This is Rob Burnett, I’ve known him for a few years and the story goes as follows…
When I finished Uni I moved back to Tasmania and focused on doing the Dombrovskis Award. Once all that was finished it was time to get a job assisting another photographer. In Melbourne, it seemed that everyone when they finished uni went off to work as an assistant. I visited many Tasmanian photographers who I admired with the view to assisting them. Tasmania isn’t like Melbourne or Sydney. No one used assistants. So there was nothing there for me to do. I joined the AIPP and prepared to go it by myself.
I went off to my first AIPP event, youngest there by quite a few years and only know one person, and not very well. Weekend went past, say in on the seminars, met other photographers and then just as I was heading home I introduced myself to Rob. To be honest, I had never heard of him. I put this down to him not doing wedding or portrait and spending a bit of time away doing commercial jobs. We got talking and made a time to catch up the next week.
All the photographers I met initially did spend some time with me, about 2 hours on average. Now I’m out working I realise that was a fantastic amount of time to put aside to speak to a young and inspired photographer and am thankful for the opportunity. When I went around to Rob’s I didn’t leave for 6 hours. The next day I came back, then the day after, day after, and so on for a couple of years.
I didn’t get paid, I did bits and pieces and I learnt a lot about real world photography. I don’t do commercial, but Rob does it fantastically and over time I slowly picked up my own jobs and clients in wedding and portrait, always getting critiqued by Rob and pushed to do better.
He also introduced me to many of the top photographers in the country and took me to my first APPA awards in Sydney in 2002 (I was on the fold out couch, I didn’t know about the tradition of first in the hotel room puts their undies on the pillow and claims the main bed).
Even now we will catch up and talk shop, he is still as frantic as ever and a real pain in the bum to get in touch with, but when it happens, it is always good.
So thanks to Rob, the best real world photography teacher I have had and I wish him luck in claiming a good bed in Sydney next week.
His website is here, book him to shoot some commercial stuff anywhere