Aussie Indie Artists: Anton Wilk talks his unique Perth perspective

interview with anton wilk on his photography

Aussie Indie Artists is a series of interviews with lesser known Aussie creators across all forms and fields. The goal is to share exciting new works, find new angles towards the art, and peek behind the scenes.

Perth is a city that has been photographed once, twice, and a million times, but Anton Wilk never fails to give a new perspective of it. In one shot it looks like the foggy skies above Shanghai, and in another it’s a glittering night in Paris, then in another it’s got the Victorian architecture of London. Maybe it’s his experience as a travel photographer, maybe it’s his delicate compositions, or maybe he just sees something that the rest of us don’t. 

Whatever it is, it’s enchanting, and I got that chance to ask Anton a few questions about his inspirations, process, and aspirations.

Was it always photography for you? Looking at your photos, I can imagine painting being an inspiration too. 

Photography was never a thought for me, until I was in my 30s. When I was a child I would draw a lot; copying mainly. The process of starting from scratch to finishing with an outcome was exciting, and helped me find peace. During my 20s I started to enjoy house music, which led to DJ’ing and music production. After that  there was a big gap, until I started to practise photography.

I’m neither an expert nor an enthusiast, but I’ve always loved looking at paintings, and in some sense they influence the way I approach photography and editing. I like to toe the line between realism and creativity. 

Who are a couple big inspirations?

I really love L.S. Lowry’s work. An English painter and drawer, born in the 19th century, best known for his “matchstick men” urban landscapes. At primary school there were many of his paintings on the walls. I remember being fascinated by all the little people in the large industrial environments. 

I take inspiration from @mindzeye & @blowithand. These two photographers help me realise today’s potential, and also remind me of L.S. Lowry style.

Painting by L.S. Lowry

Do you have a personal favourite photo of yours?

I seldom think about my favourite photo. However, for me these two are contenders:

anton wilk photography

I feel intrigue is an important aspect of an image. Both of them have that quality. There is a couple in the foreground of the first image eating fish and chips, then in the distance 3 other separate couples. All of them engaged with the other person, candidly living their lives. 

Additionally, I get a sense that the 3 women walking under the tree, in the second image, have a close relationship to one another. It seems like decades. I like to imagine these things when I’m looking at images.

What was that day of shooting like?

A surprise! I was in the right place at the right time, not living far from the CBD at the time. The atmosphere was incredible. A perfect mood. Very still. Simple. Nothing more to say about that day. Very enjoyable.

Does much editing go on behind the scenes?

That can depend on different conditions. It can be very gratifying to sit down and take your time to edit an image, while learning along the way. Other times, it can be just as rewarding to reach your editing goals efficiently, in less time. The process isn’t linear in my experience.

I think the editing work is often underappreciated by viewers, what’s another aspect of the photography lifestyle that most people don’t know about?

Agreed, there is more than meets the eye when it comes down to editing an image. 

The learning process. Photography is a marathon and the journey of learning is long, but rewarding. Patience is key. There will be times when you suck, but that’s absolutely necessary. Take a break when it’s hard. Come back again another day. Recognise your improvements, appreciate your own efforts and what it takes to become good at what you care about. Very importantly, take time away from it.

And do you have any upcoming shows or releases that you’d like to share?

Currently, I’m focusing my time on another genre of photography. For now I will just say that I’m learning a lot. I hope to have developed the skills to further my career to new heights. In time, I will share my journey. 

Thanks very much for your time and insight!

You’re welcome! It’s been a pleasure to share some of my thoughts on a topic I  love. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen.

You can see more of Anton Wilk’s work on his Instagram, his Facebook, and you can buy prints of his work on his website.

Branden Zavaleta

West Australian Writer & Photographer