February 16, 2021

Ep 21 – How Steve Scalone was able to find true happiness by trading wedding photography business for urban landscape photography

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 21 - How Steve Scalone was able to find true happiness by trading wedding photography business for urban landscape photography

Hey Wicked Hunters, 

Today I’d like to introduce Steve Scalone, a professional photographer and educator. He is Proud Ilford Master and AIPP Travel Photographer of the Year.

In his journey, Steve’s dream was to build an empire of the wedding photography business. As time progress he took a break and decided to travel for about 9 months. At the end of his travel, he found his true happiness in urban landscape photography and have been more profitable as well as happier since he made the shift. 

You can learn more about him by connecting in

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Steve Scalone  0:00  
Almost a year off to travel purely because I felt stage had no social life

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:14  
weekenders Welcome back to do wicky, Han photography podcast where we share our passion for photography and how photography have given us hope, purpose and happiness. Now today, I want to welcome a photographer, an Australian photographer who have been crushing it in his categories, which is really unique categories and something that I actually haven’t come across with haven’t come across to until later in my photography journey. So it’s quite interesting to to see that side of the photography itself. So today we have Steve Scallon. Is that did I pronounce your last name correct?

Steve Scalone  0:59  
did well.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:01  
Well, welcome to the podcast. How you how you doing?

Steve Scalone  1:05  
Thank you. I’m doing great. Doing great. I do have a bit of a croaky voice. So hopefully your listeners can make sense of me and my Australian accent.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:14  
Yeah, no worries. I look like my Australian also come on. As soon as I talk to other Australian,

Steve Scalone  1:22  
it comes back as well. So

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:25  
all right, well, yeah. Welcome. Welcome to the show, and really excited to have you here in a habit chat about your journey, as well as some of the projects that you have been involved to. So I met you on 730 projects, three, and that was a while back, it was probably two years ago.

Steve Scalone  1:49  
I’m gonna say two years ago as well. Yeah. Well, I

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:52  
came here, so definitely about two years ago. But well, before we get into that project Street, share us a little bit more about yourself and how you find this. Not only your passion in photography, but also this really niche in photography world of urban landscape.

Steve Scalone  2:17  
Yeah, yeah, great question. So I have been part of the photographic industry, or coming up to well over 25 years now or something ridiculous. So ever since I pretty much left school, I started working in commercial labs. Back then there was no digital or if there was it was in its infancy. So I was preparing film e6 Slide, all of that type of thing for other probes in commercial labs in Sydney. So that kind of led me on the pathway. And I always had an interest within photography, I was doing jobs and assisting as at the same time as I was doing that, as well as studying. So when I hit my 30s, I purchased a wedding studio, and delved into that for about 12 years 12 or 15. And that was great. That actually taught me absolutely everything I could, in terms of getting the shot, no matter what. So you cannot obviously postpone a wedding. Because it’s raining or there’s floods or, or what have you. So you just have to make do dealing with many different personalities and, and all that type of thing. So I’m very grateful I don’t do weddings anymore. Even when people beg me, it’s like, no, I’m sorry, I just I just don’t do it. It was a great time in my life. But yeah, I’ve definitely moved on now. But I’m very grateful for it, because it taught me absolutely everything I needed to know about photography, and how to get around the biggest part of the problem of photography, which is problem solving. So, so did I. Yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  4:10  
Sorry to interrupt you there a little bit, though. But do you decide to move on and not shoot wedding anymore? Because of the pressure pressure associated with it? Or is there a different reason why you don’t do that anymore?

Steve Scalone  4:24  
Ah, such a great question. It was a number of different reasons. I started to close my wedding business in 2008. So it was around about the GFC was happening. Weddings took a slump in Australia didn’t really affect us that much. But the confidence sort of went out of the market. And I was by that stage I was easily working or 80 hours a week just on my business in my business. As I had six staff, it was quite a very, it was a large wedding business, I will admit it was. And it was exactly what I wanted. It was like my dream studio, all of that beautiful stuff. It was great. So I’d been running it along nicely for about 10 years, but I felt like I was getting tired. I, I was photographing other people’s briefs, essentially. So a bride and groom come in, I’m not necessarily photographing me to be part of that day, I’m photographing them, their personalities, which is exactly what I think a wedding photographer should do, really listening to the couple, getting the best out of them, their families, so on and so forth. So I wasn’t really shooting for myself at all. And it was really affecting my passion, and my motivation for photography. So I did decide to now all of this was in Sydney, in New South Wales. So I actually decided to move down to Melbourne. So it’s kind of, it’s kind of like moving from it’s a terrible analogy, but kinda like moving from Toronto to Montreal, in a way. So, so there was a very big kind of push towards doing that. The, the wonderful, horrible thing about it all is that I just couldn’t end the business because many brides hadn’t booked like 18 months in advance. So I was constantly flying up to Sydney and, and Newcastle to photograph these last wedding. So it took about two years to eventually wind up. But when I moved down to Melbourne, I then just started to completely travel. All I took a year off and just travelled the world. And really just started finding myself it was great. From then on in what I do now ever since 2009 is photograph architecture, and they’re basically all my clients, so I rarely photograph people much anymore, and I kind of like it. So photograph a lot of interiors, a lot of architecture, a lot of post production in video two, now. It’s it’s great drone work. So that’s my last 10 years or so.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  7:32  
It’s very interesting, because so, you know, like, I used to be an engineer, and I kind of found photography and have that as a passion and sort of decide to pursue that full time. But from the sun of, you know, your wedding photography days was like your nine to five for me, you know, it’s still photography, but not necessarily doing the things that you want to do or things that you’re passionate about. So it’s actually really interesting to see that that like, you know, you’re actually in photography world, but, you know, just because you’re in photography, doesn’t mean you’re gonna be happy.

