought you to the beautiful New England area – and which part of it do you call “home”?

I moved to Armidale in September 2010, transferring down from Far North Queensland, where I worked with Telstra CountryWide. It was a massive difference in both culture and climate, and whilst I’ve adjusted to the cultural differences, the New England winter has seen my jumper collection grow from one item to one cupboard full!

Where did your journey “behind the lens” begin?

I started studying photography in 1988, whilst at high school in Hong Kong. We used the “old school” 35 mm film SLRs back then and developed all our own black and white film and pictures in the school’s 20 enlarger darkroom.  

I still have my first camera and the lenses, a Yashica, and it’s still in perfect working order. And thanks to the social media phenomenon, I maintain contact with my photography teacher, Richard Abrahall, who’s currently enjoying retirement in the UK.

Growing up in Hong Kong provided some incredible experiences, both personally and photographically, from the bustling markets in Yau Ma Tei, the Meo tribes of the golden triangle in Northern Thailand, to the Sikkimese Himalayas around Mt Kanchenjunga.

Who/what have been some of the major inspirations for you to keep perfecting your photography skills?

Initially, the most influential photographer for me was Ansell Adams, one of the founders of the illustrious f/64 group. As such, much of my formative work was centred around landscapes.

More recently, the likes of Annie Liebovitz have influenced me; she captures some incredible images. I’ve also been admiring some modern Australian portrait photographers, like Michelle Lancaster in Melbourne – hugely talented and a constant inspiration!

Tell us a little about “Illumination Photography”. What are some of the services/types of shoots you specialise in?

Illumination Photography has a reasonably diverse offering, from portraits, boudoir and fine art, to commercial, product and landscape photography. I’ve found some of the popular engagements have been the children and family photos, the models in the region looking to add to their portfolio, or create content for their social media, and the sessions commissioned as gifts to partners.

I’ve recently completed a couple of shoots for a new restaurant, Maslina, in Moree and thoroughly enjoyed the still life aspect of photographing food.

This edition of FOCUS highlights some of our area’s best kept secrets, where we aim to show some of the wonderful people and places around the New England that not everyone may know about! Where are some of your absolute favourite locations to shoot around the New England – and why do you like them?

New England is a virtual treasure trove of photo locations, from the blue hole down at the Oxley Wild Rivers to expansive open fields of the Northern Highlands. The region is littered with abandoned buildings and some fantastic historic architecture. There are hidden glens and lakes teeming with wildlife. There’s not a bad place to shoot!

The kids and I enjoy walking around both Dumaresq Dam and Lake Inverell, where there is always an abundance of birdlife and thickets of vivid green sneakily hidden in the hushed, earthy tones of the eucalypt scrub. There is an intrinsic beauty in everything, and it’s that momentary epiphany that inspires a shot.

The “golden hour” is always the best time to shoot landscapes, and in New England it’s no different – especially when capturing the autumn hues.

Personalised photo hunting expeditions is something we are looking to offer in the near future.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently that you’re especially proud of?

Back in January, I was lucky enough to have news.com.au pick up one of images of the super blue blood moon and include it in their breaking news, and science and technology sections.  

Two of my more recent portrait shoots have produced some images both I and the models involved are particularly happy with. I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked with some wonderful people, three of whom are Kirrah, Miss Alexis and Tiffany – all models I’ll be working with again in the coming months.

We (Illumination’s very talented video editor, Dominique and I) have a new project underway that will be a series of photo-journalistic documentaries … so stay tuned!

Considering you’re able to organise quite a wide range of photo shoots, what skills do you find you use most – whether you’re doing detailed closeups of food, or you’re out and about taking nature shots?

Planning is the key component with 90% of shoots; there are always the spontaneous 10% that you can’t predict, but that’s a lot of fun as well. Having contingency plans and keeping an open mind will usually see the successful completion of any shoot.

But when travelling for a shoot – I pack everything! You can’t be too prepared!

When conducting a modelling shoot, the pre-planning is imperative, and a large part of that is constant communication with the model, the stylist and the hair and makeup artist (HMUA).  

As with all photography, the key elements are light and composition. We all use them in different ways to achieve different results, and it’s as relevant when you’re snapping a picture on your smart phone, as it is to setting up the tripod for a long exposure shot at night.

How much time do you spend on post production work?

Post production time can vary a lot, depending on the images and the result you want to achieve. I try to minimise post production, by bracketing when shooting. But generally, if you only tweak a few of the basics (like white balance and contrast) it should only be a couple of minutes per image.

What are your dreams/goals – where would you like to see your photographic career heading in future?

The overriding goal is to capture beautiful images. It’s a reward in itself to see the smile on a client’s face when they see their pictures.  

A more immediate goal is to teach my two amazing boys (Dax and Nate) how to compose and capture images. Digitally first, then we’ll move to the technicalities of the SLR (and the dark room).

Ultimately it is to get “THAT” shot! The image that will become your photographic legacy – a capture on which you can hang your hat (this is an ongoing quest.)

Photography is a passion and is something that will always be a part of my life.

Where can we see more of your work, or find out more about you?

I have both social media and industry specific presence. My website is a work in progress, but will hopefully be launching in the first quarter of 2019.

Facebook www.facebook.com/illuminate.capture.remember

Instagram: @illuminate.capture.remember

Web: www.photographers.com.au

If there’s anything you want to know or would like to discuss, feel free to drop me an email: illumination.photography@outlook.com

Thanks Craig.

Interview: Jo Robinson.

Pic of Craig kindly shot by his children: Dax (10) and Nate (7).

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