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Leighton Hutchinson: Behind the Fashfest camera

Wendy Johnson

He’s a man of few words, preferring to make big statements through powerful photographs. Leighton Hutchinson, that is.

Leighton is the Director of Photography for FASHFEST and HAUS Models, and while he uses the lens to capture special moments through commercial, corporate, interior and product photography, he is fascinated with the world of fashion.

It’s clear, when you speak to Leighton, that photography is a true love, not a job. It comes naturally to him, which is not to say he doesn’t have to put in the hard yards until he captures ‘that moment’, often lying on floors, squishing into small spaces, squatting down low or getting up on high in the process. It takes patience and sometimes long hours before Leighton is 100 per cent satisfied that he has what he needs. That’s in part because this photographer is a pure perfectionist.

“A great photograph has the power to create a personal emotional reaction in every viewer, whether it’s joy, sadness, disgust, or even fear,” says Leighton. “The ability to make the viewer think and feel through imagery fascinates and drives me.”

Another motivator for Leighton with fashion photographer is the opportunity to collaborate with other talented creatives, including designers, models, hair and make-up stylists, and art directors. The mix of talent is often different with each project which adds an element of intrigue. That’s why Leighton is a perfect fit with FASHFEST, the biggest joint venture of its kind in Canberra.

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“A camera obviously captures everything in front of it and the ability to control every aspect of what is captured is maximised when a talented team of creatives works towards a common vision,” says Leighton.

An example of the beauty that can result from collaborative processes is the recent shoot Leighton handled for FASHFEST designer Vicky Kidd-Gallichan from Rockstars and Royalty, who created a flower gown as a teaser to the event with Fionna Tamin from Peony n Pearl.

The shoot took place at Lucky’s SpeakeasyQT Hotel. Also on the creative team was Tanya Lancaster, a senior hairstylist who is a team leader for hair at FASHFEST 2015 and salon manager at THE Hairdressing. Makeup artist Katie Saarikko, Creative Director of Makeup for FASHFEST was also part of the shoot..

“The biggest challenge with photography is capturing that one moment in time everything comes together in a single frame. It’s challenging because everything has to be absolutely perfect to meet the brief,” says Leighton.

Leighton also captured the beauty of the official Face of FASHFEST for 2013, Anneliese Seubert, and for 2014 Belinda Riding, who have both had amazing international modelling careers. This year he has captured two Faces of FASHFEST—Ken Scruton and Hannah Claire McKenzie.

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An example of Leighton’s work with model Emma Nicole Patterson.

In his role as Director of Photography for the event, Leighton is at the helm of all official photos shoots for the event’s branding and program and he regularly works on individual projects with fashion designers who showcase at the event.

In the lead-up to the 2015 event, which is aiming for 1,200 guests across four nights, Leighton is working closely with Kylie Jackson, production manager for photography, organising the work of FASHFEST’s 13 official photographers who have to capture all bases, including social, media wall, catwalk and behind the scenes. It’s all a bit hectic, with opening night only a few sleeps away, but organisation is key to success to ensure no special moment is missed.

FASHFEST 13 to 16 May. Tickets: www.fashfest.com.au

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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