January 28, 2021

Ep 19 – How Christian Fletcher Overcome Years of Struggle to Find His Love for Landscape Photography

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 19 - How Christian Fletcher Overcome Years of Struggle to Find His Love for Landscape Photography

Hey Wicked Hunters!

I’m so excited to chat with Christian Fletcher, one of the best photographer from Perth, Western Australia. He had won multiple international awards and he has a beautiful gallery in the Southwest region of Australia. 

In this podcast, Christian shared his journey to find the photography that he loves and the struggles that came with it. 

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Christian Fletcher  0:00  
I had a really hard time getting out of that. And my wife pushed me to get away from that fear and to start just pushing myself to do that

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:20  
hey, we can do this. Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast. So first of all, happy new year to all of you. And you know, off, we’ll have someone very excited is in this episode, and he is definitely one of the most senior photographer from Perth, Western Australia. And he is you have one of the most beautiful gallery who have won multiple different awards. So not only he won, you know, he may he gets some recognition from his photography, but he also get a lot of recognition from his gallery, and I’d like you to welcome Christian Fletcher, Christina, how you doing?

Christian Fletcher  0:56  
Hey, good. How are you? Thanks for having me on.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:58  
Oh, that’s, yeah. So yeah, that title

Christian Fletcher  1:02  
of senior senior photographer. I have got a great handout. I’m actually getting a hiccup tomorrow, everybody. So sorry for it looking so bad. Just what it is, try to shape

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:14  
up a few years, once you cut up that hair. Yeah, that’s

Christian Fletcher  1:18  
what I always say, I look younger when I’ve got this here. So and when I met my wife, I had hair that was down to here somewhere. And I had been dyed several times. So it was kind like a blondie orangey brown kind of colour was pretty awful, actually. And I looked a bit like a homeless person. So she, she sort of shake me up and every now and then I get back into this homelessness kind of look. Like it’s alright.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:39  
That’s really funny. Because when, when I have like a full, like, longer here, and then like, you know, a more beer, like, I don’t really grow that much beer. But when I have a little bit more people actually thought I’m like four years old, and then I shaved them off. And then like, are you 20 years old? Like crazy. Alright, well, look, thanks a lot for for jumping in into podcasts. And it’s great to have somebody who’s been in the game for so long. And you have quite an interesting story on how you get into photography yourself. So do you want to just share with the listeners and a little bit walkthrough of what it’s like on your early days when you first got exposed to photography?

Christian Fletcher  2:22  
Yeah, I got my first camera 15 Everyone talks about, I think every photographer says, I got my first camera at 10 I got my first camera at 12 I got my I got mine at 15. And didn’t make me want to pick up the camera and take photos. It was just what was the cost was 150 bucks, it was a really flex sl 35. And it I went through it with my brother, my dad. So we put in 50 bucks each. And I don’t even know where I got $50 as a 15 year old boy, maybe dad paid for the lot and just said, Hey, look, here’s 50 Give it back to me out of my anyway, this thing because out of the box. And it’s I remember being at home, but no one ever doing anything with it. So for that, that first few years after that I hadn’t really even touched that camera and didn’t even think anything about taking photographs. And then when I was 18, I was working in the government doing a clerical job just back this back before Photoshop before digital before computers before the internet, so it’s quite a long time ago. I’m a pretty old guy, hence the grey here. And I had a I was on a holiday. So I had four weeks off of work. And I was into surfing so I would surf a lot. But on the in the first week I had a surfing accident, cut my leg and I couldn’t get back in the water because I got infected with this is just a hole in my leg that didn’t heal properly. And so I was so bored. I was like I was shot out three more weeks left, I’m not going to do what I want to do with Surf and I thought I’ll just get that camera again and see what that’s all about. And so I picked up the camera, put in some just negative film that I don’t have the most important shot because you could buy film really easily back in those essence, that’s all there was, and started saying if you’ve got them developed and just kind of enjoyed that process. And I remember it was a point where my sister said, Oh, your photos look really good Christian. I don’t know why but you know, you take nice photos. So that was kind of my first compliment that I ever gotten from my system that was back when I was 18 which is I can’t remember at all it is now it’s 30 something years ago, 35 Six years ago. Anyway.

