African born photographer, André Hoffman arrived in Newcastle in 2007 and was immediately taken by our city. We were blown away when one of our mates shared André’s video, One Day In Newcastle with us last week. So we tracked him down for a bit of an interview.
NL: Tell us about your company, Exile Creative. When did you start and how did you get into the business?
André: I started Exile Creative when I moved to Newcastle in 2007. I had been photographing weddings for a few years where I lived previously and I wanted to make my work a little more “official”. The work I have been doing has been centred around the wedding industry for a long time but I have a great passion for landscape and travel photography and I have tended to concentrate more on this in recent times. Having said this though, I still have a great love for wedding photography and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
I mainly do photography work but video has certainly been a part of the process. The videos that I have on line are not paid jobs but ones that I’ve put together for my own and others’ amusement. A lot of my work is on my website www.exilecreative.com.au or on the Exile Creative Facebook page.
NL: What makes a great image?
André: A great image is one that makes the person linger. It may contain emotion, colour, movement or just be completely simple. Traditional photography was all about a set of rules. This is not the case anymore and different things appeal to different people. If you can stop someone for a while and make them feel something, you’ve made a great image.
NL: Tell us about your favourite bit of gear
André: I shoot with Canon gear. I buy the best gear I can afford because I feel that if I’m out there making the effort to do the best I can, I need to make sure that the gear is the best I can afford. I recently bought a tripod head from Really Right Stuff and, right now, this is my favourite bit of gear. It’s really changed my approach to shooting on a tripod.
NL: What inspired you to create your latest video, One Day In Newcastle?
André: I moved to Newcastle in 2007 and I love it. It’s a fantastic place to live. The people are incredible. The weather is great and it is so beautiful. I guess I just wanted to celebrate the way I see Newcastle. I have a lot of friends all over the world and it’s hard to put it into words when they ask me what Newcastle is like. Now they can see a few things for themselves. I’ll have to incorporate a few of the beaches in my next clip this summer!
NL: Do you have a favourite place to shoot in Newcastle?
André: Most people who see my work comment on how much time I spend down at Merewether. I love it there. It delivers such a vast array of emotion. I’ve seen it all. From massive storms to peaceful, calm sunny days. The baths and pump house are constants that take the full force of all the elements and that seems to ground me in a weird way.
NL: What’s your top 5 must sees for people who’ve never been to Newcastle before…
1. Nobby’s break wall (Either a walk out to the end or at very least a view of it from Fort Scratchley)
2. Merewether baths, beach and surfhouse
3. Hickson street lookout over Glenrock
4. ANZAC walk…walking down to Bar beach
5. The lookout from the Obelisk or Strzelecki
NL: Where should people who are new to drones start if they’re keen to get into it?
André: The best would be to ask someone who has one and might let you have a go.
You really have to decide what you want to do and how much you want to spend in order to achieve that. Do you want to do video, photos and what quality do you want? Do you want the drone to have “follow me” capabilities? I would suggest spending as much as you can but not so much that you won’t want to fly the drone where you intended because you’re afraid of losing it.
DJI makes drones for all levels and even the lower end models will deliver great results. You can spend $1k on a drone with a great little 1080p camera right up to $10k that will carry a DSLR and do a whole bunch of amazing things. Make sure your model has a gimbal if you’re doing video!
Above all, be smart about where you fly. At the moment the rules are quite relaxed but the more you annoy people or fly dangerously, the faster the rules will restrict what we’re allowed to do. Be aware of the fact that if you do silly things, you’ll not only mess it up for yourself but the drone community too.
To find out more about André visit his website – exilecreative.com.au