Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interview: Sanele Chadwick

Sanele Chadwick is a 22-year-old photographer who lives in Christchurch, and recently won the Ronald D Woolf Youth Award from the Photographic Society of New Zealand. I saw his work when he was briefly interviewed on TVNZ's Breakfast show, and contacted him through his website. Sanele was happy to answer some questions, which you can find below along with some examples of his beautiful work. Sanele got his first dSLR camera as recently as April 2009, and is entirely self-taught.

Kiss Me Deadly - Winner of the 2011 Ronald D Woolf Youth Award
Where is 'home'?
Wellington, Paraparaumu.

Where do you think your interest in photography came from?
I've always considered myself to be a visual learner. I was the student in class who didn't get much value from teachers spinning a yarn, rather than using visuals to explain and idea or concept.

What equipment do you currently use to take your photographs?
I shoot everything on digital, although I do have an old school Ricoh GX 35mm film camera lying around somewhere. I use a Nikon D90 with a couple of primes (50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8) and a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8. I recently sold my 80-200mm 2.8 lens as I found I just wasn't using it as much as I had hoped. I'm currently eyeing up a second Nikon body. A D700 hopefully (fingers crossed). I also use a Canon system too (which belongs to a friend of mine). Canon 5D Mark II + 50mm 1.2 II L. I've found it absoloutly essential to shoot with a second body at weddings as I solo shoot. I've also got an SB-900 speedlight, and a couple of wirless triggers and other pieces of lighting gear; softboxes, umbrellas, reflectors etc.

What software do you use to edit your photographs?
I shoot everything in RAW then use Adobe Camera Raw to edit white balance, exposure, contrast etc. If I find myself needing to do any heavy pixel manipulation I'll chuck the image into Photoshop CS5. I've had no formal training for photography, and have taught myself. There's a plethora of free and useful information online, and if you have enough time and patience, you can learn a lot.


Do you prefer shooting with film or digital?
I don't think anything quite beats the look of a medium format camera. Although, as I don't have one, I do prefer digital for most of my wedding work. It's faster and makes the wedding day a lot easier to manage. I do still appreciate the use of film, and in certain situations it does provide a different look to that of digital.

Would you like photography to become your career?
I'm a loose unit. I'm a huge fan of community projects. Telling stories that the rest of the world may not know about. The stories that have always grabbed my attention are the ones I've never heard of before, or are visually stunning. If possible, I'd love to incorporate all of these elements into a career. Creating a documentary with video and stills that tells a story about an issue or event that the rest of the world knows nothing about sounds exciting!


Who are your favourite photographers and artists?
My passion for photography began with my passion for film. So the artists I consider my favourite are filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Traffaut, Dario Argento, to more contemporary filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino etc. I draw a lot of inspiration for my images from my favourite films.

Do you find it easier to shoot with strangers, or people you are familiar with?
I like to get to know all my subjects before I press the shutter. Even if I've just met them, I'll always make the effort beforehand to make some form of connection. I'd feel uncomfortable if I ripped out a camera from my bag and planted it in front of someones face without getting to know the 'real' them. I think people skills is one of the most important skills to have as a successful photographer.

Is there a person or location you would love to photograph?
There isn't really a specific person I'd love to photograph. If anything, it'd be someone, or a group, that is doing something positive in the world and they aren't getting any recognition. Location wise - just give me more lights, haha. I'd one day love to get my hands on some Profoto lights with a battery pack so I can pretty much shoot anywhere, anytime.

How many photos would you say you take during a shoot, before finding "the right one"?
I don't like taking a tonne of photos where by the end of the day you're finding you've shot video instead of photos. For the last wedding I shot I took 700 photos. I reviewed them when I got home and found I had more than enough photos. I used to shoot a lot more, maybe 1200, but I found that I was deleting a lot of duplicates. I guess you get better as you age in photography - like a fine wine. You learn to pick your shots.


How would you describe your photography style?
Crisp, clear, and timeless. I don't like photos that people will look at in 20 years time and say "oh, that photo was taken in 2011". I like to think that my photos are timeless and classic with plenty of 'rewatch' value.

What would you like to be photographing in five years?
Weddings, and personal work. I'm really keen on the idea of documenting and challenging stereotypes of people and communities living in different areas of New Zealand. I know there's a lot of negative stereotype about a town called Porirua, and I'm keen to change that. I've got family there, and friends, all of who are smart, funny, and lovely people. It's about making a positive change.

Sanele Chadwick website.
Sanele Chadwick Facebook page.
Sanele Chadwick Flickr.

7 comments:

Vintage Seen said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

hey great photos, they are timeless for sure and so crisp. what a very talented young man! more interviews please!

Krystal said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

that was so interesting to read and it's really impressive that he was self taught....I'm thinking i need to take my new cam out more!

Sanele Chadwick said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for your kind words everyone, and thanks must go to Alice for doing the interview.

Marthaamay O_o said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

"How would you describe your photography style?
Crip, clear, and timeless. I don't like photos that people will look at in 20 years time and say "oh, that photo was taken in 2011". I like to think that my photos are timeless and classic with plenty of 'rewatch' value."

Food for thought, thank you.

Sanele Chadwick said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for your comment Marthaamay. I've just noticed a typo too. As you probably already know it should read "crisp, clear, and timeless".

Alice said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oops, amended!

Marthaamay O_o said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I was thinking so hard about the words and thoughts I never noticed any typo!

Creative people can afford to spell words rong. [sic]