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Not often is there a photographer whose works span the realms of fashion and landscape. Michael Brunt's photos alive with emotion and intrinsic beauty. Yet his journey to this point has not been a conventional one. Michael's interests and his own work now spans food, winemaking and fashion. We find his photography provoking with a feeling of great depth in each shot. We sat down with Michael to learn a bit more about the man behind the lens.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into photography?

To be honest, I fell into photography. I studied communication design at Billy Blue for about 3 weeks and dropped out because I already had a small client base and didn’t really understand the idea of teaching something creative in such a rigid environment. I had started an Instagram series of hand lettering pieces and got sick of emailing people about using their photos for the backgrounds so I started going out and taking my own. It got to a point where I was enjoying taking pictures more than the lettering pieces I was creating. From there I got a few little photo jobs and just followed that path into assisting fashion photographers. I think I wanted to be a better designer than I was, not to say I was taking amazing photos in the early days either but I was definitely drawn to the challenges of making a photo.

What’s the thought process behind making one of your photos? How did you develop your style?

​​I’m not sure there’s any one process to making a picture, beyond the technical side of metering and focus (which sometimes I still don’t get right haha). I work with film almost exclusively, so I guess that gives me the luxury of slowing down. This helps me study a scene and think about the process. Then there’s the complete opposite where you manage to capture what feels like a fleeting moment and you have to cross your fingers it worked until you get the film developed. If I’m going somewhere to specifically take pictures I will research a lot! To the point where I’ll be walking the streets on google street view late at night. I’m learning to let go of this a little and just enjoy my time wherever I am.

As for my style, I feel like now I downplay it a bit because it feels almost second nature, but I went through a stage where I was obsessed with colour and light. I would look at everything and think, “Oh, that’s nice.” or “That’s really beautiful light.” Even without a camera. I think now those are the aspects which I pride myself on within my photography.

And what do you do when you’re not taking photos?

​​Last year I delved into shooting more personal work and ended up shooting Sean Moran’s (Sean’s Panaroma in North Bondi) farm in Bilpin which reignited my love for food and cooking. I bought a Gozney Roccbox in peak lockdown last year, and have been slinging Neapolitan pizza’s and working on my sourdough bases. The science behind dough has been very consuming.

Speaking of personal projects, I saw that you did something with Benson and the Mooch. Can you tell us more about the project? How did it start?

​​I vaguely knew of Joel and Benson through an old friend and had always followed what they were doing so I just kind of thought, you know, they’re both pretty handsome guys. They do cool stuff, surely they’ll be easy to shoot. I think about 3 days after I emailed them we were in a car together heading to Young for the last pick of the season. We slept in swags amongst the vineyard that night which was a pretty amazing experience! Come 5 am the boys were up and handpicking. They were picking Nebbiolo grapes at the time, and whilst I was shooting they taught me a lot about the benefits of picking by hand over using heavy machinery. All their wines are 100% grapes with no additions and no filtering. After talking about the whole process and almost becoming friends instantly, we decided to extend the project out to document from the picking all the way to what you get to consume out of the bottle. We’ve managed to capture some really beautiful moments and we are planning an exhibition and wine launch for the near future.

What about your favourite wine or winemaker? Do you have any preferences?

​​I guess you could say my “foray” into natural wine came from Good Intentions. I tried their Ridiculously Red at a restaurant and thought “Woah, this red is cold and kind of fizzy. That’s cool.” That was back in 2017. From there I’d like to say I support local where I can. Brave New Wines, Jauma, Yetti & Kokonut, Benson and the Mooch (obviously). The list goes on. ​​

​​But yeah, I mean, I drink anything. The only thing that I’ve ever had that was like oh, this is a bit much was a Retsina which is a greek style wine sealed with Pine. I can appreciate the initiative but it tasted like wine mixed with mouthwash… maybe I’m just not that trendy yet!