13 Apr Through a Photographer’s Eye: Chris Hopkins

Source: Fujifilm X Blog

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Through a photographer’s eye is the first in a series of interviews featuring Australian photographers. In each interview, we learn about the person behind the camera and how they use Fujifilm X Series cameras to photograph the world around them. Our sixth interview is with Melbourne based photographer, Chris Hopkins.

Portrait of Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Michael Coyne © 2016

Portrait of Chris Hopkins. Photograph by Michael Coyne © 2016

Chris, can you tell us how you got started in photography and what the visual medium means to you? 

I travelled a lot in my twenties. I spent 6 years travelling around the world, but Africa got to me visually. I decided (prematurely!) that I wanted to be a wildlife photographer and upon returning home to Melbourne with no career my partner encouraged me to enrol in a photography course. I was then accepted into Melbourne’s Photography Studies College. I did studio classes and learned about the history of photography but it was seeing the work of the masters of photojournalism like; Sebastiao Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson, James Nachtwey and Marcus Bleasdale that hooked me.

The visual impact these guys images had, particularly their composition and ability to tell a story within a single frame resonated in me and my passion grew from there. In a society that is oversaturated with images, I still feel that quality photojournalism is the most powerful tool to convey a message whilst documenting history. As visual storytellers, I feel it is our duty, to use our skills to tell the story of those that otherwise couldn’t. The ability of an image to change policy and make the world a better, safer place is why I love photojournalism.

 

Recently you photographed a series of portraits of Melbourne’s homeless, tell us why did you find it important to document this and how did you go about crafting this visual story? 

I photographed the series ‘Streeties’ after a small batch of homeless set up a makeshift protest camp in Melbourne’s City Square. They set up the camp in response to the tabloid media’s misrepresentation of the homeless; painting them as violent, drug users and a danger to society. This witch hunt led to the police ‘cleaning up’ the streets, leaving the genuine homeless with nowhere to go. I am a stringer for Getty Images and Fairfax Media and around that time I was on shift for The Age newspaper and felt…

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