From there, I sort of gained a bit of an interest and I took the camera to work and I would become I became the unofficial photographer at work. So if there was a birthday party, they would get me to take photos of everybody and then a wedding my cousin got married so I remember taking my camera to the wedding and doing a couple shots here and and but that was the first time when I thought photography was kind of fun, but I never thought it was gonna be a career. I was just doing this horrible job in the government which I ended up hating the passion. And then eventually I quit that job. I just I just couldn’t be there anymore. It was just mind numbing. One of my main duties was to file these forms in alphabetical order and when I started I had four piles that were just like massive piles of paper, everyone had gotten in a strict strict alphabetical order. It wasn’t just the AC and the A. And the bees, there was a VC with it. Anyway, it was mind numbing. And I did that for three months, finding bits of paper. And at the end of it, I had three piles left standard for after three months, I only had three. So it’ll just took me that long it was that and newborns would come in every day, and it was just horrible food, end up cleaning there. And then, just bumming around with a mate, we made a couple of snowboards, because we thought, oh, we’ll just make some stuff because I was into sandboarding as well. So I bought some Epsom salt boards and sell those. And that didn’t work that well, because we you know, I didn’t have any skills my mate did most of the work. I was just kind of like, helping fund some of the materials. And but we made a couple sideboards that didn’t float that well, they were a little bit heavy, and I don’t think I think I might have sailed one month, but it was a bit of a dog. So that business was never gonna go anywhere. And, and then I started thinking about all well, and crafty sort of stuff. So I would go out in the bush and find old lumps of old tree roots and stuff. And I’d get out there with a file and some sandpaper and a drill. And I would try and make some shapes out of them, and then varnish them up and put little flowers in them and you know, blah, blah. And that wasn’t going anywhere. That was I did one I think I gave it to mom, I think she liked it. But it was another dead end business. And then eventually I end up with a video live because governor at the time who are uncle was selling his video library. So my sister and I got into that was really cheap, little rundown thing. And then I ended up we ran that for about five years or so and was quite successful because we, we managed to get a good following with with clients because we, we knew the numbers and we gave them great service. And then eventually that that died out because the big video stores came in. And so I decided, Okay, well I’m going to I’m going to do something else. So at that time, my parents moved to Dunsborough. And I had been on a trip around Australia working on I was actually doing video at that stage, I had a video camera that is shooting film or cast film cassettes, whatever they are, whatever you call them now. And so I started that. And that was three months of just taking video. And I really enjoyed that process. And notice, I would look at my brother and his wife and I would just run ahead and film them walking path. And they were making these little scenes and I edit all this together. And it was pretty cool. I was quite enjoying that, that process. And then I decided that I was going to leave Perth and move down south and just crash with mum dad for a while. So that’s when I thought maybe I’ll pick up the camera again. And I’ll start taking photos. So you know, it’s a bit of a long process from from when I first got the camera to when I actually started to be serious about and I was 25 then at that stage when I picked up the camera again, and thought I got to make this into a career because I think it’d be fun a fun job and it’d be easy. I wouldn’t have to answer to anyone I can do my own thing. And people might be pushing me around, which is what happened in the government all time. So I got the I got a little camera out and realised that that wasn’t going to cut the mustard. So I thought oh, I’ll invest all my money in a really good camera. So all the money I had at that stage was 1500 bucks. So I bought a Nikon 801 s that came with two lenses I think and and that that was my first camera. And within six months I realised that camera was not going to cut the mustard. It was just it was a consumer camera. It was well I think I called it a prosumer camera that was a little bit better than the average.

And but then I thought no, I’m not getting the results. I have like my darkroom setup my death house and, and I will just do all the do my stuff there. And I just work in black and white pretty much exclusively at that stage. And then the whole aim was to take landscape photographs and sell them through a gallery and didn’t think that I’d have my own gallery eventually. But anyway, I realised that that that Nigam was not going to cut it. So I bought a Bonica medium format film camera so blank sky and started using that. And that’s when my work started to be elevated to a different level. And people were starting to take a bit more notice of what I was doing. So I wouldn’t say it was good. It took me ages to work out anything I had no I mean, I’m an in green, completely green, bought the gear, and just worked it out myself tried to work it out. But even then I was, you know, you only learned so much with film because you shoot it, then you got to develop it and print it before you know what you’ve done wrong, pretty much. So that was a really long process. Hence, it took me another 10 years before I started to get anywhere near a reasonable level of quality, but that I was pretty, pretty uptight young guy had a lot of stress, pretty nervy sort of timescale of everything. And I was doing weddings and portraits and that was killing me from the inside. I was just sick every time we do a wedding, I would just be nauseas for the whole week beforehand. And the day before and then the morning of the wedding. I just just woke up with this dread in my heart and I knew that I couldn’t continue on doing it. So eventually, I gave up photography for two days. And then I was inspired by a lady who had a small gallery in a small town called Esperance. South of south southeast of But where I was living, and and I thought, well, this lady can do or she’s doing what I had intended to do when I first moved down south was to have to shoot NASDAQ photographs and sell them in the gallery. And this lady was doing this. So that’s when I thought I’ve got to get back to, to landscapes. And then from there, it was a long process of doing market stalls, trying to get my photos out wherever I could, it was pitch framing at the time as well. So I managed to con the guy I was framing with to give me space in his in his framing studio to to hang my pitches. And eventually I ended up hiring, releasing the whole front of the building from him. And he had his framings of effects that we shared this season that became our first gallery. And then it sort of kicked off from there. That’s sort of abbreviated version of a 20 year period of my photography career.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  10:50  
I’m Christian now your audio just dropped off there a little bit. Not sure if the microphone Yeah, the volume kind of just died down a little bit.

Christian Fletcher  10:59  
They’re speaking close enough in my

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  11:03  
mind. No, it was okay. And then it just died also might be like disconnected or something.

Christian Fletcher  11:08  
Okay. They seem to be testing one, two, I guess you can’t see any. That’s just coming through. But microphone on mic.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  11:16  
Not that’s that’s good.

