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Robert Juniper

Exposure Pro is a series looking at the work of leading professional and artistic photographers. If you would like to be featured in Exposure, contact us at cnet@cnet.com.au and join our Flickr group.

Matthew Poon

(Credit: Matthew Poon)

Name: Matthew Poon

Biography: at the end of year 10, Matthew decided he would become a photographer. In 1998, aged 17, he attended a work experience program at Community Newspaper Group (CNG) in Western Australia and has been there ever since.

For the last three years he has been based at CNG's Midland branch, just East of Perth, shooting for multiple mastheads. The suburban and rural settings of these areas, mixed with a large diversity of people, enable Matthew to get a real close-up view of how different people in different areas go about their day-to-day life.

Artistic statement

I can't say I specialise in any form of photography. I've got to be good at anything that is thrown my way. That's the job of a press photographer.

Video interview

More of Matthew's work can be viewed on his website, www.matthewpoon.com.

When you photograph someone multiple times, my personal challenge is to capture something better, if not different than the previous shoot. Robert Juniper, regarded as one of Australia's best artists, was releasing his third book, and I was asked to photograph him to promote a new book about his life and works titled Robert Juniper (written by Gavin Fry). This was also to be the third time I photographed Juniper over the past three years.

In the previous occasion I focused most of my shots outside his studio where he had built numerous sculptures. This was to promote a popular art exhibition called "Sculptures by the Sea" in which he was one of the judges for.

Juniper's studio is dark, lit up by available light coming through large pane windows. For most of this shoot I wanted to use as much available light as possible and use flash as a small complement to what I had available.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Kenny Brunner

Preparing for the shoot with Brunner, I looked online for some inspiration. I came across the work of American sports shooter Dustin Snipes where his powerful sports portraits used big studio lights which really drew me in. Though I didn't have any big studio lighting, I thought a few Speedlites would do the job just fine.

We started the shoot off inside the basketball arena at the Ray Owen Sports Centre in Lesmurdie, doing some simple portraits away from the hot summer heat. I was absolutely blown away at the flash range I was getting with my new PocketWizards radio triggers, which I was putting to the test for the first time that day. One flash on a light stand was lighting Brunner up 11m away from the camera, and the other flash was set up ~25m away directly behind Brunner lighting up the Kalamunda Suns signs from the ground. This shot would not have been possible if I was using infrared to trigger the flashes, something I had been using for the last 10+ years prior to picking up the radio triggers. The flash exposures were all taken care of with PW's smart E-TTL metering.

After the inside shots I took Brunner out to the back outside courts, which I had quickly inspected while on the way to the basketball centre. I really loved the feel of the outside basketball courts. The raw bitumen, haggard basketball ring ... to me it resembled something you'd see on the streets of New York (not that I've been there).

Using E-TTL metering I put the PW's to the test outside in the harsh summer heat and sun. Two flashes were placed on light stands fitted with PW TT5's, and the other on top of my TT1 hot shoe. Overall, I was very pleased with how the shoot with Brunner turned out. Apparently he said that since I was so amped up during the photo shoot it got him really motivated to work the camera for me.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Alexander Graham

The date 20 March 2010 will be known to most Perth people as the day the Great Storm hit. For me it would be the day I pull out one of my best sporting photos to date. It was the last job for the day and I was heading to Woodbridge to photograph Alexander Graham (14), a young kayaker who recently returned from the National Championships.

Preparing for the shoot I brought along my EWA underwater bag housing, which I was slowly learning how to use. In the boot of my car was also some swimwear, just in case I found myself getting into the water. I scouted the area on arrival to see what I could do. A shot I had in mind was something taken from a low angle in the water with lots of water splash, so I put my Canon 1D Mk3 fitted with a 16-35mm into the housing. The camera was set to aperture priority, as it isn't easy to change the settings once the camera is placed in the housing. As I was shooting in JPEG (a big regret looking back at it), I knocked back the exposure -2/3 stops as I wanted to capture most of the detail in the sky.

When Alexander arrived I talked to him about what sort of shots I was after. He looked into the horizon and said "There's a big storm heading our way". Alexander gets into his kayak where I ask him to bog it up onto the sand. This idea came to me as a way to stop the kayak from moving if he was to start paddling. It also enables me to get consistent shots of him in action. I then set up two flashes, one in the water on a light stand and the other outside of the water. Both fitted with diffusers, and triggered by PocketWizards.

I get into the water, body laying completely underwater while keeping my head and camera above water. Fifteen minutes in the water and 65 shots later I get the shots I was after. As I was getting out of the water the heavens decided to open up. The Great Perth Storm had arrived! My camera gear was still out in the open and uncovered. Alexander's mum helps me pack up my gear while I'm covered in sand trying to clean up as the strong winds and rain hit me.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Romolo Tassone

I had previously photographed Romolo a month prior to this shoot for a story about golf balls that were being pelted onto his property, breaking some windows in the progress. During this job he explained how he was suffering the effects of asbestosis from working on the asbestos mines. I then suggested to journalist Kaitlyn Offer that we should return to do another story about it.

A month later we return, and unlike most of my photo shoots previously, I decided to go into this with minimal equipment. Two prime lenses in the shape of a 35mm f/2 and a 50mm f/1.4 were taken on-board, as well as a single flash just in case. This portrait is my favourite from the series of shots that were eventually published on the front page of the Hills Gazette.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Shearer

I was invited to attend the Royal Show Avon Valley media tour. For three days we visited various places such as olive tree farms, alpaca farms and shearing sheds.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Edward "Edit" Maradona

I was on Facebook and noticed that one of my mates recently won a national b-boy competition over in Sydney.

