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charliedunks

Interview with Charles Duncombe

Interviews

26 March 2015

Posted by Sally Hart

Hi Charles! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

I'm an amateur photographer who's full-time gig is working on Australian Television as a Promo Producer. I am always looking for ways to communicate visually and have been drawn to photography primarily by it's immediacy. Nearly all decisions and artistic deliberation has to be done before you take the shot. What excites me is that this window of opportunity for decision making is sometimes only mere seconds, "blink and you'll miss it" kind of stuff. I like that, it makes each shot you do manage to get seem precious. For the past year I have been travelling the world taking photographs. It has been fun.

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

AActually, a cool/weird moment happened when I was taking the "Bull Runner's Prayer" photo below. I was above the small San Fermin statue in Pamplona which sits in a niche in the wall. It is the statue that the bull runners sing/pray to before the run for good luck and protection. In order to get the shot I had to lean over the barricade above. I started leaning over to get a more "bird's eye" view and then felt hands on my belt to steady me, allowing me to lean forward more. Once I got the shot I leant back and turned around to see who had helped out and these two darling, short, middle aged spanish women are looking up at me (I stood a good 2/1/2 feet taller than them!) giggling to each other in Spanish, of which I understood very little. I showed them the shot and they were chuffed to have helped. It was a cool moment.

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AI usually shoot on a Canon KissX4 (eos 550d) with Tamron lenses. I like Tamron. Their quality to price ratio is fantastic. Lately though I have been getting into micro 3/4 via the way of a Lumix G6. The weight/size differences (compared to DSLR) are a huge positive, especially when travelling. Also, the flip out screen on the Lumix G6 is a must. It allows you to get really creative angles, and is a blessing for sneaky street photography.

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

AFocus on composition and learn all you can about light, both natural and staged.
Don't get too bogged down in who has the best brand, most megapixels, or biggest sensor. Learn what makes a good photo first.
Constantly devour good photography.
Oh and find interesting subjects! An average shot of something really friggin' cool will be more worthwhile than a technically perfect shot of something really boring.

'This is a hard question! But I'd have to say that "India's Next Cricket Superstars" is my favourite shot. I was visiting a friend in Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi. He wor... Read more

'This is a hard question! But I'd have to say that "India's Next Cricket Superstars" is my favourite shot. I was visiting a friend in Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi. He worked in an orphanage there and we got a game of Cricket going with the kids. I had a couple of turns at both ball and bat then took a break to get some candid shots from the sidelines. I love this photo for the emotion it conveys, both from the winners celebrating but also from the batsman. He's the one looking dejected in the middle of frame after being told to take a walk. Kid's can be so cruel!' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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'Man can these guys move! I was sitting ring side in Pamplona as part of the San Fermin festival and had the goal to capture some of those real "hold your breath moments" that t... Read more

'Man can these guys move! I was sitting ring side in Pamplona as part of the San Fermin festival and had the goal to capture some of those real "hold your breath moments" that the bull dodging events are known for. In this image the man has just let go of a red cloth, it is still in mid-air behind him. In this moment he is hoping the bull will go for the cloth, giving him time to scamper to safety!' Read less

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'This was taken in a church courtyard in Peru. From across the courtyard I could see the boy was having so much fun with the birds and I was lucky enough to capture his exciteme... Read more

'This was taken in a church courtyard in Peru. From across the courtyard I could see the boy was having so much fun with the birds and I was lucky enough to capture his excitement in this frame. Just after I took the shot his father collected him and if I was 5 seconds later there'd have been no photo.' Read less

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'Before the bulls are released to run through the streets of Pamplona as part of the famous San Fermin festival, the bull runners gather around a small statue of Saint Fermin. T... Read more

'Before the bulls are released to run through the streets of Pamplona as part of the famous San Fermin festival, the bull runners gather around a small statue of Saint Fermin. They pray to it for good luck and protection. I only just managed to acquire a spot right above the statue, having gotten there at 3.30am (the shot was taken around 7am). I was able to get the birds eye view by leaning right over the barrier, and was counterweighted by some friendly locals. The newspapers the men are holding will be used when they run in front of the bull to draw the bulls attention.' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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'In the middle of the Bolivian outback there is a rail crossing with nothing around for miles and miles (and miles). I loved the familiarity of the stop sign against the sparse ... Read more

'In the middle of the Bolivian outback there is a rail crossing with nothing around for miles and miles (and miles). I loved the familiarity of the stop sign against the sparse remoteness of the environment.' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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'There is a building nearby KL tower that at night turns their rooftop helipad into a bar! How cool is that! Anyway, from this helipad I was awarded an amazing view of the KL To... Read more

'There is a building nearby KL tower that at night turns their rooftop helipad into a bar! How cool is that! Anyway, from this helipad I was awarded an amazing view of the KL Tower. As dusk came on, the sky started producing some astonishing, surreal colours and patterns. It created an environment where the KL tower building looked more like an alien spacecraft of sorts, especially when confined tightly in frame.' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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'I met this guy (and lil' guy) crossing train tracks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was polite enough to let me take his picture. I love how hard the monkey is rocking his Hawaiian s... Read more

'I met this guy (and lil' guy) crossing train tracks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was polite enough to let me take his picture. I love how hard the monkey is rocking his Hawaiian shirt.' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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'I love the lines in this picture. Firstly the symmetry that the bent over paddy workers create by working in a line, but then also how this symmetry is thrown off balance by th... Read more

'I love the lines in this picture. Firstly the symmetry that the bent over paddy workers create by working in a line, but then also how this symmetry is thrown off balance by the brown path above. I also tried to convey a sense of space by having the rice paddy extend past the edge of frame.' Read less

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Charles Duncombe

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