7 June 2009

Part Three: Of Personal Expression and Beauty

(the legendary graffiti artist, turned designer, whose daily photography diary, first inspired me to keep my own)

I'd like to know what inspired you to start taking photos.
I would also love to know when you began taking photos.

Thinking about it, I suppose my general love for photography, started in my early teenage years. I have always been into art and creative writing as a outlet for personal expression, whether that be the expression of an emotion, memory, idea, experience or dream. Photography for me was another medium through which to do this.

I was first attracted to photography as it allowed a certain type of freedom, in that it helped me to capture those feelings and ideas which you know are inside of you, but could never truly find the words to possibly express. It was as if there were things, I could only see brief colourful flashes of, weaving though my thoughts, leaving in their wake an imprint that would turn to dust the moment I tried to focus on it too hard. Photography was a way of trying to both recreate those images, but also capture them, when I was lucky enough to actually see them before my eyes.

Whilst a photograph may only be the imprint of a singular moment through the use of light, it means so much more than that. It is not simply a moment to be catalogued and then forgotten, rather it is a memory that will forever live on. I have always seen a photograph as being only one half of a conversation, the rest of which is found inside the viewer.

A photograph, like a painting or a novel, can contain all things to all people. It can bring forth an emotion, or bring back memories of a long forgotten experience; it can take one on a beautiful journey to another life, or it can bring one to the harsh realisations of their own life. We all see the world in a different way, and photography is, as is art, a celebration of that fact. There is a beauty in the fact that photography, much like any art, allows the viewer to bring their individuality and self into their interpretation of a piece. It is that fascinating power behind the art form that I have always found so beautiful and alluring. I have a feeling a lot of people will simply skip reading this all, so for those of you who are actually doing so, thank you so very much. Oh, and I am craving some apple tea.

An example I would give is that a simple photograph of a car can mean so many things to so many people. For one, it may make them think of a long car journey they took as a child, in which they first went fishing with their father. It brings back the sound of laughter, the image of their father falling into the river, and later appearing out of it wet to the bone, dragging along with them the slimy debris from the riverbed. It brings back the bitter yet oddly sweet smell of the camp fire, of their father trying to dry that lumpy red sweater he always wore that their mother secretly tried to lose on wash days.

Yet for another it could take them on the journey of having seen a car drive past, when they first left the hospital, beautiful newborn daughter in their arms. They had been prepared for a whole week, to drop everything and go, but the baby had decided she was perfectly fine staying where she was. He had teased her that the baby was too comfortable to want to come out, and she had softly sang to her daughter, that whenever she was ready to come out, her parents would be waiting with open arms. The image of car, reminds her of the rusty green car he had driven her to the hospital with, and how on the way back, there was another on board, wrapped in her delicate swaddling blanket, oblivious as of yet, to the weird and wonderful world around her. Of course to some, it is simply a car, but then they only see with their eyes rather than their hearts.

I have always thought of a photograph as essentially being a painting in light. It is the eye behind the camera which makes the photograph what it is, the camera is merely the brush. If a photograph is seen as a painting, it also means that a photographer can truly create rather than simply capture their masterpiece. What I mean by this is that Ansel Adams would go to the same spot day after day, and month after month simply to catch the lighting at the right moment. He did not simply point his camera and produce art. Rather he had a respect and understanding of his subject. No seriously, a major craving for some apple tea.

There are also those photographers who wish to create their shot by their skillful hand. Whether this be in the form of creating their own lighting, or through the posing of a model, in order to create their image of beauty. I have respect for both styles, for to do them well requires an amazing skill. Indeed, photography is about truly understand the visions of one's mind and heart, within whichever subject one wishes to go looking for it.

There is a magical beauty in the most simplest of things, which unfortunately many never really see. I feel that beauty can be found wherever one wishes to look for it. The way the light glistens off the surface of sewage water, with the swirl of colours and slick glimmer, can be just as beautiful as the way the light plays off the gentle contours of the human body.

However, I feel it is in the everyday and mundane that we too often forget to see the truest of beauty. We become accustomed to an area or a sight, and we forget to look. If I look to my left, and turn my head to the right as quickly as I can, my eyes do not actually register what they saw in that middle segment. Similarly, we often overlook what we believe we know, and our brain fills that middle segment with memories and catalogued images, rather than what is actually there.