Steve Scalone  8:09  
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t bitter about it all. But I think if I was doing it, right up until this day, I would my viewpoint and the thought process on wedding days, and that type of thing would have definitely changed. So yeah, I got out at the good time. I think for myself that is before you fully burn it. Right. Exactly, exactly. Yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  8:38  
You say that after there you took you took some time off to find yourself and just travel. How? How does that journey? Yeah, share us a little bit more about the journey and does it really affect where you are right now in terms of what you do for in photography?

Steve Scalone  9:00  
Ah, such a great question. Yes, absolutely. 100%. So, being a wedding photographer, as anybody listening out there if if you do aspire to be a wedding photographer, almost all of your social life on weekends, doesn’t exist with family and friends because you’re out there working while everybody else is partying. Hence almost the year off I think it was about nine months I went to travel hence the almost a year off to travel purely because I felt stage had no social life. I was literally working 80 hours a week and I did love it. You know when you’re nurturing your own business and seeing it grow and keeping it run. It is fun. But uh, yeah, it was a very deliberate decision. And what I did was what I mean immediately found freeing was I didn’t have to shoot to anybody’s brief anymore. So I could just go out, walk around the block, for example, I didn’t have to travel anywhere, walk around the block and just photograph, you know, the cracks in the, in the footpath and, and things like that just looking at shapes and just going out and it’s okay if I missed the sunset or, or you know what I mean that there was, there was no kind of consequence. And that’s what I found completely fraying. And it was something that I didn’t do like the previous 10 years or so, because I was always, like every ounce of energy, I had always went back into the business and the wedding realm. So I made a conscious decision. I’ve simplified my life very, very nicely now, which is great. I teach a day or two a week. And 2020 has been very interesting, because everything has been on Zoom and practical classes and all that type of thing. So that’s been a wonderful challenge. I love it. But I get immense pleasure of helping others learn photography. And I also have now just started photographing myself, sorry for myself in the last 10 years, but now have attracted clients that like that look, and want to actually photograph their landscape properties, like landscape designers, interior designers, architects, and so now that’s my realm. So I have found that that beautiful synergy, where the things that I actually now love to do, I can more or less do personally, and still make money out of it as well, which is great.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  11:55  
That’s amazing to hear. Yeah, I mean, you know, I’m still kind of on that journey, trying to find that midpoint of where I enjoy it and have that balance. And one of the thing that I think one of the decision that I did, right, when I left, my job was that I promised myself that I will I will not do a thing for a sake of money, you know, which a lot of us do, right? Yes, we give away to that, you know, it’s like, okay, it’s fine. I’ll just do this for a little bit. And, you know, it’ll make me money and then after a while, it will, it will be okay. But it’s, it never is. That’s that’s what I learned. So, I actually, you know, I’ve tried a lot of different photography, not not not wedding yet. Different photography. You know, I’ve tried like, high fashion portraits, real estate, commercial and stuff like that. And I never really pursued it because I feel like if I were to pursue it, it’s gonna be like that nine to five feeling again, where I was just doing it for the money, right? So it’s, it’s been a long, like, kind of like discovery and journey. And it’s cool to hear that point of view from from, from your story, because I think a lot of people out there have that same thought about, yeah, it’s okay. You know, I’ll just do wedding because wedding is where the money say or that’s what everyone say, right? The wedding is. Just did a wedding but three years later, that’s all you know how to do. Because all your portfolio is around the wedding. So yeah. How do you find that balance? What what sort of advice would you give, you know, the people who kind of started off this notion of doing it for the pay of passion, but then start selling out for the money? How do you find that balance? Especially during the you know, like where you are right now is perfect because you you kind of gone through it all and you’re finally find that the paradise that that works, right? But a lot of people that started with the end when they’re in the messy middle, what are they need to do? What do they need to do to find that balance?