Christian Fletcher  11:18  
That’s good. Yeah. Yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  11:19  
So it must be. Yeah, cool. Well, that’s, that’s incredible. Yeah. I mean, I can I can’t even imagine. So how do you actually progress and learn photography back then, you know, like, right now, it’s really hard to think back of your struggle, because we got everything in our hand, we got Instagram, we got Facebook, we got YouTube, we got it’s just so interconnected with with the internet, but you know, like you say, back then it was, especially when you do it all yourself all that trial and error really comes back through a lot of legs, you know, after you finish the role, you take a photo, and then you develop it. And so when do you actually learn, like, you know, the technique and, you know, composition and lights and so forth?

Christian Fletcher  12:07  
Yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t learn it. It was just, in fact, I learned nothing until I went digital. And because I had no control. I mean, I remember getting some commercial jobs. And I’d saw some of the top of commercial shooters in Perth, lighting these scenes and I’m going I don’t even know how to use I’ve got lights, but I don’t know how to use them. I had no idea of how to balance that out. You know, I was using a light metre lesson stuff. So it was all I didn’t I didn’t know anything. I think I had a book that Kodak released on photography. And that was one book I remember having. So I had to pretty much learn on the job. And that’s why it took so long because I literally went from 25 to 35 not knowing anything. And then 35 I had been to America and I saw some of the some of the best photographers over there, how they were working, what they were doing, and then getting my act together going, Okay, well, I need to have control because I, I’m sending these images off these transparencies off to a lab and the or actually, I was shooting the film a lot of it because it was all leftover film from the wedding days. So I had no control of sending off to the lab expecting to get these great results back and I was going Why can’t I get the colours that these guys getting? So then I got a I got into digital. So I basically, I wasn’t in digital, I was scanning or scanning of digitally scanning my negative transparencies. So I’d had it I had it I bought a Fuji GX exhibiting panoramic camera that was a that was the first really expensive camera that I bought that was going to allow me to do landscapes that I thought I wanted to do it that that but that time so I built my sort of career on shooting panoramic landscapes, and digitising them. And once I get those files into Photoshop, it was just a matter of teaching myself Photoshop. And that was that was again trial and error. And just I had some books on on Photoshop and how to do it. So yeah, that’s when I started to get the control that I needed. And that’s and this was still before. I think it’ll still be on the internet was around at that stage. But I don’t know if YouTube was there. And there was definitely no YouTube videos, on tutorials on whatever. So I was still just trying doing anything myself. I was very insular. When I first brought in for most of my career I spent. I didn’t know who was the top photographers were in the country, I wasn’t part of the aipp. So I was pretty much just my own guy down in the country. Country hick taking photos and processing my way, the way I sort of thought was right. And it was until I actually joined the AIP that I started to realise what quality, what quality I needed to work towards. And that really helped helped me develop my skills. And then I met some friends that taught me some stuff and went to a couple seminars here and then I did a lot of it. I’ve been doing a lot of workshops, people I was getting asked to teach people, how I how I did what I did. And so I was very scared of public speaking I hated that the thought of being on the stage and just freezing and not just totally sucking at anything. So I am, I had a really hard time getting out of that. And my wife pushed me to get away from that fear and to start just pushing myself to do that. So I start off doing small workshops in my gallery. And it was actually pretty good because I could set a small amount of people, you know, like, I was doing maximum eight people. And so I thought, Okay, that’s good. Then I had a workbook that they could follow along, and I was pretty much going off a formula. And within the first five minutes, I realised that I knew what I was talking about, because that’s what I did. So it wasn’t so hard. It was, I wasn’t off on some topic that I had no idea about. Nobody was like, I know this. But the idea this is this, and whether it was right, it was people didn’t mind because it was what I was doing. And they wanted to know what I was doing to get those photos looking like that, you know, that were coming to the gallery. And, and that was, and that was going back about 10 or 12 years ago. So that you know, my my first times doing that I would just get a bottle of wine and pretty much knock off half a bottle before I started so that I wasn’t so nervous. And eventually I got to a point where I didn’t need any alcohol to, to get on stage. And, and yeah, now now it’s all fine. It’s all good. But asked me to talk about something I know nothing about, then I’ll freeze up. Yeah, that was hard learning. That meant that answer. But learning back then was impossible. And I think in some ways, it made me a better photographer, because I I had to really be sure. And when I was shooting film on my Fuji was $5 Every time I push the button, so I had to make sure that whatever I was pointing the camera at was a reasonable shot. Whereas digital now you just you just shoot away you get moderately interesting, I’ll take a photo of that. And then you know, eventually it’s just clogging up harddrive.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  16:46  
Well, I think that’s definitely the struggles with people who shoot digital camera or started with a digital camera and I’m one of them. You know, so? Yeah, you’re exactly right. Like, we’re, we’re, we take it for granted, we don’t think about what was you just gonna like, Oh, that’s beautiful. And we don’t even think about what is beautiful about it. What is you know, whether or not it’s a lie, whether or not it’s the shape, whether or not is the texture, we just point and shoot. And I guess that’s why they call it point and shoot cameras, right? Because you just switched off you just go up beautiful. Snap. And and that’s kind of why like, when I first started photography, my photo doesn’t really turn out that great because exactly what I did just point and shoot, I didn’t really put a lot of thoughts in there. So yeah, yeah, and look, I I’m like everyone else now today, though,

