Photography is a second career for Bonnie after fifteen years working in design, giving her the chance to get away from the desk and explore Italy's south. Her work features in our annual SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photography Award exhibition, opening in Melbourne on 2 November.
Escaping to Italy’s south to find simplistic beauty in Puglia was my dream shoot.
From basking on the rocky Adriatic coastline, purchasing bunches of ripe tomatoes dangling from a local farmer's vesper to an authentic stay in a 16th Century Apulian Masseri that was originally owned by the imperial family.
Background on yourself, education, work history:
A gift of a Minolta SLR at a young age was the spark that created my love of photography, but it wasn’t until a re-focus of a career in the design industry for over 15 years, as well as a burning desire to take flight and escape to the other side of the world, brought me back to my true passion of photography, culinary culture and travelling the globe capturing nature’s beauty.
My travel and lifestyle photography is inspired by experiences; truffle hunting in Provence, visiting the lavender fields overlooked by the asylum where Vincent Van Gogh stayed in France, to climbing the Pine covered Mountains of Kyoto seeking out secluded restaurants perched above running rivers, visiting the weird and wonderfully textured produce markets of Hong Kong to taking a food pilgrimage of Apulia’s regional food culture.
Currently I am working in the industry mainly shooting food photography as well as lifestyle and travel photography.
What motivates you to pick up a camera?
A natural instinct to create and capture beauty.
How did the shoot for this series come about?
It came about after reading a book on the history of food culture in Italy. I was taken by the allure of the forgotten heel of the country and how completely opposite the region is in respect to the rest of Italy: with sun-weathered exterior, white washed buildings, crumbling limestone cliffs set against bold colours from summer umbrellas and bougainvilleas in full-bloom. I was drawn to the beauty and history of the Masseria Potenti, which is still a working farm today.
What was your experience on the day?
This was shot over a week due to scale of the region. The overwhelming heat and the blaring sun was a challenge and an experience in its self!
What were your thoughts on the results?
I wanted to capture the harsh contrasting light, the bold colours and the essence of the place in summer time. It wasn’t until I was there that the graphic shadows of the Aloe plants and angular buildings jumped out at me. The bales of hay and the lonely chair had been left over from wedding festivities the night before.
Does the series differ from your usual work and if so in what way?
My usual work is mainly shooting food; travel and lifestyle photography is where I bring my love of researching cultures and planning in to action.
Website address: www.bonniecoumbe.com
At SUNSTUDIOS Sydney until 17 October.
The 2018 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award opens in Melbourne on 2 November.
95 Buckhurst St, South Melbourne VIC 3025
Open until 23 November 2018.