Steve Scalone  14:28  
Yes, you are. There’s so many great things and such a good question. Awesome, Stanley, this is brilliant. So one of the things that I wanted, I had this and very false idea in my head way back when I’m talking 2000. So 2000 2001 is when I actually started the wedding business and kind of grew it from there. So I had this false ideal in my head that I wasn’t a photographer until I had this big studio, and staff, and I was making x amount of dollars per year, and so on and so forth. So that was, and it was all achievable. It was all kind of working towards that. But that is what actually motivated me to, to grow my business and kind of go at it that way. What I ended up doing was creating this massive beast that just didn’t stop running. So what I mean by that is, it’s kind of like when you start a motor, you’re kind of getting it needs to be fed. So the and I’m talking about cashflow, and bookings, and sales and all that type of thing. So the larger I got, the harder it was to actually step away from it and move away from it or even try to slow it down. So it kind of and it was good. It did grow rapidly. My my wedding business, like over the 10 years or so. And it was great. It was absolutely everything I wished for. But when I was in it, it was like, Oh, wow, this is consuming me. And even though I had like I had three wedding photographers, two of those were just contractors. I had a full time graphic designer that was all organising all the albums, I did have a sales and admin person that would take care of a little bit of that type of thing for album sales and stuff like that. But I also learned, not law I know now. But I also found it very difficult to delegate, especially when it came to the finer retouching, because that’s what people were hiring us for. It was for our particular style, the look of the images, so on and so forth. So, in hindsight, I should have outsourced that far better than I did. And then that would have stopped that kind of burning out, which I was experiencing towards the end. The beautiful thing about what I have done, and my biggest advice is to figure out what you want, and then do whatever you can to do it. It may not actually be exactly what you want, once you actually do it, if that makes sense. So I was very pleased and very satisfied that I had like a 400 square metre studio it was massive at a beautiful cyclorama. So on and so forth. That was my dream studio. Now that I had it, it was kind of like in the bag, I was satisfied from the soul. And I was ready to move on. So I’m jump jumping now to like 12 years later now. And essentially, I don’t own a studio, I have very little overheads. I’ve got this beautiful setup office in my home. I don’t need to photograph people anymore. So I don’t need a kind of massive amounts of gear. I rarely, like I have all my studio gear and medium format gear. I rarely bring it out only for the odd one or two jobs. Yeah, so I’ve really simplified my life. And I love it. Absolutely love it. So what I ended up doing was diversifying. So I really around about that time, I’ve been teaching now for about 10 years. So one of the things that I started to pursue was a lot more of my time.

And so I applied to teach at a college, a TAFE. And I did that only one day a week for maybe three or four years. When I moved down here. I started doing it more as well. So one to two days. And I really found that that huge satisfaction. The beauty of it is as well it was always kind of that little bit of income too. So I didn’t need to have massive sales and and you know, keep this beast running like I had too many years before with the with the studio. So it all depends on what you’re after. That’s, that’s the biggest thing. One thing that you should do is really have a very strong Don’t plan and think about, if you do want this beast of a business, you do actually need very strong plans in order to feed it. Very much so. So it’s okay to have like a multi story Studio, you just need to know the consequences that kind of come with that.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  20:20  
That’s, that’s a really good advice. It’s funny because as you say it down, I just remember the phrase of, you know, be careful what you wish for. And, yeah, exactly. Like it’s really appropriate for this.

Steve Scalone  20:35  
Exactly. And I have no regrets. I think, if I didn’t do it, I would still be regretting it and still wanting it. But now that I had lived through the whole thing, it’s like, you know what, I do not want a studio ever again, because I loved it. I did it. It was the perfect time in my life for it. I had a lot of energy back then. And it’s like now No, it’s all about simplification and, and kind of the quality of life now.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  21:07  
Yeah, it’s, it’s that whole transformation, right? Because we chase, we often chase that one thing, and then we will realise on the back end, that’s actually, you know, what, that’s not what we’re actually after. So, I’m so glad that you managed to find that I think, a lot of people not only in photography world, but just in general struggle to find to be able to find that or have the courage to let go those, those big piece that you say that the more you make money, the more you need to put money in it. That is just

Steve Scalone  21:41  
as Oh, definitely. Absolutely.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  21:45  
So a lot of a lot of your photo, actually quite interesting to see this connection. And I’m wondering if this is true. When I see some of your photos, they’re very simplified, you know, very, very fine art very, really high quality, but really simplified. Sometimes. I mean, when I first saw some of your photos is just like, taken away, you just shoot like a corner of a building and just like, wow, like never in a million years, I would take photo like that. Like, honestly, if I’d never seen your photo, I would, I would that would never come on in my in my mind at all. Like, just like, wow, like seriously, like, a pull like a pole. Beautiful. It’s like how does that happen? And is this like your your this, this simplify way of capturing the world around you? Does that go back or relate it to how you try to simplify your life as well?