Christian Fletcher  17:31  
I still take way more shots than I should. I’ve gone a bit I think I’ve taught myself composition a lot better back in those days, I mean, I shooting black and white as well. So I wasn’t worrying about colour at all, it’s just worrying about tone and contrast and stuff like that. So it maybe it helped me become better at composition. And, you know, it just, I guess you do anything long enough, you kind of know what works and what doesn’t work. And I still time and look, I get a ride all the time. I’m just like anyone else. But then you get these moments where you find just that perfect composition. And, and also, it’s important to pre visualise when you’re out there in the field going okay, well this the lights not perfect, but I know that that little headline is going to look beautiful. And if we put up new sky or if we darken this or light now to add a bit of colour, he’ll enhance that area. So you know, I’m always thinking about capturing data as opposed to capturing a photo. So I mean, I still like to capture a photo obviously but an outdoor photos but you know, I might have some stuff some of these things for like I was out data Pesco beach town a little while back and, and I wanted a palm tree I hadn’t I hadn’t got a shot of a palm tree. So I found this one down there. So I photographed it and then I’ve used that in other photos so you know I’m not a purist by any any any stretch of imagination I’m I’m always putting in new skies, altering skies, I don’t alter landscapes completely, like I don’t change the form that’s there in nature, but that look if disguise mean sky, something that’s changeable. And, and I always say to people, if you’re out shooting a commercial job for somebody, you better be good at putting in skies and enhancing images, because that’s what they want to see. They want to see the perfect sky over the perfect, you know, building there if that’s their beautiful building, yeah, they don’t want something average, they want to see the best guy ever. And if you get paid to come out one day, and it’s it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do, then you need to, you need to sort of, so that’s that’s the way I look at it. i When I’m out photographing, I, especially if I’m away on a trip, if I fly to Iceland, and it cost me X amount of dollars to get there and I want to make sure that I’ll catch us guys, I’m not sure if I can catch the skies in Iceland, but I’ll use them in other shots. I’ll do that. So you know, do that all the time. Just to make things look a little bit more. Perfect. Yeah,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  19:52  
that’s that’s a good point. Um, you know, with especially with commercial photography, it’s really hard especially if you’ve got a really short window or um timeframe tissue. So, yeah, very interesting. Take on the shoot for data instead of a photo, that’s definitely a different one. One thing that I want to ask you this. So when I started photography, the way I learned composition, I didn’t know all these composition techniques. And the way I learned it was, I basically take 100 photos of a similar perspective, just slightly different, right? So one, download one out one closer one with this in it when that in it. And that’s how I learned composition. But back on the film days, you don’t really have that luxury to, like you say, you know, every snap is $5. And $5, back then, is a lot more valuable than it is now. So how do you actually learn composition all together?

Christian Fletcher  20:48  
It’s very slowly, you learn it very slowly with film. I don’t know I, I just got to a point where, and I liked the idea what you just said about taking the same, the same scene 100 times from different perspectives, changing your viewpoint and all that sort of stuff. But I never did that. And because I couldn’t, but I think I’ve made enough mistakes along the way to go, okay, I can work that out. But now I can go out and I can see the balance, and I can see the composition. And it just feels right. And, you know, it’s like when you I can like if you’re looking at a mountain range, right? I always think about my histogram on my camera, and having that perfect histogram, you know, with that beautiful triangle shape. And you might have a couple of nice, and sometimes you look at the history and go, Wow, that’s a beautiful composition. And then other times, you’ve got this horrible one, it’s just like, it comes up and it goes straight across, and it goes down a little bit and then and then cuts off there. And it’s like this horrible, ugly histogram that doesn’t fill you with any joy. So I just when I’m out shooting, now I kind of feel that the composition is right. And I find that easy. And I work quite quick. And I’ve done a lot of shooting with mates like them Tony, who who’s an amazing photographer. And he does beautiful work. But he goes on to say, How come you you’re here? You’re there, you’re over there you’d like. So I’m either not getting it right. And I’m just moving on think I got it right, or I got it right. And I kind of move on to the next thing. So I think I do have a an ability to see composition, easily. And and I know I can just feel it’s balanced or not then. So that that probably helps. I wouldn’t say I get it right all the time. Yeah, I find it probably a bit easier than maybe some some people.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  22:28  
Yeah, I think like some people might, like looking at composition might come natural to some people. And I guess you’re kind of one of those more lucky one than the others.

Christian Fletcher  22:40  
So that’s why I ended up in photography and why I’ve been successful, because, I mean, there’s a lot of photographers in Australia, but not many of them have galleries or and I’m sure there’s some more that could, you know, especially in my case, it’s been because it’s been a long process. And it’s been a process that I’ve had to help with. I’ve had staff and partners that have enabled all these things to happen. You know, I’ve done I’ve done well, but you know, it’s, you think there would be more people doing it, but it just isn’t. So aberdovey always a lot of photo galleries of your way kind of

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  23:14  
this, there are a few but you know, like nowadays, I think with the way the online world works, it’s kind of easier, you got less costs, you know, you just put it out there. And I think it’s a lot less risk, right. And I mean, I saw your I saw your bio, and you were inspired to kind of build a gallery, you saw somebody have a gallery and you thought to yourself, you want to build a gallery. So there might have been reason why you get to where you are right now where most people kind of, especially nowadays, in the modern era, don’t really think much of a gallery, more of Instagram followings. But that’s their dream is to get 30,000 100,000 followers on Instagram. Yeah,

