I just get such a personal satisfaction when a story or a theme comes together with the culmination of media that I shot across different camera mediums.

Name: Cal Foster 

Occupation: Photographer, videographer and artist 

Hometown: Melbourne 

Current Location: St Kilda

What do you do? Why do you do it?

I’d say I lean into identifying myself as an image maker rather than just a photographer. I use things like design and collages as a heavy inspiration to add within the photos I take because I just get such a personal satisfaction when a story or a theme comes together with the culmination of media that I shot across different camera mediums. 

Did you study anywhere or self taught?

I did study for a few years, but more of what I do is primarily self taught or just figured out by getting out there to get aquatinted with the realities of the industry and the lessons associated. 

What’s your favourite camera and/or equipment to work with?

Such a tough question as I have too many cameras that do different things, it would be like picking  your favourite child. Don’t tell them I said this, but probably my RZ67 which is just an absolute work horse that I can use for most projects. Love the lenses and the fact that I can shoot polaroids as well as medium format film on it. 

Who are your favourite photographers?

My favourite photographers is a real tough one,  they come and go with time and what ii’m looking to create at that moment. Frank Ockenfels is definitely one! Other than that I love the works of artists such as David Lachapelle, Zamar Velez, Bryan Rodner Carr, Kelby Reck and Cleo Goossens to name a few!

Who or what else inspires you?

I’d say my friends and who I surround myself with. I’m pretty lucky to have some creative friends that are  really encouraging and supportive of each other. It starts with one of us mentioning an idea that they had and then we just build on it together and gas each others ideas up. Completely different inspiration to that would be adventure and a fresh change of scenery. It’s been a while since I’ve done that but I always feel reinvigorated by new places I go to, just gives me a change of perspective that I use when I re-approach my work.

How did you manage during Covid times? Did you create or reflect?

Depends on the time, it really had more to do with the constant lockdowns within Melbourne which was super limiting. I’m definitely a person that needs to create and fulfil my ideas by shooting otherwise I can find it quite exhausting. Because the film labs were closed and there were a limited amount of concepts that I could approach in the circumstance, I really turned to instant forms of photography like polaroids on a different array of cameras.That being said I did take the time to learn and educate myself more on things that I’m not as strong at which was a really nice point of reflection for me.

How have you evolved over the years?

When covid hit I learnt a lot of lessons about myself through some much needed introspection. I looked back at what I was creating and asked questions like, what am I trying to say here, is there purpose in the creative decisions I’ve made, can I learn something new to further myself creatively with my ideas..and I took the time to hone in on the things that I knew I could improve on as well as realigning my ambitions within my relationship with image-making/photography. The last time I was interviewed by Almost Real I was 19 years old so it’s fair to say I’ve had a lot of growth between then and now being 25, it’s been quite the ride!

What are you listening to atm?

I’m always listening to a bunch of stuff, my music taste is about as broad and non specific as it gets. Really depends on the mood but as winter approaches and it get’s colder here in Melbourne I’ve been listening to Jon Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Omar Apollo as a few examples.. very different genres of music but I’m living my best life. 

What websites do you frequent?

I literally have a organisation folder on my phone of my guilty website pleasures titled “You’re Bad Cal”, predominately because It’s just a sure enough way for me to spend money on cameras, clothes or something. So my top sites are probably Ebay, Grailed, Ssense, Fashion Journal, Pinterest and Instagram. 

What tools or apps help you get your work done?

My trusty scanner for all of my polaroid needs would be one, but other than that pretty much most of the Adobe creative suite. Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere and After Effects being the main ones.

Are you reading or watching anything right now?

My friends are big movie buffs, so we often get together, pitch three movie options and choose from that. I’m big fan of the work coming from A24 studios at the moment! Everything, Everywhere, All At Once was one of the more noteworthy films I watched recently. Coming from background myself of  collaging different mediums such as animation and photography, I loved watching a movie that successfully incorporated animation within live action while still serving the plot rather than being for just aesthetics. So if you haven’t already, that film is definitely worth the watch!

Where are you travelling to next?

Europe! Visting Spain, Italy, London and then Singapore on my way back. Planning to shoot till my hearts content!

What is your greatest achievement?

I definitely think my solo art show “SoCal Madness” which explored youth/ surf and skate culture within Southern California from the 70’s and comparing it to what it has evolved into to this day. I really dipped my hand in a lot of creative techniques for this show such as prints, a photo book, hand stitched photo tee shirts, video/animation, neon lights and more. The idea was to create an experience that left you feeling like you were experiencing California land in the 70’s, we had bands and everything, it was a total atmosphere that I was proud to produce. 

One thing you would like to achieve this year?

I’ve been really wanting to create something big that’s tangible and experience based. I’m thinking another book or even a zine, there’s just something so personally fulfilling about having something you have created yourself, especially in this day and age where a lot of Art is digital. Other than that I really want to create some wearable photographic inspired design pieces. 

What advice would you share to others wanting to get into your profession?

Try different things, some will work, some won’t but at least you’ll be expanding your creativity and adding a notch on to your own artistic journey. I tried a lot of things over the years and even though people insisted on niching down, I looked at different practices from other artists and implemented  different elements that I liked within my work. You do that enough and you get this beautiful culmination of inspiration from different parts of life as well as the mix of your own perspective. So I’d say create create create, explore and experiment. Photography doesn’t need to be a point and shoot deal, it can honestly be anything depending on your inspiration so have fun and don’t be afraid to push your preconceptions of it.

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