Steve Scalone  22:50  
Oh, 100% Absolutely. So everything was very frenetic when I was doing weddings. And yet again, I was in that perfect mindset where I loved it. But as I was not loving it much anymore, and actively finding how to close it. The travel kind of really led me because I didn’t end up travelling for like well over 10 years because of the wedding business. You know, I couldn’t go any further away from my business than like a week, for example. So hence the really long enjoyed. Break. And one thing that really struck me was that coming back to that whole, there was no brief that I wasn’t shooting for clients anymore. I was literally just going out with my camera, and it’s like, I have absolutely no plans. I don’t know where I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go straight out of my hotel room and either turn left or turn right. Either one, it’s going to be interesting. And so my early work I was thinking too much. So I was like trying to get absolutely every bit of detail in or you know, do the kind of sightseeing thing I think I went to the States basically. And spent a good couple of months there to begin with. So my first stop was San Fran, and you know, just kind of walking in and around Union Square and kind of around market and that type of thing. You’re trying to grab the whole feeling of San Francisco and so on and so forth. So the when it really struck me was when I flew into Chicago, and as you know, Australia doesn’t get a lot of snow. But it was it was in the dead of winter in Chicago. And to me this was new and exciting. Like I Sure, I’d locals there as like, Oh no, you know, I can’t go to work for weeks on end because of snow ins and, and things like that. But for me it was a playground. So I, the beauty of what happened there was, I didn’t have to think much anymore because the built huge blankets of snow minimalized every scene for me. So that’s how I started to see the the kind of simplification of it all. And I ended up getting a fool like this very first time that I actually walked down. Lake Michigan, it was I can’t remember exactly where it was, but it’s only about 500 metres down towards maybe a pier. And within that 500 metres or so I ended up getting a full exhibition, which I ended up exhibiting a number of years later, probably about three or four years, and it was called white. And it was just probably easily 19 to 24 images, just a really clean, beautiful, white images. And then that’s what really started to excite me, it’s like this is completely different from the wedding’s that I was doing. And that kind of led me down the road of just simplifying absolutely everything within a particular scene. So what I do now, and just to put this into words, is if I’m looking at Parkland, and with some buildings, for example, I don’t see a green hedge as a whole bunch of little bushes with leaves, and twigs and branches, all I see is a rectangle that is a building block for composition. So likewise, with a pole, I don’t see, you know, a timber tree trunk that had been shaped into a pole or whether it be metal or forward. All I see is a vertical line. And I use that straight line in in a composition. So I’m turning 3d complex visual elements into a really simple two dimensional image. And that’s basically all I do. Wow, yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  27:29  
How do you actually is there like, is there any, anyone that inspires you to do this kind of photo? Or is that that time in Chicago pretty much just transformed the way you look at things altogether?

Steve Scalone  27:48  
Yeah, it really did, there was one image. And I call it affinity. And it’s basically a white image. And it’s is a very small person walking through on a pathway with a couple of really tall buildings in the background. So that was the image that I guess got sold the most, and kind of won a few awards around that time, this probably would have been about 2012 2012, something like that. And that was really the defining point, that that kind of image set me on a path to really kind of continue down the realm of shooting and things like that. So the beauty of it is I was still photographing at that state level, and product photography and all that type of thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to actually incorporate architecture and interiors into my commercial work purely because it just felt like a really good synergy for the type of things that I was shooting for myself.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  29:07  
So it’s Wow, that’s quite interesting. And And before that, before that point in time, is mostly what, what type of photography do you do? Like, you know, between when you start that travel until you find that, that that time in Chicago? What is it more like just like a street photography and like documentary tuber, tuber thing?