Christian Fletcher  23:57  
that’s so true. And, and this is probably a reflection on my age. I mean, I’ve had had my own galleries for 20 years, so 20 years ago, the only way you’re gonna sell prints, if you had them in a gallery, though, there was no social media to help you sell them so and it just carried on. But I think one thing about a gallery that just gives you that little bit of credibility, and then also because, you know, we get followed by other people on Instagram that are other photographers that are and not all, but not all, but there’s definitely a lot of that so, and a lot of other photographers aren’t going to buy your work, they’re going to look at what you do and try and emulate it or, and make their own which is perfectly fine. It’s great. So a gallery out. And we’ve done studies on people and how they found out about our gallery and most of them are just walking by and see it see at the front and go let’s go in and have a look. And that’s where we get our sales from. So even after all these years, we still make more sales out of our gallery than we do online. But then yeah, like you said, you got that massive debt as well. Not a debt but that every week you’re gonna sit sell certain amount of pitches to keep the doors open, pay the rent, pay the wages, pay attacks, all that sort of stuff. So. And then when we had when COVID hit us, we closed the gallery for five weeks. And our staff went on to Job keeper, which was fantastic. Because we didn’t have to worry about wages we didn’t have, we only had some renters our overhead. And electricity had been deferred all those costs. So we were just back to internet sales, and we’ll and we got some good sales over that period of time. And I said to my wife, is it far out? Do we really want to reopen the gallery because this, if we can just live like this, we can just, we don’t have to do much, we can just bring the printers home, get the oldest make prints, put them in tubes and stuff. And it’d be fantastic. But it’s still nice to have your own space. Because people they see see more, you’re more visual, basically. Yeah. And being in Dunsborough, in the small little holiday town, we get a lot of people that come in, and we get repeat customers. And it used to be exposed to a different different group of people. And it’s kind of nice, because you, you you get immediate feedback from, from real people, not just like on Instagram saying I love to shop man, you know, it’s cool that yeah, and they hand over cash. That’s, that’s always nice, too.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  26:14  
Yeah, I think I mean, like, I have a dream that one day, I will have my own gallery. No more not for the sales part of it, but more of just being able to bring my work and present it in a way that I’m happy about, you know, being able to see that big print of yours and hanging on the wall is a different feeling. I’m sure you can relate to that. And that’s, that’s the main reason why I want to Gallery. But I want to I want to know, and get a little bit of insights or so you did a few different things from commercial portrait and wedding and kind of ended up with travel and landscape photography. How do you get there kind of what is the process of why you decided that it is your it is what you want to do for, you know, for your main part of your photography career.

Christian Fletcher  27:09  
It was because I mean, I started out wanting to do that. Because like I said, Back Back in those days, I was very insular, I was quite, you know, I wasn’t into being in the limelight. And public speaking, I didn’t like being around people so much. Not that I’m not a people person, because I enjoyed it. But I thought the far as work goes, I needed to be controlling my destiny, and I need to do something that I enjoy. And landscapes always seemed like the option for me, that was the most good, the best match for my personality. So I didn’t commit I got sucked in. I started out doing landscaping, I got stuck into the commercial work and the portraits and weddings by people, friends, people in town. And I knew, I mean, I had when I put my very first pictures up in an a restaurant, my brother had a restaurant in town where I worked as a dish big washing dishes. I put pictures in there, the first day I sold one. And that was an amazing feeling to have a landscape photograph. They’re all black and whites and to sell. So one on the first night was was brilliant. So that again, got me thinking, Yes, this is the path for me. But the reality was that it took another three months before I sold the next one. So I wasn’t gonna make any money out of photography. And so I had to wash dishes, pitcher, pitcher, framing, and all that. And then from having the work hanging in the restaurant, I would get business people coming and saying, Can you do this photo for me? Can you do this though? So I started doing commercial work that way. Then I had a friend who I met down south and he said, Can you do my wedding photos. And that was when I started doing weddings and other work out. At least I’m making money from photography, you know, but I had no idea what I was doing. I was shooting these things and these for these people. And I’m heading over the work and I’m not happy with it myself. Because I’m never happy with my work. I know. It has to be pretty special for me to really like it. And if I do like it, I like it for a month, two months, three months, six months, and then I hate it or not. I mean, I’ve got images I don’t hate but there are images that I’ve just never want to see again. And they just frustrate the hell out of me when they sell on the gallery. Why are you buying that? Horrible? Buy this one? No, no, I like this one. Yeah, but look at that. Look, there’s noise and there’s some weirdness going on. It’s over. There’s a small file shot on the canon that he d 60. And IT systems horrible. Anyway, he gets on like a photographer. Yeah, so we are very harsh and very critical. There were. So I didn’t that’s how I got stuck in the commercial. But then after doing it for so long. It really started to I was getting really nervous and I was starting to feel like I needed to escape from it. I didn’t I stopped enjoying it was like when I was back in the government and people were telling me what they wanted me to photograph and I didn’t like that. I had no idea what I was doing. I was doing commercial work and they were wanting specific things not going. I didn’t even know how to do that. And I was just fudging it. And I remember I had to photograph a fairly important lady a very well known lady I’m in Australia, and I took a few shots and I can’t do this anymore. I am too worried about being found out as a fraud. So I need to just get back to doing my landscapes. And that’s when I quit for a while and then rediscovered landscape photography.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  30:15  
That’s fantastic. Yeah, like, I don’t have to look back since I think many, many of us really, especially when you kind of just started really got sucked in into the, you know, because the portrait and the commercial all the one that a lot easier to make money, it’s in necessity. So cool. That’s a it’s a really good to hear that story from your side of things. And you know, to kind of see that you do have that struggle as well. So what do you find? How does the photography become a part of your happy lifestyle, then? You know, especially now, you still do a lot of photography? Does it still, you know, after all this year, does it still bring satisfaction and happiness?

