Photography is a field which has developed immensely over the years; from a highly specialized knowledge of equipment and composure, to instant post-processing and 4K high definition cameras that barely take up more than couple of millimetres on the back of your phone.
The world of photography has become an ever more crucial cog in the media machine. My name’s Jasper Lepani, I’m 20 years young and, among the billions of bathroom selfies and overly Photoshopped Insta-trends, I work everyday in my little corner of East Brunswick, Victoria, to develop and share my individual perspective of the world.
I’ve been surrounded by creativity all my life, whether it was my mother’s paintings lining the walls of our house, or the long car rides home from the end of an exhibition squished between the large visionary oil paintings protruding from the boot of her station wagon, I always found myself around art, whether I liked it or not. I’ve also lived close to nature—under the wild escarpment of the Wollongong area with its vast vistas, the hills of Healesville, and visiting my grandmother in the Blue Mountains.
It’s this natural connection to art and design that sparked me to find a medium of my own and in the month of May 2014, my Trobriand Island grandfather, whom I call Bubu Charles, generously gifted me my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5300 with a decent lens, for my 16th Birthday. Over the next four years I would spend late nights chasing epic storms and even later mornings editing my previous bounty of fond and surreal teenage memories, all the while trying to figure out what is my individual style.
Four years on and I’m still using my trusty Nikon D5300, but now with a broadened understanding of my passion and the product I want to create, with big dreams to take my camera around the world, sharing my love for the aesthetic beauty of our universe and the stories by which we live.
Jasper Lepani is my grandson. I have watched him change from being an avid gamer whom I thought would become a video game designer, to a passionate photographer who is willing to do whatever it takes to pursue his creative dreams. Jasper follows in the footsteps of those for whom the creative impulse calls them to live a life where this means earning your income in whatever way you can in order to free up time to pursue a creative life.
The is the call to the ‘inner wild’, a call of the soul. One of the ironies of the 21st century is that technology has made a creative life easier in many ways, opening up new avenues of creative expression. However, it has also ushered in a culture of unabashed consumerism through social media that is intensifying the psychological impact of advertising through direct marketing.
Meanwhile young people like Jasper know that the world is burning—the wildfires across the northern hemisphere from the Arctic to California, the soaring temperatures that are turning cities into death traps for the poor, and severe drought that grips vast areas of Australia—all are fitting metaphors for a wider story of the world this generation is inheriting from my generation of baby boomers.