Rimoni // A shot in the dark

A Manurewa photographer takes an honest approach to capturing open public spaces, writes Sharu Delilkan // The Aucklander – South Edition

Raymond Sagapolutele refers to himself as a “brotographer”.

“I used to be known for saying ‘bro’ all the time. It’s a term I use to describe myself, not a reference to the subject matter I shoot,” says the photographer who’s showing his first collection of shots.

Just like his unconventional description of himself, subverting convention and challenging media stereotypes is the main thrust of Honest?!?.

The exhibition of black and white photographs shows “images of South Auckland through my eyes”, he says.

“Rather than just doing typical South Auckland shots, I prefer taking shots of people and places with a refreshing perspective.”

The 38-year-old from Manurewa says he started off taking cliched landscape shots but realised very quickly that every other photographer seemed also to be doing that. So he looked for subjects that would distance his work from everyone else’s.

“I shoot a lot in the middle of the night. I love going to places that wouldn’t be considered photogenic. For example, I opt to go to places that would otherwise be busy during the day and take pictures when they’re empty.”

Sagapolutele, who has only been doing photography seriously for four years, says he discovered his knack for it by accident.

“I used to mess around with my wife’s camera after she’d come back from her night photography classes and realised I was on to a good thing.”

Following 15 years working in finance, he quit his job in 2003 to immerse himself in multimedia courses.

“Most of my learning has been self-taught. I prefer that to formal learning.”

A regular photographer for Rip It Up magazine and Dawn Raid, Sagapolutele says he prefers to work without a set agenda.

“If you do what is true to yourself, the likelihood is that you’ll get an honest reflection of what you’re after.”

Honest?!?, Fresh Gallery Otara, Shop 5, 46 Fairmall, Otara Town Centre, until October 24.
Artist Talk: 12pm, Saturday 17 October. Free entry.
For more information, ph 271 6019.