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Daniel Sortino, Melbourne-based photographer and graphic designer, captures breathtaking images. He uncovers the raw, yet stunning city of Melbourne, paying careful attention to every detail. The magical shots taken at different times of the day evoke something special in each of his images. Culture Trip caught up with this rising talent to find out what’s life like through the lens of Daniel Sortino.
How did you get into photography?
I did photography through high school and really enjoyed it. I learnt on film cameras and loved the process of developing the film and printing photos in the dark room. I then went on to study photography at RMIT University.
What inspires you?
Clean, simple design and architecture inspires me. I’m really inspired by things where the end result is very minimalistic and looks simple but underlying is a very complex attention to detail. The simplest things are often the hardest to achieve. I also love the interiors of modern art galleries for this reason, for example the interior of the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square.
What is the inspiration behind your Instagram handle?
I have odd days off that rarely align with friends, and I found myself mostly doing nothing when I was off work. So one day I decide to take my camera and walk the city. I hadn’t been out shooting what I enjoyed for so long. After that I made a decision that for a year I would take at least one photo each week and upload it to Instagram. It quickly reignited my passion for photography and I am now shooting all the time.
Has Instagram changed the way you photograph?
Yes, I think it has. If I look back to when I started posting regularly, my style has definitely changed and also improved. There is always something in my feed that will inspire a change in style for me and also challenge me to step outside my regular photography every now and then. I love Instagram for that.
Yes, Instagram is a great platform where you can cohesively display a body of work. It is easy to share on other social platforms, and also it’s easy to direct others to your work. It is also more instant than a website, which you may update only every month or so. I post regularly on Instagram because of the ease of doing so and also the reach it has.
Who is your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
I love the work of Andrew Griffiths, his work is technically brilliant. He takes aerial photographs of Melbourne. I love seeing his photos come up in my feed, they are from a perspective that I would love to shoot from myself. His photos are always shot at dawn or dusk (the magic hours), when it’s dark enough for the artificial city lights to expose in your photo but also light enough to render detail in the shadows of the photo, making for a better exposure and end-result.
Whose work influences you? And what is it about their work that captures your attention?
Street style photography influences me the most, things like playing with shallow depth of field, harsh lighting and color balance are a huge part of this style, I find it very creative and it inspires me to be more creative with my photography. I follow closely the work of Connor Vaughan and Julian Lallo.
Across multiple photos, is there an underlying message or a meaning you try and convey within your work?
No, I just like to explore my city, seeing it at sunrise, sunset, night and day, experiencing it in different light is very rewarding, especially living in Melbourne.
How do you find subjects that you want to take photos of? For example, do you travel to locations you know you’ll find appealing, or take pictures as you experience life?
Most of my photos are taken during dawn, dusk, sunrise and sunset. I will often walk the city during the day scouting for locations to shoot at those magic hours. I make a list of places to shoot and tick them off as I achieve what it is I am after at a location. I will normally go out with a set plan of where I am going to shoot; rarely will the planned shot be the shot I end up with. Once I am out there shooting, the lighting really determines what I will end up photographing. Most of my best photos have been opportunistic.
Among all your photos, which are your favorites?
Some of my favorite photos have been taken from Eureka Skydeck, it’s awesome up there, especially during sunset. MIRROR / RORRIM and EUREKA DAWN II are among my favorites. Although I am really happy with how LIQUID GOLD turned out, I shot this when I was at the Docklands at sunset taking a photo of the Bolte Bridge (BOLTE) to enter into a competition. LIQUID GOLD was inspired by the photography of Warren Keelan, he takes some amazing long exposure photos of waves, and I love the manipulation of a fundamental element of photography to achieve a creative outcome.
What would you say to anyone looking to get into the field of photography?
Get out there as much as possible, experiment with different shutter speeds and apertures and compare the results, know your camera, make mistakes and most of all enjoy yourself.