Christian Fletcher  30:55  
Yeah, I, it’s the only passion I’ve ever had, I’ve never sort of got sick off. Because I’ve done a lot of things and have a lot of a lot of fun things. And, but photography has always been dealing with will be and like, if someone said, Hey, Fletch, you know, here’s an opportunity to go on a trip across the, you know, to some shitty town 300,000 kilometres away. And we’ll end and we’ll take a canvas and see what we can get, I’ll be in there because I love I love it so much that I just love making images. I love finding it. Because for me, it’s like, gold prospecting. You know, when you get it, you get your metal detector, and you go out. I mean, who doesn’t want to go dig up a nugget, a golden nugget and, and how exciting is just to be wandering in the bush and all sudden, you see something that’s, that’s incredible. And, and you get that get that golden moment where you take that photo, and I never get sick of that feeling. It’s, you know, whether you liken it to an Easter egg hunt, or opening your presents at Christmas time. If Adobe is like that, for me, every every time and, and I get excited, you know, like, it’s, I remember when I used to surf, if I was a good good days in the surf, you know, you pull up to the beach, and you see the ways understand you’re starting to get in a heart starts to pound and you’re going, you’re getting ready and you’re getting so many that you want to get out but you’re nervous, but you want to do it and then you’re worried you’re going to miss it. And I’m in photography is I’ve had so many stressful moments where you’re racing in your car to get down to the spot, you know, the sun sets gonna be amazing. We just got to get to that, you know, you’re just gonna do another kilometre, and you gotta get out, you got to get the tripod legs out, and you got to race down the beach, and you’ve got to get to that that spot and shoot it before that sunset disappears. And I love that. Stressful that and that’s what keeps me going.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  32:40  
I mean, yeah, like hearing your your stories, it sounded like you are passionate about photography in it, because you do you did try a lot of things before you get there. But once you kind of find photography, just stick with it as a ghost to show how much you you’re passionate about it. So yeah,

Christian Fletcher  32:55  
fantastic. But any day of the week, if I if I could, if I didn’t have a business that was a little bit heavy on labour, I would be I’d be out there shooting more and I do need to push myself more to get out. But you know, I’ve got a family and kids in high school got a business. That’s that’s almost it was a seven day a week business. So there’s always something to do. I got a big yard for the gardening to do just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do anything. But if I could, I’m the happiest when I’m on my own with my camera somewhere in the bush taking photos. That’s that’s, and it doesn’t have to be spectacular. The less spectacular for me the better. Because there’s less pressure on you. If you’re in the Canadian Rockies, I think you said five out. I mean, you have so much pressure because your landscapes are awesome. If you go out and get photos that suck, then you’re in big trouble. Whereas for me, we’re in Australia, one of the flattest countries on earth and it’s one of the oldest countries and there ain’t much out here there’s always there’s a lot of great stuff that is so spread apart, that we don’t have massive mountains with snow capped peaks and glaciers and beautiful blue lakes and all that sort of stuff we we have the Outback, which is had its own sort of nice things about it, which sounded like that we got 15 minutes of good light in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day. And the rest of the day. If you’re up north it’s baking hot. You know you’ll die out if you break down it’s remote. So yeah, that’s there’s less pressure it’s more pressure on surviving this on getting good photos. It’s so much easier.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  34:34  
It’s interesting that you mentioned that because it is so true that you know when you’re out here it seems like you’re trying to please everyone else then to please us sometimes and it’s like it becomes an uphill battle. Again, you know, because of the social media and you know, say Oh, this guy is making this like the shot is like it’s in perfect condition. And sometimes I get like really pushed to go to this location at that certain time. And when I first got here, that’s what I did like literally just chasing every single condition. Um, you know, now kind of, because I’ve already have that I tried to force myself to sit back a little bit and just find one that actually, I really liked. Yeah, really, really interesting that you mentioned that, because that is very true. Over here, a lot of a lot of British gender. Yeah. So you’re very passionate about the environment as well. And, you know, I, myself, when I started travelling, before I even got into photography, I have a lot of ignorance with with the environment, and what’s happening around the environment. And travel really opened up my eyes, and I get to see a lot of things that I would normally things like, you know, I was just, you know, wandering chameleons, like, it’s not going to make a difference. But when you actually go out there and go to those places and actually see, you know, with your own eyes, it really changes your perspective. So, sure, I know you’re really passionate about it. So I’d like you, I’d like to hear some of your stories about, you know, either project or some environment sort of issue that, that you see through your travel and photography, and what do you think we can do about it?

