Christopher Robert is a Melbourne-based photographer specialising in wedding, portrait and landscape photography – a diverse portfolio but all coming together through a theme of ‘connection’ – the connection between a photographer and his model, the connection between two people in love and the connection with the earth. Enjoy…
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started in photography.
I’m a fairly regular guy I think; I’ve always had a passion for art and design and used to do a lot of painting and airbrushing. I studied photography back in high school, during the darkroom era but I’m mostly self taught – I’m a firm believer that the best way to learn is to go out and do. I enjoy having a beer, love music, especially live music. I believe in living each day to it’s fullest and packing as much into life as possible; we only live once and you never know what’s around the corner so I try to make the most of every opportunity. Friends and family are very important to me; I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and guidance of the amazing people in my life. I’m very social, love meeting new people and discussing all things sport, love, travel, music etc. I know what its like to lose someone very close to you and I think that’s where my drive for life and photography really comes from. Photography is a release for me; both a way for me to express thoughts and feelings but also to disconnect from the world we live in sometimes and just take in little things that pass us by everyday. I started shooting landscapes mainly and then ventured into wedding photography as I love capturing emotion. I’ve recently started shooting more portrait-type work, really focusing on moody emotive images, contrasting textures and female form. My wife and I have two kids, our boy is Fletcher who has just turned two and our little girl Eva is only two weeks old. Having kids has really made me appreciate the simple things in life; we get so caught up in stuff these days that really doesn’t have a huge affect on our lives. Don’t sweat the little things and always be good to your Mother.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to learn is to go out and do.
Your portfolio is really quite diverse, covering weddings, portraits and landscapes; do you have particular reasons for shooting each of these different styles?
I know right! I have such a love for different styles and haven’t wanted to just focus on one. I shoot each one for a different purpose and it helps to keep me fresh and thinking. I also enjoy combining some of the styles together, it helps me see things from a different view which I can use in the other styles. I’ve always had a love of the land and was lucky enough to travel around Australia for two years with my folks and sister when I was eight; I’ve also been lucky enough to see a fair bit of this world and love how each place is so different.
Landscape images are my time, where I can reflect and think about life. I enjoy just being in that moment and appreciating where I am and what I have. Weddings are a whole different story; this is where I love to capture other people’s love and emotion. Telling the story of the day through the images is what’s important to me and, really, weddings are just one big party! Everyone is there to have a good time and celebrate, so who wouldn’t want to be there to capture it? I shoot weddings quite candidly, making sure that everyone is comfortable and doing what they would be doing if I was there or not; this is how I think you capture people as their true selves.
I’ve only been shooting portraits for about two years now and completely love it. I tend to shoot quite intimate, moody work, trying to focus on a connection with the viewer and getting my subjects to break down their walls and open up. I generally relate quite well to people and have made some great friends through my portrait work. This also helps me release anything that’s building up inside me without having to put it into words. I also like to think that people who view my work can relate to the images in their own way or through their own experiences.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
I always struggle with this one; I can’t pinpoint it exactly. I find inspiration in so many things, from the little details around us in our daily lives, to music, places, nature, love, emotion, stories, memories, it’s so varied.
I think I started out shooting what I like but also what I think other people would really like. As I’ve grown as a person, a dad, a husband, this has changed a lot. I now shoot for me and produce what I like and what means something to me and, if others like it and connect with it, then that’s awesome – but, if not, I’m not really fussed.
I also like to think that people who view my work can relate to the images in their own way or through their own experiences.
Which single image are you most proud of and why?
Now that’s really tough; I’m honestly not sure if I could narrow it down to just one. I shot a self-portrait that was at a time when so much was changing in my life, that’s up there in the list. I shot a series with a model called Serra down at Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula that is one of my faves; the emotion, contrast and tones in the images I love. I shot a water portrait series that are some of my favourites also.
Your portraits have a palpable sense of intimacy to them; what are your tips for achieving this level of emotion captured in a still image?
I think the main thing would be great communication and connecting with who I’m working with. Making them feel completely comfortable and at ease, getting them to open up and show me who they are. I use light and form to help create the intimate mood. I always shoot with music playing and I’ll always ask if there’s any particular music that the model likes. Music plays a huge part in setting the mood for the shoot. I regularly show the model the images to help them see how it’s looking and if there’s anything they want to change or work on.
What is next for you?
I would love to work on building my wedding shoots up as I don’t shoot full time – I run two other businesses outside of the photography game. I’m in a very fortunate position where I can come and go from work to focus on my photography. Getting a nice work/photography/life balance is important. I’m often pulled in so many directions that I struggle to keep on top of it all. Finally, I would like to really build on my portrait work, creating relationships and connecting with people, using the human form in more shots where I think it helps create connection and mood.
See more of Christopher’s work at:
All images copyright Christopher Robert.