Another new category in the Image Quest 2019 that was open to huge interpretation was the RAW category. We spoke to Krystle Wright to get a photographer’s view on the challenge that was set, how best to overcome it, and what it feels like to have an image published that has come straight out of camera!
Now you’re a semi-finalist, describe what the ‘RAW’ Category means to you…
When I first began in photography, my thought process behind certain images was that I could always tidy it up later, whether that was applying a small crop or enhancing the curves. One of my mentors quickly stamped out this lazy habit and taught me that a great photographer is one who can shoot as much in frame as possible and therefore minimalist editing would be needed aside from the fact a RAW image must always be processed. The RAW category I believe embodies the spirit of photography and documentary where I wish only to be a 'fly on the wall' and document moments that unfold in front of me and shoot with the conscious thinking to consider every inch that I decide to frame in that moment.
In your words, what type of photographer are you?
I often find myself describing my work as an artist. From working as a photojournalist and seeking out the unscripted natural moment, I also work as an artist by collaborating with athletes at times to create specific ideas, and therefore a scripted moment. I enjoy the challenges of working on these two particularly opposing methods.
How does it feel to have a completely un-edited image published?
I think it’s a great initiative as it strips away any distractions and returns to the foundation. I appreciate all the forms of photography and the unlimited imagination that individual artists bring to the table. I think the greatest images that have resonated with me the most are moments that feel raw, unscripted and appear as if they are untouched.
What was the biggest challenge in capturing this photo?
It had been 5 years since my tandem paragliding accident in northern Pakistan. I had long dreamed of returning and wanting to fly back above the majestic Karakoram Range. During our three week stay in Hushé, the weather pattern this time was much more volatile and making it increasingly difficult to successfully get into thermals and soar above the Karakoram. This was the only day we were able to stay in the sky all afternoon and as the sun began to lower, I was just in an ecstatic state watching the dramatic shadows grow and capturing my friends Tom De Dorlodot, Horacio Llorens and Hernan Pitocco fly in such magic light. There is so much out of my control when flying in a tandem paraglider. Ferdi Van Schleven is an incredible pilot to work with as I lack the skills to fly solo but also the reality that I am far too excited to be taking images when I am in the sky. I would describe to him where I wanted to be in relation to the other pilots but a lot of it comes down to luck that we line up in the right place and the right time. There were many images in this sequence where Tom is lost in the frame but this one stands out.
Do you shoot analogue, or are you regularly making images that require less digital enhancement?
I work with my Canon digital cameras as I learned in the era when everything was switching over to digital. However, I do dream to source a film camera that I can work with when I feel the freedom to create without any expectations or involvement from clients and create just to create. Plus returning to film would also force me to work on skills and not rely on the latest technology. Even though I will always have my digital camera, I find myself throughout my career in wanting to experiment and change things up from time to time to see whether it alters my creative process. But ultimately as I work with digital, I desire to do minimalist digital enhancement as it means less time on the computer.
Do you always have your camera with you?
No, not always. It’s quite often that I miss moments that I feel the desire to capture in a photograph, however I also want to be selfish and keep that image entirely to myself. Sure, there is the chance I will forget this moment since the memory works in weird and wonderful ways. But I love those days when a memory spontaneously comes back to me and I don't believe in sharing every single special moment. Some are meant to be held close to the heart.
What’s next for you, and where can we find more of your work?
I'm excited to wind down after a rollercoaster of a year. I realize that I need to create more space and downtime in my life in order to be more creative and develop bigger ideas to pursue. I am excited for 2020 and to continue to evolve as an artist.
Discover more of Krystle’s work on: