It was during a trip to Western Australia that Brett McIntosh fell in love with photography.
He’d dabbled in video recording and studied photography at TAFE when he left school, but never imagined it would one day become a career and a true passion, one that would see him win multiple awards for his stunning work.
“I didn’t have any particular talent for photography,” he says. “But after my TAFE course I did a trip over to WA and I took my camera. It was a surfing trip and we were camping a lot of the time in really remote places in the north of Western Australia. That’s probably where my love of photography developed.
“I was just capturing the sun setting over the ocean and it would light up all of the landscape this beautiful orange colour. This real raw, rugged coastline with all these yellows and oranges in the rocks; that’s what really sparked my interest in trying to capture that with some waves or surfing shots in the background.”
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Based in Coolum with his wife and two kids, Mr McIntosh is the Artist in Focus at this year’s Immanuel Arts Festival, where he’s won many awards during his 10 years as a professional photographer.
“I’ve won some firsts and some seconds and I’ve been Artist in Residence in the past,” he says.
“It’s the biggest art show on the Sunshine Coast as far as I know and it’s a great platform for the art community to display their work.
“As Artist in Focus, there will be a bit more of a showcase of my work as you walk in through the front doors and I’ll be there to say hello to people and chat about my work, which I love to do. People really appreciate having that one-on-one with the artist.”
An intense richness of colour and detail is something that really stands out in Mr McIntosh’s photos. He achieves this using high dynamic range or HDR photography, a technique that combines a series of exposures of the same subject, mashing them together to produce a vivid image. He spends many hours working on one image to create the finished product – usually of iconic Sunshine Coast landscapes.
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“HDR is what I initially started doing, but I’ve diversified a lot over the years in the way I capture my photos,” he says. “I’m not so structured in the methods I use. It depends on the scene as to the technique I apply. I use a combination of filters and other times it will be doing some HDR. Sometimes it will just be a straight shot and it will be perfect.
“A lot of my popular photos are sunrises, but also those really nice, beachy days when the weather conditions are perfect for a daytime photos. It’s usually in the middle of winter, after it hasn’t rained for a while and the clarity of the water is there. I try to capture those scenes, as well as a good sunset or sunrise, with lots of colour and interest in the sky. I compose photos with interest in the whole scene and I include a lot of detail.”
Mr McIntosh grew up on the Sunshine Coast and while photography wasn’t on the curriculum where he attended school in Mountain Creek and Kawana, he loved taking his video camera to the beach to capture surfers. But at that point in his life, he never imagined photography could become a career and had 14 different jobs before he found the right path.
He displays his work in two galleries – Seaview Artists Gallery at Moffat Beach and Peace of Green in Maleny – with most of his clients coming through his home studio. His goal is to one day have his own gallery, but for now he’s busy raising his young family and scouring the Coast for that perfect, one-in-a-million shot.
“My drive for landscape photography is to capture something beautiful for people to look at,” he says. “We have so many beautiful iconic locations on the Sunshine Coast and that’s what drives me to try to capture those iconic locations in the best possible way and in the best possible conditions and light.
“I like creating images that have the ‘wow’ factor. That’s my drive for creating what I create and getting an artwork into someone’s house that’s beautiful and can brighten up their day.”
Meet Brett McIntosh and other artists at Immanuel Arts Festival, May 19 to 22. Visit immanuelartsfestival.com.au for more information.