Christian Fletcher  36:13  
Well, yeah, big issue, big, big question. I really struggle with being an environmentalist and travelling a lot for photography. And, you know, up until in the last 10 years, I’ve travelled all over the world, you know, long haul flights all over the place. I mean, I always offset my flights. Usually with Qantas, I’m always offsetting those emissions pay a little bit extra than what happens to that money, does anything amazing. So there is that there is that side of it. And when the biggest issue that I found, in my travels was when we went to Antarctica, and we had I was invited as an instructor on a trip. And we I was to drift I was hooked on to back to back. Anyway, we get down to Punta Arenas in Chile. And what’s happened is that we get a plane from there down to King George Island. So instead of having to go across the Drake Passage, in a boat, you just fly across it. So you have the same amount of time down on the peninsula, but you’re not flooding around in the ocean, getting seasick. So it’s quite a good option, you know, that unfortunately, on this particular week that we were there, the conditions were quite warm in Antarctica, and the island was formed, a covered in fog. And that went for a whole week, so that everybody that was on the first trip in Antarctica, didn’t get to go. So we were all in Puntarenas, waiting by the hour or waiting for the conditions to change. And so we could fly in. And we had two aborted attempts to get into Antarctica where we got packed the way down and the plane just turned around, and then ended back in Puntarenas. And then the second trip, luckily, the fog cleared, and we were able to get in and, and we we landed because there’s it’s not a it’s an uncontrolled to airspace as there’s no tower and all that you basically got people on the ground saying, I don’t know, man, I can’t even see five in front of me so. So yeah, so that was when I really, really hit home that we’ve got a problem. And, and how that affected so many people. And I’m sure that happens quite regularly. Now, as we know, Antarctica is having record temperatures, and there’s record Ice, ice loss. And another time where I thought, you know, where the pollution was a problem was when I was in Cambodia. And I’d never seen the Natta plastic rubbish that I’d ever seen. And, and basically, the conditions that people were living in and, you know, it was quite confronting, you know, thinking, wow, we’ve gone this far that we, we, you know, we’ve just, we can’t get rid of our wastes, you know, and we’re lucky here in Australia, we’re, we’re privileged, we’ve got, you know, we’ve got a functioning government that’s, that works well, we pay our taxes, and we haven’t got to 30 There’s so many countries that don’t have that. And it’s not anyone’s fault. Well, it probably is the government’s fault that, you know,

you know, there’s a lot of issues that people, you know, they can’t change things for the fact that it’s so easy to sit back as a privileged Westerner, to and point fingers, hey, you need to be, you know, turning your lights off at night and then spending, you know, putting the rubbish in the bin and, and, you know, all this other stuff that we’re the ones that are creating the bulk of the problems by consuming what we consume. And, and I’m not saying I’m perfect, and we do what we can, but it’s such a big topic thing, I think, definitely getting off off coal and gas in Australia was were the one of the worst culprits because we have a lot of it. And it just frustrates the hell out of me because the way I look at it, that they seem to want to protect the coal industry so much, I’m probably gonna get a lot of trouble here. But anyway, I think there’s something like 20,000 coal jobs in Australia that might go with it. coal industry was just phased out. But then I sat down I thought about the photography industry, not about, yeah, remember the old days when there was film, you would go take your films down to the mini lab. And every town would have a mini lab where there would be somebody with a processing machine, you get you put your films in, you get your photos back, you know, four by sixes or whatever. And you don’t see them anymore. They’re just gone. You know, they don’t exist anymore. And they would have been one in every town, all across the world, you would think, right? And now that just don’t exist anywhere. But no one ever complained about the poor old photography workers that end up without a job. So this is, this kind of annoys me, is this, this kind of this the power of the minerals Council, the lobbies, the lobby groups and all that. They just say, Oh, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that. We got to keep digging the coal out of the ground, and blah, blah, blah. Because we got to keep that the jobs and the jobs. Well, how about the jobs in the renewable industries? You know, that’s, that’s why aren’t we making hydrogen and I think that’s actually happening. Now, I think Australia is getting a bit more involved in some of the big miners are starting to do that. And it’s going to take those sort of people, big industries, the big corporations to go, Hey, we got to change the way we do things. So that’s more the issue, as opposed to there’s more people that love it, yeah, we can always inspire other people to do things like consume less, on what needs to be consuming less. And, you know, one thing I really see is having young kids teenagers, they’re so much more aware. And then than we ever were, and my son, for example is, is he doesn’t want anything he doesn’t want to consume, you know, he’s he, he doesn’t see the benefit doesn’t see the need, he understands what’s going on in the world. And, yeah, and, and there’s a lot of kids that are now so much more aware of everything from, you know, racism, sexism, you know, that politically aware, they understand corruption, and, you know, and I’m hoping that they’re going to be the ones that make the changes, you know, when they turn 18, and can vote, and I think you can see it happening. We’ve had a bad run of leaders around the world. Now for a while, or the nutjobs had been out submitting their, their hold on power, but they’re in the minority now. So we just gotta get out, get all the rational thinking people together and make some changes that make the world a better place for everybody in it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  42:16  
That’s, that’s fantastic. I think grant, I totally agree with you, you know, it’s not about changing it overnight. And I think it’s impossible. It’s, it’s about finding what sustainable, right? Because there’s always that balance between, yes, we can do this, but then what’s going to happen with everything. So it’s about having that awareness that maybe if you just reduce once a day, it will actually make a lot of impact. So yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. Um, especially, this is what I find as well. Coming back to your story in Antarctica is that what I find when I’m here in Canada, I see global warming a lot more. One of the glacier that is here, receding at 50 metres per year, at least 50 metres per year, which is, like when you think about it’s crazy, because it’s, it’s massive, like, you go there, it’s like, five storeys high, you’re looking off, and it’s like, what this thing melting, like, disappearing at 50 metres per year, that’s just insane, you know? Yeah, it’s a really, really happy when I see someone else, you know, spread this, this message, I suppose. It’s, it’s, it’s not gonna be, it’s not always gonna be we’re not always going to be able to change everyone. But that’s, that’s where it started, right?

