Spain on Film: Lucy Spartalis

As a photographer, Lucy Spartalis is in an enviable position. She has managed to balance a successful career in professional photography with her own creative passions

As a photographer, Lucy Spartalis is in an enviable position. She has managed to balance a successful career in professional photography with her own creative passions. On one hand, she is a professional wedding photographer and, on the other, she has her own creative outlet of expressive, personal photography. Spartalis, who studied photography in Adelaide at the Centre for Creative Photography,found her start as a professional photographer when she moved to Melbourne in 2009 with musical ambitions. “Whenever I went to Melbourne, I was blown away by all the music,” Spartalis says. She was deeply inspired by the city’s musical scene. “I wanted to be a music photographer,” she says, but evidently, unless you’re shooting for publications such as Rolling Stone, it’s hard to make ends meet in that profession. As such, Spartalis found her niche in wedding photography. Spartalis’ wedding shots aren’t the typical stand-and-deliver fare one would expect from weddings. Hers are often moody depictions of moving scenes, picturesque and filled with a strong sense of emotion. “Wedding photography has always had a certain stigma,” Spartalis says, referencing traditional formats where wedding parties stand together for standard presentational shots. Recently, though, she says the medium has become more creative and she has been lucky enough to work for people aspiring for more than a conventional wedding shoot. “I started picking up couples who had nontraditional ceremonies.” Spartalis will be returning to Adelaide in March for her own personal exhibition, Spain on Film. The exhibition will be hosted in the Centre for Creative Photography, where Spartalis worked as a staff member after completing her studies. “It was a great school,” she says. The exhibition will contain a collection of black and white, medium-format images from a recent journey Spartalis took through Spain. Included will be portraits, streetscapes and landscapes. “It reinvigorated a part of photography for me that I had forgotten,” Spartalis says, explaining how she had left passion projects behind when she focussed on her professional work. Now Spartalis maintains that a strong model for personal and professional success as a photographer is to keep up with those passion projects alongside mainstream work. Likewise, since Spartalis normally works with digital photography, this marked a return to film for the photographer. Commenting on the difference between shooting on digital and film, she says they are different beasts, since you are never limited by the number of shots you take on digital. Yet with film, her ethos became “I’m going to stand here for 15 minutes until it looks right” then shoot. As for coming back to Adelaide to stage her exhibition, Spartalis is happy close to home. Adelaide’s creative bloom in the past few years fills her with confidence for the future. “It’s great to see,” she says. “The community has grown so much stronger in the past five years.” Spain on Film Centre for Creative Photography Wednesday, March 4 until Wednesday, April 8

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