We often miss the most beautiful of sights, not because we can not see them, but rather because we have forgotten how to see them. With photography, I saw a medium through which I could express something I knew words alone could never do justice to. I decided to learn as much about photography from a technical viewpoint as I could. I carefully spent the time, that now ostensibly few deem worthy, to learn about matters of apertures, shutter speeds, film speeds, exposure, perspective, lighting and indeed the developing and printing of film. Whilst I am far from being knowledgeable about photography, I try to make sure that I have at least the simplest working knowledge of these concepts that are so central to photography. I feel that someone who does not take the time to learn the basics of an art form, does not give it the respect it deserves.

Photography is something about which I am constantly learning through shooting. I am nothing but an amateur, however the reason I first decided to share my photographs on this blog, was to give myself the daily challenge of finding interesting shots. One can only learn about photography through the actual shooting and experimentation of photographs, whether that be through the art of film, or the convenience of digital. I do not consider myself a good photographer, simply a student of photography.

I would say that I am still developing my eye, so to speak, and I am still learning with every shot I take. I try to experiment and to seek out beauty, and share those end results however successful they may be. Although I have a long path to travel to becoming a good photographer, whatever that word may really mean, I would like to think that my photography is, if not beautiful, at least interesting.

Who would you like to see in more photo shoots when it comes to menswear?

Johnny Depp.

I would love to see a shoot of him in a fashion magazine, but rather than sporting the choices of a stylist, simply displaying outfits from his own wardrobe. He is in my opinion the best dressed male celebrity, simply because his sense of individuality and personal style comes across in every outfit he wears. He does not hire a stylist and the fact that he dresses himself for red carpet events, and still looks amazing, is a true testament to his style and awareness of self. To truly know yourself and be able to trust your instincts when it comes to fashion is something I definitely admire.

What was the first blog you started reading and checking frequently? Was it fashion related, or more about the person's daily life?

This is a rather hard question for me to answer, in that there are a lot of what were originally blogs which are now considered as being websites (such as PostSecret or The Huffington Post). However the first fashion blog I began visiting frequently was actually The Sartorialist back in 2006. At the same time I used to visit Indexed regularly, eagerly awaiting the witty and smart charts and diagrams. After which, I ran into blogs I may have read for a few months then forgotten about, or else read the newly emerging blog side of established websites. Since having begun my own blog, the number of blogs I read regularly has does nothing but grow, and the quality of many still amazes me.

Have you ever thought of doing a street style blog, like
Face Hunter for example? Do you think you would be good at finding amazing outfits to photograph for such a blog?

The answer to this is both yes and no to be honest. When I am out, I usually do not think twice about complimenting a stranger on their outfit or a piece I really like. I actually tend to strike up conversation with strangers quite frequently, especially on public transport, such as the person sitting next to me on a train journey. I am always surprised at how shocked they seem for someone they do not know having actually taken interest in them, and indeed everyone smiles at a compliment.

Before starting this blog, I would often take a photographs of a piece I liked, having asked the person where they had bought it from. It was usually after an actual conversation, rather than simply an immediate request however. Seeing as how I did not ask their permission then for posting it on the internet, I have not shared these photographs. Having started my own blog, I did think of shooting outfits specifically for posting, however quickly decided to focus on my personal thoughts and ideas instead. There is such a number of high quality street-style blogs out there, I doubt my own efforts would be able to come in at even half the same standard.

Currently playing: The Little Things - Colbie Caillat



  1. Hi :)

    Those photos are absolutely amazing! I love the 6th one!


  2. Amaazing photographs! You should be the new facehunter.. but maybe a more storytelling facehunter?


  3. I so loved that pic of the building. I really love pics of buildings. My Mom had to take some shots for a photography class back in college and some of my favs were of the buildings in her home town. The black and white gave it its own character. I also loved a shot she took of my dad taking a picture in a canyon. She got his backside. Its actually one of my favorites of hers.

    She gave us polorids when we were kids that took those mini shots. She so hoped we'd take pics of stuff on vacation. Well, my little brother took pictures of something I won't say. But least to say, we couldn't believe he did that.

    Loved your answers.

  4. Hey you know i think you were onehundred percent right to choose not to do a photos of people on the streets type blog.

    I only check three regularly, and besides when the Sartorialist is used as the measuring stick, I mean it makes it so easy for others to fall short of that standard.

  5. The red heels...so hot! Wow.

    I think you're amazing words would be wasted with just a street style blog. I don't mean "just" negatively, because the Sartorialist is just amazingly inspirational. But you definitely have a gift with your words.

    I emailed you back, darlin! :) XOXO

  6. great set of amazing photos.
    i'm impressed by your skill.

    mi ji~

  7. Amazing photos, hun.
    Love your answers, deep and insightful, really food for though....

    Have a nice week and thanks for visit my blog.


