In Conversation with Photographer Trevor Mein

  • We catch up with Melbourne-based photographer Trevor Mein, a forerunner of clouds as composition, to celebrate his latest collection, stratosphere.

    Photographer Trevor Mein’s revered library of work can be equally defined by his ability to capture Australian architecture and his dedication to capturing motion, atmosphere and energy. Most pointedly, Trevor Mein records the ethereal and ephemeral beauty of what lies above. 

    Trevor Mein’s photography is concerned with clouds; their motion, evanescence, power, and luminosity. His fascination with the sky is longstanding, dating back to his childhood spent on a farm in rural Victoria, where the wide-open landscape expressed an infinite horizon.

    Trevor’s commitment to the sky’s theatre is not dissimilar to a painter. He remains amazed by the boundless variations that appear; the beauty, the drama and the contrast. This deep respect is reflected in his finesse for illuminating the atmosphere of open space in architecture and design. 

    Trevor Mein’s work featured in a Balwyn Home designed by Fiona Lynch, photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

    The latest refinement to Trevor’s ever-expanding Cloud Atlas is stratosphere. The new collection takes its name from the stratosphere that wraps around the earth’s surface, containing the ozone layer. It appreciates extreme weather in tonal shifts, inviting the viewer to reflect on the tenuous balance and long-term future of our planet.

    With the launch of stratosphere, we called on Trevor to discuss the evolution of his Cloud Atlas, influence of his upbringing and studies, inspiration behind his new collection and his abiding relationship with Otomys Contemporary

    Trevor Mein is exhibiting the new collection stratosphere at Otomys Contemporary Gallery Melbourne, until November 8.

    Huntingfield Rd by Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors

    Trevor Mein’s Saturdaytwoten2010 featured in the Carrical House designed by Rob Mills Architecture & Interiors, photographed by Mark Roper.

    When did you first take an interest in photography?

    Trevor Mein: I grew up on a sheep farm in central Victoria and most evenings I would walk with my father to the crest of our plateau. He would wait for the sunsets, taking three or four precious frames with his Voigtlander loaded with Agfa slide film.

    On completion, the film roll was posted for processing and we would wait for the return of the 35mm film and the familial slide nights. These images are now faded given the unstable nature of Agfa slide film, however they still have a profound ability to connect me to my father.

    How did growing up on a farm inspire you to capture and interpret space and atmosphere?

    Trevor Mein: A farm is a world of intense work followed by periods of idleness. As a young boy growing up in the 60s I experienced great physical freedom – often roaming all day with my brother. My mother’s only instruction was “be home for dinner”.

    I became very attuned to the shifts in weather given the time we spent outdoors and also given the role weather played in terms of what needed to be done on the farm. The infinite horizon and open sky contrasted so dramatically with the dark interiors of our crowded house. My mother always had the blinds partially closed as a buffer to the harsh external environment.

    In Conversation with Photographer Trevor Mein | est living

    Trevor Mein’s Saturdaytwoten2010 featured in Entrecote South Yarra designed by Flack Studio, photographed by Brooke Holm.

    Why have you taken such an interest in clouds?

    Trevor Mein: As mentioned I grew up on a farm and was very much connected to the physical environment and the effect that has on daily life. Then in my commercial work, photographing for architects and designers, I’m once again very connected to the physical environment – always checking with the Bureau of Meteorology and planning work trips around the projected forecast.

    On location, I spend hours waiting for the most opportune moment to start photographing. I think it’s fair to say that I have spent a lifetime looking at the sky. My vantage point is sometimes from the ground, sometimes perched on top of a building or peering out through an aeroplane window. I’m constantly amazed at the infinite variations that appear in the sky, the beauty, the drama and the contrast.

    Trevor Mein’s Wednesdayfiveten2010 featured in The Riley designed by SJB, photographed by Felix Forest.

    Est-Magazine-Sisalla Albert Park2

    Trevor Mein’s work featured in an Albert Park home designed by Sisalla Interior Design, photographed by Eve Wilson.

    Could you please tell us about the inspiration behind your new series of work stratosphere?

    Trevor Mein: While making this work I have thought more intently about the ephemeral nature of the sky and indeed the ephemeral nature of this planet. I’m hopeful that the work will communicate something more about this delicate and fragile balance.

    How does stratosphere demonstrate the evolution of your work?

    Trevor Mein: I think in this new series I have captured a more diverse range of skyscapes. Some are recognisable and still linked to the figurative whilst other works have been completely abstracted – contour, outlines and form have been relinquished.

    Colour planes and tonal shifts have become the subject and I‘m hopeful that the viewer will experience something that exceeds the boundaries of the purely aesthetic.

    In Conversation with Photographer Trevor Mein

    Trevor Mein’s Wednesdayeightthirtyfive2011 and Wednesdayeightthirtynine2011 featured in a Toorak Home styled by Simone Haag, photographed by Mark Roper.

    You’re the photographer of choice for many of Australia’s major architects. What is your most important consideration when capturing architecturally-designed spaces?

    Trevor Mein: It’s the atmosphere – by that I mean the pervading mood or tone of the place – what it communicates or conveys. Often it requires a series of images to construct a story. Buildings are often as complex as their designers personalities and the people that inhabit the built environment.

    Your photography has also allowed you to travel to all corners of the globe. What has been your favourite place to shoot (to date)?

    Trevor Mein: Rome is probably at the top of the list – capturing both the grandeur and the simplicity of Roman architecture; the destruction and the erosion and the reimagined, layer upon layer. India is also up there; the colours, the intensity, the textures and the contrasts – both in a visual, physical and spiritual sense.

    How has your relationship with Otomys Contemporary evolved?

    Trevor Mein: I met Megan Dicks and Nikki Finch at the inception of Otomys and I’ve been represented for the past ten years. With the support of Otomys I have managed to organize and curate an extensive body of work that continues to evolve.

    What is next for Trevor Mein?

    Trevor Mein: The garden – a sight/site of great visual beauty, creativity and production.

    In Conversation with Photographer Trevor Mein

    stratosphere2910 by Trevor Mein

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