Christian Fletcher  43:25  
Well, and I think it’s really hard to change people’s minds if they if they’re not ready to change. And, you know, I’ve given up ranting and raving on Facebook and stuff on Instagram and on Facebook anymore. Because you don’t win any fans, you just alienate people, you just make you push them even further away. Because no one no one wants to be told what to do, and how they should be living their life, they need to want to do it themselves. And then they need to make the changes themselves. And I mean, and inspiring people to do this more effective than calling them out for and we’re all hypocrites, we all we all do ship things, I mean, the best thing we can do is go jump off the planet somewhere and let it do its thing, you know, but when it’s not gonna happen, we’re all here. We just need to be smarter.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:10  
Yeah, that’ll happen. That’s very true. Like, and I think one of the reason why I encourage people to travel more is that they will get to experience it for themselves, because a lot of times, you know, they see the media and they think the media is lying, and just finding that headlines like, yeah, they might be finding that headline, but there’s also a little bit of truth in it. And, you know, being able to see for yourself like I myself only changed my mindset when I when I see for myself, so it’s definitely a difficult one for sure. Well, thanks a lot for being here. Christine. And one last thing, one last question that I always ask my, you know, anyone that comes into this podcast, what is the one message or one advice that you can give photographers, whether or not they’re, they’re new or they have been in it for a while.

Christian Fletcher  45:02  
Yeah, it could be anything. So what is the one message that you would deliver to never be happy with what you’ve done this week, because it’s always gonna you get, you can always get better, you can always strive for more, you can do things that have more meaning. And I do that all the time, I think if you, as a photographer, think that you’re at the pinnacle of the game, and you’re the best you’re ever going to be, then you’re probably not going to be that good. You need to keep moving forward, and experimenting and trying new stuff. And, and that’s the hardest thing to do. Because, and I’ll stay with myself, you know, it’s so easy for me to get up in the morning and go out, find a pretty landscape, take a photo, edit it, print it, put it in the gallery, and someone guys lovely, it’s beautiful. But that’s not gonna last forever, and it doesn’t feed your soul. So you need to just continue to push yourself, don’t be happy with what you’ve done. Always know that you can do better, because you can.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:58  
Perfect. Well, thanks a lot. And that’s, that’s perfect to close our podcasts. Now, for those of you for the listener who want to find more about you and your work, especially your gallery. Where can they find you? Yet? Well,

Christian Fletcher  46:12  
you go online, probably the best way it’s Christian And it shouldn’t be too hard to find. And yeah, that’s where I do most of my stuff through the gallery. I will I’m not doing any much training anymore. I do have a training website where I teach. I’ve got video tutorials on my Photoshop techniques. And that’s Christian Fletcher. Perfect to that you subscribe to that. And that, you know, like you said, everything’s on YouTube. But the difference with my stuff is that if you like my work, what I teach is basically what has become my style. So the techniques that I do, you may be able to find those from other places. But if you like what I do, then that is it’s valuable in that respect, but not much different than what you find anywhere else. And on YouTube. There’s probably guys doing way better than me. But my tutorials are a bit more quick. And to the point. Less rambling.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  47:08  
Yeah, well, I think at the end of the day, it’s it’s about what, what resonates with people, right? So check out Christian’s work. And if you do like his work, you know, see even check out the training and see if you could learn from what you have to teach you because he’s been on the game forever. And he’s definitely from for for a city that is so isolated.

Unknown Speaker  47:33  
Definitely have been to everywhere.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  47:36  
So that’s fantastic. All right. Well, thank you very much for being here. Thank you very much for sparing some of your time. I know you’re busy back home. But yeah, well, we’ll come this to an end. We can hunters, thank you very much for tuning in. And hopefully that is you find that inspiring as well as helpful in your photography journey. And if you’re, if you liked this and if you’re interested to hear more, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button just down here and leave a comment or a like, you know, feel free to stay in touch with me and Christian. Well, thank you very much Christina for being here and absolutely love this episode and it was such a pleasure to talk to you.

Christian Fletcher  48:13  
Likewise, man, thank you


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.