Growing up in a family where art and photography played a huge part in her everyday life, Renee Stamatis loved the smell of paints and brushes that were often found lying around the house. As much as she has enjoyed drawing and painting, her devotion was not absolute, until she found photography. The Melbourne-based photographer/artist has since elevated her craft to the next level by telling stories of people through photography.
“I discover what you can do in the darkroom, what you shoot and the way you make it look afterwards. There’s something there that’s immediate and real, and there’s a way that you can morph that and create something of your own,” she said.
Renee began by photographing her friends. She listened to the stories of their lives, and observed things close to their heart – things that defined their identities. Renee’s work covered everything from products, lifestyle, events, and bridal to fashion. She loved all of them, but nothing compared to the portraits she created.
Music has been a great influence on Renee’s life too, thanks to her partner, who is a musician.
“One of my projects involves photographing the artists he brings on tour,” Renee explains. From United States to Australasia, Renee travelled alongside the artists. It gave her the opportunity to photograph them, forge quality relationships, and create their idiosyncratic identities through photography.
And what determines a good photograph? “It can be a series of photos, or just one powerful image that can take your breath away,” she explains. Strong portraiture captures the essence of the subject, unique and evoking, a picture that has a story to tell. By using that, Renee continues to create the identities of her subjects through her lenses, helping them tell a story that sometimes only photography can.