Photographer – John Danger Hill
Models: Brianna Olenslager @ Look, Ashlee Nichole, Kelsie Hastie
We are very excited to present the next installment of The Handsome Project. The Handsome Project features young photographers who blow our mind, shoot our stuff and are all together fantastic. Read on to see the rest of Johnâ€™s WAH photoshoot and interview!
How did you get to here? (Whatâ€™s your photographer history?)
I walked through a portal, somewhere far off in time. I shed my reptile skin and began my assimilation 19 years ago.
Well actually, my mom picked me up a Canon AE-1 with a college photography book from a yard sale for $20 when I was 13. I read the interesting parts of the book and got really excited about looking at pictures.
That lead to me using that AE-1 my freshman year of high school at 14 in a beginning black and white film photo class. While I’d like to say that led to a whole lot of productivity in my high school years, it really didn’t. Some rolls were shot here, even fewer actually developed and ultimately there isn’t much to show from that time really.
I turned 18 and figured I needed to be good at something, so I reflected on all of the tasks I could do and any minor abilities I might have, and amongst that shallow pool, I decided photography was a worthy exploit.
I took another photography class my first semester in college, captured some support from my professor and some friends and kept moving forward I guess. I was mostly excited about still life around then I think.
Colour film came the summer following, and I found myself doing dominantly portraiture and long exposures.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor/teacher that showed you the ropes?
I took the basic classes and what not, but I never had anyone really help me develop my own style at all. I don’t really know where it comes from, it probably just comes from just shooting really late in low, soft light situations.
How did you come up with the concept behind your Handsome Project shoot?
Well, I ended up getting quite a few pieces so I thought it’d be fun to separate it into three small shoots with three different ladies. Each set is pretty different, and I wanted to stress the distinction. As in these are three different people entirely, and that can’t be blurred.
What keeps you enthused in the photography industry?
That rare insightful comment from someone regarding the entirety of your work. If there’s anything I can’t do is really look at the entire breadth of my own work and really put more than three words to it, and even then it’s the really painfully obvious ones. So when I hear something that actually encompasses everything, or even specific parts of the whole it keeps me excited.
Describe your approach in three words.
Natural. Simple. (sometimes) Minimal.
Black & white or colour?
I shoot pretty much entirely black and white film, Fuji Superia converts really well to black and white, so I kind of just stick with that pretty often.
Do you prefer film or digital? Why?
Film, just film. I actually don’t own a digital camera at all. When it comes to the digital vs film debacle, I really just think the photographer should just pick whatever format they can make the best pictures on really. And then after that it shouldn’t really be too hard of a discussion I don’t think. For me it’s definitely film.
Canon AE-1 has been my workhorse since the very beginning. I only recently switched over to the Canon A-1 due to the ridiculously nice viewfinder. However I still miss the simplicity of the AE-1, the centered light meter, the match stick meter in the viewfinder, full manual shooting, no frills, just a really solid camera. The priority settings of the A-1 can sometimes be pretty detrimental when composing scenes.
Describe your photographic approach.
I try to shoot at f1.4 as often as possible, gosh that might be it.
One of these shots by Moa Karlberg. It’s just people looking at themselves, she shot them through a mirror and they had no idea.
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
How do you decide on locations & subjects for your shoots?
I really just look for pretty things. When it comes to not portraiture I look for places that are geometrically interesting or are able to be simplified.
What is the one quality you think is needed for a photographer to be great?
The gall to do whatever they want. A decent vision also helps too.
Where to next?
Back into the night.
“…let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” – The late Albus Dumbledore
We Are Handsome would like to send major kudos and bucketfuls of amazement John’s way for creating this gorgeous shoot! We’re loving the HP reference at the end…