I had the pleasure of spending this past Wednesday with a beautiful family in Kyabram - Natalie and Marcus DiPetta and their two boys, Matthew and Tom. I first had the pleasure of meeting Natalie when she came to our EchucaPalooza event in August last year. Then, her husband, Marcus started his photographic journey and attended one of our workshops in February and then another more recently. Natalie runs a photography studio specialising in maternity and child portraiture and her work is beautiful. This was an unexpected journey for Natalie. She took over the business when its former owner moved from Kyabram for a seachange. Natalie's beautiful work can be seen at her website. She leaves me for dead when it comes to this kind of work. I am too afraid to venture where she treads. I am kinda with WC Fields when it comes to this kind of work. "Never work with children or animals" he once said and I agree. Natalie, however, not only ventures here in this dangerous ground, she excels at it.
However, of recent she has felt the need to diversify, if only to satisfy that typical and insatiable aspect of every creative person's soul. While she loves the work she does -and so do her clients - she, like every other photographer - needs to break out. I applaud this kind of thinking. My career has forced to me to learn how to photograph everything...and I am grateful. I learned from this process what I enjoy, what I don't enjoy, what I am good at and where I need work. For Natalie, its more a case of growth.
So, off I went to her country town for a day for a one-on-one workshop. Well, it was more like a one-on-two. Marcus was there also. Natalie's handsome husband not only acted as model for part of the day (something she had no objection to at all!) but he also wanted to learn some studio lighting techniques as well.
Its funny what a bit of makeup and some creative lighting can do for the soul. Natalie has asked a client and friend of hers to model for the workshop. Brooke, a lively and vivacious woman in her early 30's arrived. She has not long become a Mum, which is how she came to know Natalie. As beautiful as this is, it could be seen that Brooke was feeling the somewhat deglamourising effects of Mumdom. So, we set to work. A quick makeover, two softboxes in clamshell formation, a standing fan and some hairlight and Voila! Suddenly Brooke was back! This new Mum suddenly reclaimed herself. It was an interesting process to watch. The woman who had entered the studio was not the woman who left.
If there is one thing I have learned it is that photography - and the passion that drives it - can be a life changing pursuit. Without doubt, it alters irreversibly the lives of those who take it up. It can also change the lives of those who become its subjects. And this little setup even changed me in a way....even I was brave enough to have my portrait taken. Now that's saying something!