Steve Scalone  29:33  
Yeah, for my own. The beauty of it is I definitely made more time for myself and that’s where the passion started coming back. I delve deeper into teaching. And I this is actually the one bit that I do regret, and this was for the money. But when I moved down here to Melbourne, I was actually subcontracting for other wedding photographers. So that was good. It was because I did. Because I was experienced in it, they didn’t have to worry about it absolutely anything. And it’s not that I’m a good wedding photographer, I just know how to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera. And I think that’s even more important than the photography tag. So it’s all about dealing with personalities and making them feel comfortable. That’s if you want to be an amazing wedding photographer, I think that’s far more important than the photography you actually take. Making people feel completely comfortable and open and trusted. So I was very good at that. And I guess I still am. Yeah, so that’s, it was great. Because all I had to do was kind of meet the bride and groom. Really get along with them have a whole heap of fun, and do their actual wedding handle the images back to the studio that I was subcontracting for and then kind of forget about it, it was, it was great. So I was doing that, knowing that it was a means to an end, it was kind of just like a stepping, stepping stone. At that same time, I was gathering my own work through architects, I was doing a lot of product back then as well. Not so much now at all. Yeah, but but a lot of product photography, which was great. I could easily set up a very small kind of product table, and just go at that it was very mindless. I do love product photography. Not I do love the the kind of whole advertising aspect of it. But these were just very mindless, you know, photograph hundreds of little glass vases or whatever it might be. So you get the lighting just right. And then you just kind of go left and right for about five or six hours, just photographing every single one. I love that type of work. It’s a no brainer. So yeah, I don’t even know if I answered that question.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  32:09  
Okay, so basically you try a whole bunch of stuff after, after that wedding. In putting product, I’m guessing. Cool. Yeah, yeah.

Steve Scalone  32:19  
Yeah, absolutely.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  32:21  
I guess. I want to talk a little bit about that project. 730 Street. That was such a fun project, something that really out of my comfort zone, I really don’t know, if I wanted to take that. Because I’m more of a nature and landscape photographer. And there’s more of urban and street photography. And I was I wasn’t sure how I feel about that. But I know that, you know, trying new things really like, like, you find things that you love, and you don’t like about new things. So that’s why I was like, You know what, I’ll just gonna jump on it. And I actually quite enjoy that street photography, side of, of the side, you know, street photography, genre side of it, and actually quite enjoyed a lot. And it was a really good for a good purpose as well. So do you want to share us a little bit more about what is project street 730 project? Is it projects 733 or projects? Three, seven.

Steve Scalone  33:36  
So we just call it project St. Now, because there was a lot of confusion about the 730. Which I’ll explain. I’ll explain. Yeah. Can I just say I, I do remember your image if it wasn’t like a wide angle, like a super wide angle? Almost like a 360 degree.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  33:56  
It was a fish. I

Steve Scalone  33:56  
had this hours of fisheye. Yes. And I’m so glad that you did that. Because I do hear a lot like about how terrified people are. And not just yourself, but everybody on the day, whether they’re kind of just, you know, just starting photography or seasoned professionals. I think everyone is kind of crapping their pants a little bit because there’s so much pressure and that’s great, but it’s fun pressure. Yeah. The way it all started was I was trying different things whilst living in Melbourne. So I was building up a good contact of other photographers and a great network was starting to become friends. And I made friends with a fashion photographer that she’s amazing. She’s, she’s kind of fashion slash stylist. And we were talking and I mentioned to her wouldn’t it be fun if we got one A model, one makeup artist and one designer. So those three didn’t change. And we got eight photographers. And we gave each other 20 minutes each, we locked each other out of the room. So nobody could see what we were doing. And let’s see how different the results were. And it was incredible. The, like all of us had, obviously the same model to work with the same gown, or the was more or less a kind of outfit. And it was great, absolutely great. Every single image was completely different. And I love the energy that that was producing, because everybody was really nervous. You know, they didn’t know what what they were going to do yet there was pressure was like 20 minutes. Are you kidding? Only 20 minutes. So when I was having a chat to Craig, which and so that’s kind of where the premise come from. And we didn’t really do too much more after that, for the fashion, kind of kind of realm. I think we call that eight to one. So eight photographers one model, essentially. So Craig, Gretchen and I are the co founders of project Street. And we have done. I’m going to say probably about eight cities, I could be wrong on that. We were meant to do Brisbane in 2020. But hence the Coronavirus and the kind of lock downs that have happened. We’ve still got everyone booked, we’re hopefully going to be starting that mid year, this year, if all goes well. And there’s vaccines that are working, and so on and so forth. So essentially what we did was get together and start this particular idea where we invite it, I only more or less wanted about 15 photographers because I was thinking trying to juggle 30 is incredible. But the what ended up happening, it was all for charity. So we was a non not for profit. If anything in the beginning, we were actually putting money into it, especially things like website registration and stuff like that. But basically, the two of us come from different parts of the realm. He So Craig, which is a very successful publisher, he he and is great with fundraising, where I come from a very logistical sort of realm where I was good with systems and running printers and computers and juggling people and things like that. So I don’t think I could have done it without him specially for the fundraising benefits of it all because that’s where his experience came in. And Craig is also a teacher of also a kind of tertiary teacher as well. So the two of us kind of got together, it’s like, yeah, this is fantastic. And so we started looking for

