WHAT makes a good photographer is the “million dollar question” says Alan Place.
“I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that!” laughs the Corbally man.
“It is so subjective. There are so many different styles and genres - we all see the world in a different light. Some people just have an amazing eye, are great with colour, have an ability to capture the energy of a scene. Others are technically brilliant and you’d need a maths degree to understand what they are doing.
“I guess anybody with an urge to create and make images is a good starting point. You’re constantly learning and evolving. Your tastes and interests will change and there's always new challenges,” said Alan.
These are his favourite six but he says if you asked him in a couple of months they could be very different.
Born and raised in Shannon Banks, school did not capture his imagination.
“I struggled to really know what I wanted to do when it was over apart from get clear of it. My stepdad, Eamonn Andrews, is a photographer who had a studio and printing lab in town. There were always cameras and lenses around the house from a young age. I would mess around with these and have absolutely no clue as to what any of it meant, the numbers, the buttons, the lights and never really thought to ask until towards the end of school.
“I showed a little interest but I think it was the type of photography he was involved with - weddings and schools - that didn’t appeal to me. I expressed an interest in press or art photography and Eamonn introduced me to Liam Burke.”
Alan joined Liam and the team at Press 22 straight out of secondary school in 1996.
“I was a general office gofer. I quickly learned no two days or two rolls of film were the same. You never knew what you had when you were handed film to develop; where you might end up from one end of the day to the next or who you might meet.
“There was a constant stream of new people - athletes, farmers, musicians, actors, doctors, politicians, cops and robbers and everything in between. It was quite an adventure and it hooked me in, that diversity really appealed to me.”
After nine years at Press 22, Alan emigrated to Australia in 2005 where he further matured and grew as a photographer.
“I was lucky to land some freelance work with a family run publishing company called FPC Courier, which ran several titles across the different regions of Sydney, East, West, Northern, Central, Southern and I could work across all these on any given day. It was a real introduction to Sydney and its many different cultures. Not long in, I was offered a staff position which I jumped at.
“These publications were eventually taken over by News Corp and their policy was one photographer per publication so I was appointed onto the Wentworth Courier - the flagship masthead which covered the Eastern Suburbs. Bondi Beach was at its heart - what a playground.
“Sadly News Corp recently axed nearly a 100 regional and community titles from print media, moving some titles online and completely axing several titles.”
In 2010, there was no place like home. Alan married Gillian Bromell from Lee Estate and they have two beautiful children, Charlie, aged 10, and Alannah 7. They live in Corbally.
After coming home, Alan had a brief flirtation with sports photography, returned to Press 22 for a couple of years before going freelance to this day.
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