We are excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. Each month we’ll showcase an amazing young photographer who blows our minds, shoots our stuff and is all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Daniel’s WAH photoshoot and interview…
How did you get to here? (What’s your photographer history?)
Well I won’t tell you everything, but I will tell you that failing TAFE was the best thing I’ve done yet. I did my Certificate IV in Photo-imaging back in 2010, and at the end of the year I ended up getting first in my class for my portfolio. However, because there were a few assignments that I had not completed, they decided to fail me. Roughly four months later, I ended up getting an assistant position at a studio in Glebe, and that’s where my strong interest in fashion photography began. I learnt things in the first three months of working there, that I wouldn’t have even learnt at the end of the Diploma course at TAFE, which is what I would have gone on to do if I hadn’t failed my certificate.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
I suppose my first mentor was my photography teacher in year 11 at high school. Her name was Anne Blythe. She noticed that I was beginning to get a strong interest in the medium, and so she was the one that encouraged me from the start. She ended up hooking me up with work experience with one of the head photographers at ‘The Telegraph’, Sam Ruttyn, which is where I got to experience for the first time, what working in the photographic industry is like. When I started working at the studio in May last year, I learnt so much from everyone that worked there, and not just the photographers. Although I have to say I learnt the most from James Broadhurst, a photographer that works at the studio. He’s the one responsible for introducing me to the magical world of fashion photography.
R.I.P Anne Blythe
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
Originally I had two very different concepts for the project, however I decided to go with the concept in which I thought would contrast the most against all the previous projects before me. For this shoot in particular, I received most of my inspiration from photographers Terry Richardson and Elvis Di Fazio. I wanted to do something different, a little crude, a little out-there, something that would get a reaction out of people. I just like the idea of a girl dressed in swimwear, running amok in a big house at night time. I enjoy odd things haha.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
Inspiration. I think inspiration is what keeps society enthused in life in general. It is the key to mankind’s progression, and it is responsible for getting us to where we are now. Without inspiration, we would all still be dwelling in caves.
Describe your approach in three words.
Spontaneous. Particular. Passionate.
Black & white or colour?
I’m going to say black and white, always have and I think I always will. Black and white photographs have a certain timelessness about them, something that is hard to find with a colour photo. A lot of the time when I’m shooting, I try to see how the shot will look in black and white, as I will most likely end up changing it to black and white. Having said that, if you asked me, “Would I rather the world be seen in grayscale?”, I would say absolutely not.
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
I started off learning on film, as a lot of people did, but haven’t used it that much since high school and TAFE. Once I come across a nice old film camera, I think I will shoot a lot more of it. As for digital, well, digital is easy.
Probably my Canon G12. Although I would love to find a lovely, old film camera which I would adore and take with me wherever I venture haha.
Describe your photographic approach.
I suppose to create something that not just other people will like, but something that I myself would appreciate if it was shot by someone else.
A few off the top of my head; Alasdair McLellan, the partnership that is, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Steven Chee, Darren McDonald. That will do for now.
What turns you on?
Food. If you want the key to my heart, buy me cake.
What turns you off?
When people are unnecessarily stubborn, and choose not to have an open mind, disgusts me. Having said that, some of my closest friends are the most stubborn people I know.
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
I really haven’t done that many shoots yet, although I find it very important to be able to picture in my head how the end result will look. If I’m having trouble seeing how I’m going to shoot something, what the light is going to be like etc, I won’t have much confidence in the idea.
If you could take your photography in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new things would you try?
It would lead me to be most likely living overseas, travelling all over the world, doing super crazy shoots with huge crews, while getting paid A LOT of money for what I love to do. Most of all, having my work respected by people. As long as I’m happy with the level that I’m at, whether that means being one of the best or not….I’am without a care.
Best advice you’ve ever received.
When one of my closest friends convinced me I could be a photographer. Such a cliche moment, but from that night on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
Drive. The drive to be the best they can possibly muster.
Where to next?
Shoot, shoot, shoot, hopefully get noticed, shoot shoot shoot, hopefully get more attention, then shoot some more…
We would like to send a big thankyou Daniel’s way for putting together this shoot. We love the midnight madness feel it has with the model in a big, empty house. Daniel was also our behind the scenes photographer at Fashion Week recently, so we’re super stoked he took on the project!