  8. Really an insightful post on photography. Gives me more to think about when I take that next picture.

    Love the photos too.

  9. Great answers. You are very eloquent. I like Johnny Depp's style too; he's such an original. It seems like his style in wardrobe and movies he stars in are very similar, it's different but it works.

  10. these photographs were easily mistaken as yours!

    i love your answers on photography. i love learning about young photographers and you are a multi man show with fashion, photo and literature.

  11. Have you heard the Colbie Caillait and Jason Mraz song, Lucky? :) Pure LOVE!

    I like this post, very insightful and an interesting read. I always wonder what goes inside the photographer's head. And the photos ROCK, of course. :)

    Rain, rain.. GO AWAY already.. boo! :(


  12. Great shots! Love your ideas on photography---definitely is something that can touch people in different ways.

    My hubby is a trained photographer and is getting going again----he does portraiture---check out his website at BBSNAPS.net

    Thanks for sharing these!!

  13. These photos are fantastic. I really like your thoughts on photography. I always enjoy reading your blog. You've definitely got good insights to share with us. I hope you had a nice weekend.

  14. It was sooo much fun !! and awesome bands !! hehe, thanks ;P

    Seriously, these photos r amazing. !! i absolutly looove the one with the orange and pink "stripes". I wish I had a picture like that on my wall :)

  15. This is such a perfect explanation of photography. I feel like what a lot of amateur photographers don't realize is just how hugely important light is. I really wish I had Ansel Adams' patience in getting the light just right--I think the problem with the advent of digital photography is the expectation of instant results (getting it right the first time). And I definitely agree that so much of the meaning of photographs comes from the viewer--they just have such inherent nostalgia.

    Also, it's so cool that you find it so easy to compliment strangers. I try, but I'm such a strangely shy person...I guess that's why I like to compliment strangers on the internet...

  16. While I think you should do a facehunter series of posts, I do agree as well that it's best to find your own niche and do what you want to do. I like how your photographs of ordinary things makes them look so interesting and beautiful. I've recently become more interested in photography myself and would love to one day have that same ability to make the ordinary extraordinary!

  17. The sheer volume and quality of writing you produce is impressive. I'm a typical guy who has no fashion sense at all. I really come here for the writing.

  18. Dear dapper darling, I will never get over how adorably adorable you are =.D

  19. Fantastic and insightful post! Love Johnny Depp's personal and unique style. And I'm also the same way in that if I see another person whose outfit I like or has a fab pair of shoes on, I'll compliment them. Of course I usually find out that they have bought the piece of clothing or shoes at a vintage store or a different city. :) Hope you had a great weekend!

    xo, Becs

  20. really love this! And the pics are too beautiful to be true.

  21. Wow, I love your answer about photographing!
    - Of course to some, it is simply a car, but then they only see with their eyes rather than their hearts.
    - I feel that beauty can be found wherever one wishes to look for it.

    I have learned something important. I will open my eyes and my heart more. Photographing is a beautiful way of expression, and I will remember this post the next time I am photographing. Thank you :-D
    I heart u, seriously ^^

  22. great pictures, the converse shots are my faves!

  23. omg...wait a second...
    these are your own photos right? omg. wowwwww. i knew you were good but like.. wowww. haha. i love them all! the 9th one particularly caught my eye.

    sighs. you probably here this all the time but you are such an inspiration!!! ..and great. now i feel like some apple tea as well!


  24. surimay: I wish! They are by Futura, from his daily photography diary.

  25. These photos are fantastic and inspiring. I've always loved photography, I bought and SLR but have zero idea when it comes to functions. I'm currently learning through trail & error and lots of reading. I hope for a class. Photography is like a finger print, unique and personal to the photographer.

  26. I really enjoyed reading your take on photography. Back when photography didn't exist, artists would usually paint anything from portraits to war scenes to capture a moment and memory, because this was the only way they could do so. It progressed to being an expression of something the artist tried to convey. Photography later took on this role, so I totally agree that this is an art from as well... your description of the camera being the brush that paints the picture is just perfect. I do respect anyone who can paint... either with a brush or a camera. I have dabbled in both, but I think I lack the patience to follow through completely.

  27. First off, I like the new header!

    I think the beginnings of my inner photography buff started back in grade school when we had to make pinhole cameras, or when my family went to Toronto, and I shot photos from different angles to better my skills.

    Johnny Depp is absolutely amazing, I love him so much more when he's not in the POTC get up.


