Written by April Spadina
Alistair Brightman is not just a man who takes photos – he captures moments. It’s the difference between seeing a scene and feeling a scene, and with Alistair’s skills and keen eye you can really feel the essence of that moment in time.
His ability to tell a story with his images is what makes him stand out from the rest – a skill that has led him through a photography career spanning decades and an impressive list of prestigious photographic awards to be proud of including the PANPA Awards.
From behind the camera Alistair became one of the most recognised faces of the Fraser Coast with a quarter of a century career with the Chronicle Newspaper capturing sporting and community events, local news stories and more.
The life of a professional photographer isn’t necessarily a glamourous one though. There’s the pressure of getting that perfect shot for tomorrow’s news, battling bad weather, uncooperative subjects, and late-night traffic accidents.
Back in the days of 35mm black and white film, there was a mad rush from sporting event to developing lab, swishing chemicals to expose images before rushing back again to get the names of the players in time for print the next day! The digital age gave him freedom from chemicals and unpredictable outcomes but added a new element of pressure with hours of digital editing, internet outages and high demand instant gratification.
Throughout this hectic lifestyle Alistair has maintained an eye for the unusual, the ability to see what others miss, and an innate sense of knowing exactly when to press the shutter. His photographs tell a story, they have a life of their own beyond the glossy exterior. You can feel the emotion that courses through that very moment in time and in some strange way he has the ability to create sound, smell and touch through the visual.
Now, happily semi-retired, Alistair has gone full circle and arrived back at his first love, landscape and nature photography. His Instagram gallery is filled with stunning macro shots of flowers, beach scenes and golden sunsets as he enjoys the simple pleasures and the ease of being able to pull out his iPhone and snap a few shots for no other reason than pure enjoyment.
His large SLR camera is never far away. It’s almost part of his anatomy now, an extension of his character and a kind of superpower he uses to approach strangers and ask permission to invade their privacy. It’s through Alistair’s lens that he speaks all languages, breaks down barriers and welcomes others to see the world as he sees it, one precious moment at a time.