Breakin is something I've always wanted to photograph and with a subject like Edit, who is an absolutely awesome dancer, I thought I could give him some local exposure in the newspaper about his recent win, as well as give me the opportunity and challenge to photograph a b-boy in action. This shoot put all my photographic skill and technical know-how to the test.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Two-faced kitten

This photo is going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I was at the vet clinic for another unrelated photo shoot when a nurse came out and asked me if I wanted to photograph a kitten with two faces. Within hours of the photo being processed and put on my work website, my office was getting phone calls from over east and overseas newspaper publications wanting to run the photo as well.

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Photo by: © 2008 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

David Lee Smyth

On Melbourne Cup Day 2008, I was walking through the streets of Midland with a journalist looking for people to participate in our weekly vox pops. I noticed an exhibition up the road from our office, so I suggest to the journalist that we should have a look at it.

The exhibition turned out to be something I personally rate as being one of the best exhibitions I've ever seen! I then suggested to the journo that we run a story on the exhibition, so we approached the guy in the building to see if he was interested. As she was doing a brief interview, I thought the guy looked like someone I knew. It turned out that the guy was the face behind the iiNet TV advertisements. The next day we did a series of photos, which I rate to be amongst the best photos I've taken for CNG.

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Photo by: © 2008 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Artist memorial

I was leaving for a job out in Bullsbrook (45 minutes from Perth) when I noticed someone painting a mural on the side of a shipping container. I approached the lady, whose name was Rebecca Moran, who told me that she was finishing off the works of another artist who unfortunately died in a car accident. She was also a Bullsbrook local, who was only in town for a short period of time before moving back over to England. With that said, I thought it would make a great story and photo and so she agreed to pose for a quick photo. The following week the photo and story ran on the front page of The Advocate newspaper.

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Photo by: © 2009 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

ANZAC Day

I had never attended an ANZAC Day service all my life, but when the one in 2010 was coming up I decided I would take the time to attend one for both a personal and work experience. Walking around the Kings Park War Memorial before the service I noticed a man looking at the names on the wall. With no hesitation I quickly put my camera up to my face and took a quick snap. The man turned to me after hearing the camera and thought he was in my way, but I explained to him that he wasn't. It turned out that he was looking at his uncle's name on the wall.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre

The centre purchased a special projector that displayed movies onto the roof of their gallery.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Swan View fire

A fire that started off in Red Hill, was threatening homes in the Swan View area. It ended up burning 400ha of land.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Schools Robotic Challenge

Kids from Helena College took part in a robotic challenge.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Kenny Brunner

A new basketball recruit for the local Kalamunda Suns basketball team.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

World Pizza Champion Theo Kalogeracos

The owner of Perth's Little Caesars Pizzeria, Theo has won World Pizza Champion multiple times.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Perth Glory

The new TV advertisement campaign for Perth Glory soccer club.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Haka Group

A local Haka group that won a state competition.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Athlete

James Tolich had returned from the International Athletics Championships in Singapore.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

John Howard

John Howard visited Perth during the election to throw his support to local Hasluck candidate Ken Wyatt.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Young designer

Alister Yiap is an emerging jewellery designer.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Iron Bark Brewery

The owner and head brewer of Iron Bark Brewery, Graeme White.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Adventure trips

Clint Benham started a business arranging life-changing adventure trips.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Junior firefighter champion

James Barker was champion sub-junior firefighter at the 2010 West Australian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association State Junior Championships.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

44th Sunset

Local Perth hills band 44th Sunset.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

York shearing

A series of photos taken on a shearing farm in York, WA during the Royal Show Avon Valley Media tour.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

York shearing

A series of photos taken on a shearing farm in York, WA during the Royal Show Avon Valley Media tour.

Updated:
Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

York shearing

A series of photos taken on a shearing farm in York, WA during the Royal Show Avon Valley Media tour.

Updated:
Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Waterpolo kid

Wesley College student Mathias Gebauer has been selected in the School Sport Australia National Water Polo Championships.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Elyse Perry

Ellyse Perry is part of the Australian Women's Cricket team. This is the shot where the flash and PocketWizard took a dive in the water earlier this year. As a result, both flash and two PocketWizards (the other died just from excessive salt-water splash) were written off.

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Photo by: © 2011 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Fashion photographer Justin Smith

The story behind this shoot was that he actually refused to be photographed by one of our other photographers, so they sent me in to try my luck. He was very busy at the time setting up an exhibition so what I did was test shots of myself in spots where he would stand or sit, and when I had the right lighting got him to pop in those spots so as not to waste his time. He really liked this shot, which surprised me.

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Photo by: © 2003 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Michael Buble in Melbourne

Taken from my third row seat with the 50mm f/1.4. Some of my images from that gig were actually used on Buble's Facebook page for a while after the creator found them in one of my galleries.

I don't often get to photograph famous people in my suburban area because there isn't a lot of things out my way that really attract anyone, let alone A-listers or wannabe local A-listers (which explains the big gap in photographing someone famous). Doing extra work with the Sunday Times has opened my opportunities to this, but it's really the luck of the draw to what job you get there.

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Photo by: © 2005 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Leon Ottobrino

A local cricket club player.

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Photo by: © 2010 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

Kris Taylor

Kris is a swimmer who has competed in some major championships against Australia's best swimmers. I almost rejected this photo as the flashes didn't fire, but looked at the photo and thought it had huge potential.

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Photo by: © 2011 Matthew Poon. Used with permission of Matthew Poon. All rights reserved.

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