For every holiday or momentous occasion, a camera is a regular attendee. Daily, we are bombarded with various forms of imagery. From advertising to editorials, photographs besiege us.
Many take for granted the seemingly simple act of clicking the shutter-release button on a camera. But the still it captures tells the world a story. It is a realization of the image-taker's vision.
The late American writer Susan Sontag (who was also the partner of influential fashion photographer, Annie Leibovitz) in her text 'On Photography' describes the 'photographer' as an "armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes.”
Photographs are an intimate form of artistic expression. The person controlling the camera selects the subject, the framing, the angle and, most critically, the moment. For commercial photographer Connie Puntoriero, photography is her raison d'être.
"Photography isn't simply a job for me; it's my life. I am consumed by imagery. If I'm not shooting a commission, I'm shooting travel, blogs, food, every day movement and so much more. I act as a location scout everywhere I go. All around me is a chance to find new people to shoot; to capture a small part of the world as it moves," she explains.
With her advertising work appearing in some of Australia's most coveted fashion publications, including Vogue and Russh, Puntoriero is in fierce demand.
NSS managed to score an interview with the incredibly talented, Gold Coast-based photographer to talk more about her photography and creative appetite for being behind a lens.
Q: Connie, how long have you been taking photographs for?
A: My mother bought me and my sister a camera to share when we were 10. I have always loved taking photos, but only began taking them professionally 12 years ago. I started out working in photojournalism and my photography has evolved from there.
Q: Have you always had a passion for photography? When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
A: Photography has always been on my brain! An old school friend I connected with on Facebook recently reminded me that I had told him in primary school I wanted to be a photographer 'when I grew up'! I laughed as I had completely forgotten it was my childhood dream! I didn't purposefully pursue photography as a career; it just happened. I followed the lead of things that were put on my path and here I am.
Q: Tell us about some of your recent work.
A. I have been working on some amazing magazine editorials in the past few months; tuning into my creative vibe! I am also putting together an exhibition called "In the Raw", featuring raw images I have shot with models with no hair and make-up over the last decade. One of these images was recently exhibited in the DUO Magazine Portrait prize earlier this year.
Q: What fuels the inspiration behind your photographic works? What keeps your drive for photography alive?!
A: At the moment I am unfortunately inspired by a broken heart! But any strong emotion that you feel creates a spark which gives you the ability to create intensely emotive images . As you experience different things in life that are close to your heart, you draw the inspiration you need to capture powerful imagery.
Q: How do you go about styling, framing and composing your shots?
A: I'll admit I'm a bit of a control freak, as I see the whole concept in my head so very clearly. Let's just say I play quite a large role in the production of the whole shoot!
Q: Describe your photographic style/vision.
A: I'm definitely inspired by the '40s and '50s. I love blending this look with a modern feel. It's important for me to get sex appeal into my shots. I love sexy images.
Q: How do you know when you've nailed a shot?
A: It all happens so quickly, but when you see that emotion in the picture you just know it’s the one.
Q: Black & white or colour?
A: For me it's either really, really bright, bold colours or black and white.
Q: In studio or on location?
A: I always prefer location, location, location! There is much more going on and to interact with. Something random always pops up that makes the images better.
Q: You shoot quite a bit of fashion…. what attracts you to it?
A: It's not so much the fashion itself, but the perfection of it and how it adds to the overall feel and look of an image. But I don’t just shoot fashion; I love to shoot anything and everyone all the time!
Q: Who would you say has been your most interesting photographic subject thus far?
A: I just shot with Tyla Green and, oh my, he is the perfect subject! To me he is like the 'picture perfect' man; the image that sits beside the bed (laughs)! He was a hoot to work with as well!
Q: Who are your photographic influencers?
A: From the moment I started looking at the work of Ellen Von Unwerth, I was truly and completely inspired.
That said, I'm also influenced by real people shooting raw images with their mobile phone. It's inspirational seeing people being real and full of raw emotion.
Q: What messages do you try to communicate through your photographs?
A: That a woman's sex appeal is hers to have. I'm about empowering women to use sex appeal as a strength they should play to.
Q: When people look at your photos, what do you want them to feel?
A: Sexy in love!
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