  28. Very very inspirational photos and answers...Great links too. Right now I feel so small, maybe I should quit blogging :-)

  29. Fabulous post, DK! Love the Q&A. Favorite quote:
    "We all see the world in a different way, and photography is, as is art, a celebration of that fact."
    These pics are exquisite! I especially like the more abstract ones...


  30. Hahahahahahahaha oh, DK, I started cracking up at the random mention of apple tea. I'm really not sure why, but it lifted the nasty studying mood I'm in.
    Thank you for that, love! :D!

    From time to time I'll slide into some comfortable clothes and go around my neighborhood to take some pictures, and even though I'm a level below amateur (what would you call that? :P) at photography, I enjoy doing so to simply look back and, like you said, remember those certain moments in time. What the air felt like that day. How the trees swayed in the wind. What was special about that particular date.

    I always love your photography. It's like you fall upon everyday objects and make them beautiful. It's amazing.
    Psh. Amateur?


  31. Mmm apple tea does sound quite wonderful.

    You're no amateur! I loved reading about your motivation behind taking photographs. In a way it's similar to mine. I see things in my head and want to capture them before they vanish.

    Johnny Depp. Yes. He really is just the greatest of the great. In so many different ways. Three Cheers For Johnny!

    I always like looking at books on street fashion. Mostly the Japanese magazine Fruits. At one point though my mom and I had discussed putting together a book of our own and getting it published...you struck up that memory. I may have to remind her. :D

  32. I have FINALLY worked out how to log in and have two points to make:
    a) we DO know
    b) How do you feel about jeggings..?

    I am sending your birthday present this week (yes, I know...!!) so BE EXCITED

    Love xxxx

  33. and, oh how you discribe the photographing. it's so true.

  34. very thought provoking . . señor DAPPER. thank you for the LOVE.


  35. All of these photos are incredible. I love taking photos too and should really take lots more!

  36. amazig photos, really love the picture of the houses!!

  37. great post and i love the photos

  38. i need one of those silver rings! ever since i saw erin wasson wearing one...

  39. love the photos! i wanna get a better camera to snap lots of photos!

  40. it's good to see people's inspiration, and i do like the simplistic yet amazing photographs. hey totes like that website.

  41. it's good to see people's inspiration, and i do like the simplistic yet amazing photographs. hey totes like that website.

  42. Awesome photos and I agree about Johnny Depp!

  43. gr8 fotos superb diction, start working on ur book mate, :o0

  44. my first blog was the sartorialist too :)

  45. Hey! Hope everything is great with you? I got tagged by a girl named Knalleffekt! That asked me to tag seven more and you were one of them=) hehe You can read on my blog what to do and if you want to do it=) I liked it because its so easy and fun to find new good blogs=)

  46. I adore your answers so much. I hope this doesn't sound too weird, but I'd love to meet you in real life because I love the way you write (so eloquent and thought out and just amazing!) and I think I would love to have an actual conversation with you face to face and god knows you're one of the few bloggers I can say that about.

    Again, you are freaking amazing :)

  47. Beautiful beautiful pictures! You are a very talented man.

    I'm in love with the pic of Jimmy Stewart you have on the side...very delicious!

  48. I love photography! I took it as an elective senior year and I've just loved it since.. I wish I had more time for it though, its hard when I'm on a small college campus all day. I love how you seem to be able to capture the most perfect shots!

  49. ahh, your words are so perfect! i love the concept of viewing photography with your heart. and i agree with you about johnny depp- he always seems to look completely at ease with himself, and his clothing reflects that. obviously, i/we don't reallly know him, but that's the impression i get.

    and i, sir, am jealous of your rain (:

  50. Although I think your efforts would create a beautiful street-style blog, I completely agree with you. There are so many out there! Great musings on photography.

  51. Truly beautiful photography.

    I've always envied those who had such an eye & talent for capturing beauty in unconventional ways. There's something alive about these pictures; the image isn't just "there" or stalemate.

    Love it :)

    La C.

  52. wow wow wow love this series of images, you have a wonderful eye honey! how are you DK? I love photography for the power an image has and how one image can mean a zillion different things to different people.
    muah x

  53. Amazing photos, absolutely beautiful. I tend to be a perfectionist and usually that means I don't try things out because I know I won't be able to translate the beauty or the message. But from now I guess that attitude needs to be revised. I'd love to see Johnny Depp in more photos too!

    Can we exchange links?

  54. awsome pictures, love them :)
    Thansk for your comment,do you understand what I wrote? Im curious:)