art galleries. And this one particular art gallery that we did really want was essentially $3,000 to hire for the two weeks, and so on and so forth. So that’s kind of where the 30 people sort of come along. It’s like, okay, we’re gonna charge $100 I think now it’s 120 booth specially when we were travelling. But yeah, basically, it’s essentially $100 You get to participate with this. All the printing and all the kinds of paper is donated, which is fabulous. I’m fortunate enough to be an Ilford ambassador, and kind of affiliated with Epson as well. So I kind of got them on board rather quickly, which is great. And now we’re all for it. Absolutely all for it. So never had a problem with the inks or the paper. Or even that the printers to operate it in many different cities, which was fabulous. Because yeah, that logistically that could have been really tricky. And it was a couple of times. But that’s why we I guess we kept it to small a two printers instead of large prints, so on and so forth, which was also a time based thing. So essentially, for those of you that don’t know what project Street is, we invite 30 photographers in one particular city to meet at 7:30am in the at one given location, pretty much just to meet each other, get a large group shot, and then essentially we disperse and try and get our best photograph within maybe about three to four hours. What happens then is we will reconvene back at either a gallery or the place where we’re going to be running the event. And it is later that night. And everyone’s encouraged to kind of work together to edit their one image, what they ended up doing is giving their image to me. And that whole process has had gotten better now. Now, it’s just like a dropbox link where you just upload and it all comes rushing to me, which is fabulous, where before it was just madly running around with USB sticks, and it just didn’t work. So essentially, once we have these 30 images are, by the way, Craig and I are also part of that, then we start to print them, and we print them for charity. So there’s already a whole bunch of people coming that night. And that starts at 7:30pm. So we’ve got this essential 12 hour gap where we need to photograph, print, hang, and then exhibit an auction every single image for the night. So once and we got pretty good at kind of getting donations from wine wineries, and you know, food and things like that. But essentially, what we did was at 730, we started auctioning off each piece. And all of it was done for charity. So normally, the charities that we invited, were either from either street homelessness, youth homelessness, even perhaps cancer research, things like that. So we would always try and get a representative to be there on the night with their own merchant facilities. So whoever kind of was the winning bid, on that night, they essentially get their image, we wrap it up for them, and then they pay the actual charity, then in there, the beauty of that is I didn’t want to kind of collect the money and then handle it and do all that type of thing. So that way, once the events over, it’s kind of over, which is, which is great. It didn’t work that way in the beginning, but that’s kind of how we we sort of worked on it throughout the years. And I think the first one we did, I could be wrong. I think it was 2017, which was in Melbourne.

And yeah, we just kind of kept going on from there. So it’s such a great cause. Because as you would have felt it’s so terrifying yet challenging. You’re scared but excited. You know, it’s all of these emotions in order to get the the kind of desired result that you’re after. And then when you see it finished, in that very same day, you kind of feel really great about yourself and inspired. And so that was kind of my premise for the whole thing, just complete satisfaction all around. And it’s like a win win for the greater good. It just Yeah, that’s great. So good

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  43:24  
boy, yeah, it’s, I mean, like the experience itself, just I don’t think I’ve ever shot that many photos in, in that, in that like really intense style, to be honest, it’s crazy. And the amount of hours that I was able to get is just crazy. It’s like from architecture to like this, like street, people that doing this funny stuff. And, yes, it’s really cool. And I really enjoy that actually, it really enjoy that. So yeah, thanks a lot for sharing that. And I think the one thing that I would, I would highly encourage other people to take away from this is to get out of your comfort zone, like, you know, try new things. Even though you might not like it at the end of the day shoe, you will find some sort of inspiration. And I I’ve been meaning to, if when I get a chance to travel around Asia again, where there’s a lot of people, because right here in a month, and there’s not many people at the moment. I’ve been wanting to kind of do a little bit more of that street photography and dwell into that a little bit. I found that quite interesting to observe just strangers doing what they doing and it’s always so natural to everyone. But when you watch it and you’re like, Wow, do I actually do that? It’s like it’s crazy.

Steve Scalone  44:59  
Yes, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. No, I think delving out of your comfort zone is such a healthy, healthy thing to do. Because once it’s all over your comfort zone is now so much wider. Yeah. And you feel far more comfortable to jump out just that little bit more,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:18  
ya know, for sure, for sure. It was That was definitely my, my introduction to street and urban photography, I don’t think I’ve ever

Steve Scalone  45:29  
fabulous, and your work was amazing. So well done.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  45:33  
I just shot a bunch of stuff and hoping this one turned out? Well, that’s what you do. Actually, the hardest thing out of that challenge was picking the one that was the hardest thing like, Yes, and I share that, you know, like, you’re, you come across this all the time, especially, for example, when you create exhibition or your photo book, and that was always a challenge of, you know, what’s gonna make it in there, and what’s not gonna make it in there. Let us share us a little bit of tips of, you know, how do you how do you find so, you know, for listeners out there, there might be a hobbyist that like, try to get a little bit more reach and send it to a newspaper, for example, or they just want to send it to this competition and see where, how far they’ve come and so forth. How, what sort of advice would you give them in, in actually curating the photo? That is best for for those particular theme or competition or so?

