By Amelia Rigby
Perth native Dexter Wright (@dexter_wright) is a 16-year-old film photographer with, by far, the coolest Instagram around. He always has his hair in a bun and a camera around his neck, ready to capture any natural image that presents itself.. The photography on his Instagram account clearly only scratches the surface of his talent. The organic, emotional quality of his photographs is something difficult to recreate. Each photo is personal, clearly capturing an moment unique to the photographer’s experience of youth.
The film quality of each photo adds to the authenticity of the moment with the viewer able to feel the golden haze, and carefreeness of the Aussie youth experience. Dexter always has an element of bright colour within his photographs to make them eye-catching and mesmerising. He often combines this with emotions of humans, letting whoever views his photographs, really feel the vibe and type of electricity that is presented in them. Like the photographer Jake Elko (@lordelko) they both draw parallels between colour and human emotion. I sat down with Dexter over a cup of coffee to discuss what draws him to photography, the inspiration behind his pics and his love of film.
What drew you to photography?
Being able to capture a moment that you can keep forever and at the same time, play with ideas and metaphors behind images, has always been beautiful to me.
What camera do you use and why do you use that model?
I use a Nikon fe2, I bought the camera second hand off gumtree when I was twelve because my brother told me it was a good deal. I took it into a camera house in Fremantle to get them to teach me how to use it.
Once I knew the basics, I took it to a festival called Boom Box Bike Fest. I took two rolls of film there and the next day I got them developed. I immediately loved the fact that you had no idea how the images would turn out, weather it would look good, whether it was worth saving and if it was worth all the trouble. As soon as I got the pictures back, I became obsessed with the colour, the quality, and the character each photograph held within it. I have been using film ever since.
Why film and not digital?
Anybody can grab a digital camera and take three hundred photos and end up with a few good ones. When you use a film camera, you have to make sure what you’re taking the photograph of is worth using the film, has the correct lighting, right focus and basically looks wicked. Then, you get all the excitement of receiving the developed photos and seeing what you have managed to capture. It has always appealed to me way more than the easy digital way.
Where are you from? And do you think that growing up there inspired you to take photographs and be creative?
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia and I do think that growing up next to the beach has always made me really appreciate the beauty of the ocean, and the environment of my home. I think that’s why I have always loved taking photos at the beach.
What are your favourite things to photograph?
People. I have always found that film always looks best when the photograph is of a person rather than an object. If I were to shoot a photograph of a landscape, I would get my friends to stand among it to provide more colour to my shots.
What is eye-catching to you when you’re trying to figure out/ get the shot?
Intense colour of some sort, maybe a cool dressed person or a bright car. It doesn’t really matter as long as when you look at it through the viewfinder, you are drawn to it a little. That’s when you know you will have a decent photograph.
What do you want people to feel when they view your photography?
I hope they feel some sort of happiness when they look at my photos, I want them to feel like they experienced the moment captured in the shot. This is the main reason I like to get photographs of people laughing, it feels uplifting when you see the shot.
What inspires you to be creative?
Mainly the people around me inspire me to be more creative than before. I see friends and I can imagine what they could wear, where they could be photographed and what they could be doing that would look really cool on film. Also, I love the feeling I get when a roll of film is developed and I get my shots back, they always inspire me to be more creative and to get crazier shots. I always try a little harder each time to capture the perfect image.
Follow @dexter_wright on Instagram for more of his work!