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Minister of photography

Three words: emotion, action and justice. What role do these have in photography and the creative media industry? Bethany Morris speaks to Pastor Enzo Maisano.

Pastor Enzo Maisano is a photographer and oversees the media department at Enjoy Church. Involved in DPChallenge (A Digital Photography Contest) since 2005, he was ranked 4th in 2008 out of 70,000 global competitors and has won 26 ribbons over three years. His outward focus and passion to see people move beyond themselves is the driving force behind his photography and creative media.

Firstly, you are a very creative person. Who or what are some of your inspirations?

I am on the constant look out all the time for fresh and creative new ideas. As far as inspiration, anything creative inspires me. I get inspired by all types of media, especially photography and video. I love the work of Joey Lawrence, who is a 19 year-old photographer, as well as Filipino photographer Manny Librodo.

You compete in DPChallenge, can you please explain what that is for those who don’t know?

It’s a site where around 70,000 photographers from all over the world compete in challenges. Topics are given and everyone gets a week to enter a date stamped image. Voters then give scores out of ten and leave a critique. It’s a great community and I have made great friends.

How hard is it to get an established and respected profile when it comes to photography?

It took me a couple of years on DPChallenge. When people started to get to know me and what I believed, the respect level shot up. My photography has achieved respect because it’s not just self focused, but tells a story that connects and moves people towards compassion, justice and a heart for the world.

You did some work with one of the communities affected by the Black Saturday disaster. How did your relationship with the community influence how you photographed the surrounding areas?

I honestly felt like I was intruding, but used images and photography to tell stories. I would go up there on my day off and just wonder the blackened forests and get a perspective on what happened. I have some great images from those walks I did in solitude. The people are such inspiring and resilient people. I wanted to capture so much more, but felt like I did not belong there.

What do you want people to experience when they see your photographs?

An emotion. I want them to connect to an image (or video) emotionally so that it moves them in some way. Otherwise, it’s just a snapshot.

Where have some of your photographs been published or used?

I get asked for my photos all the time. Some have been used on book covers, others in presentations.

How do you feel about Photoshopping photographs?

I believe that digital cameras need Photoshop to bring the best out of an image. No matter how good the camera, a tweak in contrast or levels, or a colour correction helps. I hate over processed images. So, I aim to get it right, from the camera itself.  

What does overseeing the media department at Enjoy Church involve?

All of the news and video clips as well as all of our printed media. Once again, I am aiming for an emotional connection to the news rather than a blah, blah, blah. We aim to be creative, funny, serious, whatever it takes to convey the message so it’s impactful and memorable.

How do you and those in your team stay up to date with the latest trends in the media industry?

We had this conversation this morning! We eat, sleep and dream stuff. We are critiquing brochures and presentations all the time. I have been watching endless hours of Adobe After Effects tutorials to teach myself, as well as weekly Photoshop ones. It’s amazing what you can do and you need to stay ahead of the curve. The idea is to keep it simple and effective rather than over the top like some people do with PowerPoint: “Here is every single PowerPoint effect I can think of in my cheesy, clip art presentation”. We have some great digital artists here, and that makes it amazing.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in going into the creative media industry and/or photography?

There are great tutorials on iTunes and the net in general. I would suggest that they look at things they like and ask themselves questions: “Why do I like this? What emotion is it drawing out of me?” Also, ask lots of questions of the people that know their stuff. Learn, learn and learn again. Be open to trying new stuff, and get through the steep learning curves.


You can view Pastor Enzo Maisano’s photography here.

Bethany Morris is a Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. This is her first piece for upstart.

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