Steve Scalone  46:46  
Yes, ah, such a good question. You’re right on the good questions today. So, you’re right, I think the hardest job any photographer has, is choosing the one photo. Like, it’s like, why does it have to be one? Like, why can’t I supplied 12, so forth, it’s like, I can’t give this one up, so on and so forth. So a lot of my students really have that huge, huge dilemma as well. But I kind of make it an exercise, it’s like this is going to be the hardest thing, one of the hardest things that you do. So let’s kind of put it down into logistics, what I would do is number one, think about, or there’s probably three things that you should think of, number one is think about carefully where you want this one particular photo to go. So if people on the day at Project Street, were asking, or which one do you like, I’ve got three images here. There’s this one, there’s that one, and there’s that one, the first thing I would say is, number one, take your own emotion out of it. So that’s like, stop and step back. Number two, think about the motives of what you’re, you’re actually supplying the image for, in Project Street’s case, the images were to appear on somebody else’s wall. So a beautiful street portrait of somebody pouring coffee, for example, may not be as likely to get a higher price than perhaps something more a little bit architectural or something like that. So your motive, the second one is choose your motive very carefully. However, if it was for documentary competition, then that would be the one that you would end up choosing. And then number three, which I think’s the most important thing once you’ve made those two decisions, number three is bring your all your emotion back into it. And everybody has a couple of images where you you get excited just by looking at it. It’s almost like you can’t leave the photo alone, you’re opening it up in Photoshop, again, you’re kind of just zooming in at 800% and you just retouching it a little bit, you zoom it back out, and you’re just loving yourself sick over that image. So they’re the images that for some reason have really kind of connected with you. They more often than not will also reconnect strongly with somebody else. So that is also another thing to think about. But if it is like your most favourite image of your pet that you love daily, for example, or your kids or your grandkids, then it may not have that same bundled emotion to somebody else, because they’re not your grandkids, so on and so forth. But yeah, so those three things, so think about who is going to see it, think about the motive of why you’re supplying an image, take all of that emotion away. So those two decisions should be completely logical. And then you bring in your own emotion and go at it that way. That’s kind of how I choose images for awards, so on and so forth. In my point of view, because I am actually a judge at most of the major competitions as well, I would ask myself, what would a judge say about this image. And so I completely wipe my own emotion away from it, it’s not the compositions off on this, you know that the hand is in front of the face too much, or, you know, it’s slightly out of focus here, and it’s drawing the viewer away too much to that spot, that’s not good enough. So on and so forth. So even though you took six hours to wait there in the freezing cold to get just that one image, and that’s why you’re so emotionally attached to it. Anybody else that if you put yourself in a situation where you’re having your images judged, which is yet again, a very brave yet very strong thing I think everyone should do to increase your, your comfort zone.

Think about that the the person that’s judging it has no idea of the torture that you went through to get that image. So you’ve also got to remove that emotion away from it. So emotion removal is my biggest. Yeah, take that emotion away from it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  52:05  
That’s definitely the hardest. And like you say, like, you know, and you and you take a photo and you go through like, it’s like, sometimes that photo is just, well, the way I see it anyways, photo is like a metal, you know, like you you go through this experience, and you capture it. And that’s like, that’s my momento that I get to preserve for the rest of my life. Yeah. And sometimes Yeah, you’re right. It’s very difficult to take away that. That emotion of you taking it and it’s really hard not to be biassed. So yeah, really good advice. And, you know, how I decide my photo that day, I think I went from, like about 1000, or something like that to like, 500. And I was like, holy, and I was like, Okay, I want me to be like ruthless. And then after there’s still about about 100. And then, so I go from Wow, or to two star to three star to four star. And then why should I go to five star they still like 25 of the

Unknown Speaker  53:13  
just like, you see which one you like the most is like, okay, yeah, that’s like, that’s it? I’m pretty.

Steve Scalone  53:21  
Yes. Absolutely. That’s a great, yay, bringing in some really harsh kind of people. Usually it’s spouses. Spouses is like that. I don’t like that at all. They speak the truth, or at least my one does. Anyway.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  53:45  
That’s, that’s, that’s great. Advice and suggestion. So coming to our end to the podcast here, and I always ask this to all of people that I interviewed. If you were to have one thing, and that you could want advice that you could give other photographers out there now, it doesn’t matter if they’re beginner, advanced or intermediate. But what is the one advice that you feel most important to you? That you that you feel that it doesn’t matter where they are, or it doesn’t matter where they go? They should hear this one advice? What would that

Steve Scalone  54:31  
Ah, love it? Yeah, I’ve got it. It’s one that took me many years to stop doing and that’s to stop looking at other photographers work. So that yeah, that and I did that very early, like stopped looking at other photographers work. And the reason I do it, it may not work for everyone, but this is what I would ask everyone to try is you start looking at other influences. Like, for me, major influences are movies, music, I also play musical instruments as well. So that’s a huge part of what I do. I can kind of see sound. We’ll get into that, like colour and sound and stuff like that. But yeah, the biggest, what I discovered was my own work bit started becoming more unique. When I stopped looking at other people’s work. Yeah, so that’s my big, just try it, try it for, you need to give it a good block of time. Try it for about six months, and see where it had led you.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  55:44  
That’s, that’s very interesting. Because in my journey, you know, like early on on my stage, that’s all I did. And that’s where I realised if I need to make a change, because all my photos become an Instagram photo that everybody else takes just better. Yeah. And it has become a really a hard balance, I suppose. Finding that because other people photo can work as inspiration. But at the same time, it can give you this really close mindedness or what you should get. So very sure, Brian, you bring that up? Cool. Yeah. So thanks a lot for all that advice. And you want to share a little bit because you didn’t mention there about, you know, seeing sound and colour. So you want to like finish that point of people that?

Steve Scalone  56:46  
I know. Yeah. So I had been, I’m a bass player, and have been, since by early early teens. I’m terrible at it now. But I used to be quite good, because I don’t practice any. But one of my influences has never really been photographers anyway. Of course, there’s the greats that everybody loves. But essentially, I hear music, and can kind of associate sour colour. The only way I can really describe it is happy equals yellow, sad is blue, so on and so forth. So it is kind of a typical colour theory that I think we all know. But yeah, when I can kind of see it in real time when listening to music. And that kind of helps me put together a lot of colour sequences and so on and so forth. So yeah, that’s, that’s as far as I’m getting into that, because I don’t really know how to explain it properly yet. So without getting myself into too much trouble. Yeah. But try it. It’s right. It’s I kind of mixed those senses up.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  58:09  
That’s actually very true. I mean, you know, even when you just said, I feel like, you know, when you when you listen to, to a music, you there is there is a theme in mind of what that should be. what that should look like, as a picture. So that’s quite Yeah, I might actually try that. That’s very interesting. Yeah, it’s,

Steve Scalone  58:32  
it’s almost like meditating. Uh huh. So

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  58:37  
cool. Well, thank you very much for all of your wisdom and your, your advices as well as sharing your experience on, you know, the struggles and the successes and where you end up, you know, at the end of it, so that was great to hear all that and I’m sure the listeners would be ecstatic to know a little bit more about you and some more, some more of some more of your work or on the left. Where is the best how can they best find you?

Steve Scalone  59:13  
Yes, certainly. I’m so I’m, I’m trying to get better at social media. I think I don’t think I’ve posted on Instagram for months. So my website is Steve I also have a an online store, which is called small art And then there’s Project So when you do that, that will actually show you everything about every little city that we have gone to so far. Your works tucked away in there somewhere which is great.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  59:56  
Where’s your next project stream?

Steve Scalone  59:59  
Yes. Well, it’s it wasn’t meant to be up in Brisbane in April of 2020. So we’re hoping to get there around about the the June 2021. So everybody’s more or less locked in. We’re just waiting for, for things to settle down a little bit with a pandemic, before we kind of bring large groups of people together and things like that. Say, Yes,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:00:23  
one for a year. Is that Is that what you’re doing?

Steve Scalone  1:00:27  
We usually aim to yes, we’re hoping to get over to the States. Yet again, I think that will be well into 2022. We did have plans to actually do a web API, Project St. Which would have been amazing. So that is still on the cards. We just have to kind of wait till the world gets back to normal just a little bit. But yeah, we’ve done New Zealand. And we were hoping to do New Zealand again, once per year as well.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:01:01  
Awesome. Well, yeah. Thanks for being here. And that was great. Yeah, so we can’t thank you very much for tuning in. Thank you very much. Thanks to Steve for sharing all that advices, as well as insight on his journey. And it is quite interesting to hear a lot of that story. And also, there’s a lot of takeaway talk in there. So if you listen to this, so feel free to drop us a line and let us know, you know, if you find this helpful, you know, if you find this to be inspirational, or you know if you just find it to be educational altogether. Now. Yeah. If you tuning in on the podcast, I’ll see you next week. But if you’re in in YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe so that you get notified the next time I put a video out. And, Steve, thank you very much for being here again, to spare some of your time for being here and sharing your wisdom. That was amazing.

Steve Scalone  1:02:04  
Thanks so much, Stanley.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:02:06  
Thank you. All right. Well, thank you very much and until next time,


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