Photographer Interview 16 – Darren Newbery
1. How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer for 13 years. I started out using black & white film and hand printing in the darkroom. I followed inspiration mainly from the American landscape photographer Ansel Adams.
His b/w images of the American National Parks and his amazing skills in printing inspired me to spend countless hours in the darkroom trying to perfect every image I hand printed.
I then moved into hand printing colour photographs and eventually into digital photography. In the last few years I’ve been working in travel & documentary photography and last year started my own Commercial & Editorial business in Exeter.
2. What inspires your work? / Which other photographer or photographers most inspire you?
I find lots of creative media inspiring and every element of that in turn inspires my work. Visual and imaginative elements from movies, art, and music are a daily influence that
I don’t always think about but realise when something just catches my eye. Artists and other photographers are also a big influence on my work, and the way I try to approach assignments and personal work. I’ll always try to raise the quality of my work and out do the previous photographs, as “you’re only as good as your last picture”.
Contemporary work & image style from American photographers such as Chase Jarvis, Joe Mcnally, and Scott Kelby always has an impact with me and my work. When they shoot something more often than not I look at it and think, ‘wow, that is a great shot!’
Their work has so much feeling to it. It’s always lit and edited really well, and the clean crisp style of the images that they produce are always full of visually exciting elements that make you want to just explore the image.
3. What media do you work in?
I’m completely digital. Having started out with film I’ll always get those moments when a DSLR & a Mac just don’t compare to the chemical darkroom process of creating an image, but digital does give you an amazing amount of creative freedom. I still have some old film cameras and have some fun with the Lomo, and Holga cameras, but all my commercial work is fully digital.
I also try to use my iPhone camera as much as I can when I see something that looks interesting (outside of commercial shoots of course!). I think its important to always have a camera with you, as you never now when or where you will see a photo opportunity.
4. How would you describe your style of photography?
I suppose every photographer is constantly changing their own style and way of working in one way or another, I love working in the studio as you have complete control over the lighting, but I also love the natural light of shooting landscapes and shooting on location as you have to work with what you have in a much more organic way.
Change your setup depending on the weather etc. I think that’s where my current style is heading due to my love of both studio photography & location work, a good mix of both!
I’m really enjoying working on location with portable lighting gear, as I find it provides me with a lot of flexibility and creativity when designing a shoot or concept and the challenge of working with what the location can provide in terms of composition and light, and its this combination of studio lighting with natural light is where I find myself wanting to work these days as it just provides a great blend of light, and location.
Planning is also vital to how I like to work. If I go into a shoot with a concept/plan I can get the shots I need, and then play around with ideas when the main shots are in the bag! It really helps to keep the stress down and the fun creative levels up, allowing you to improvise on location and try to get some unplanned random images from the day. Which can sometimes turn out to be the best shots of the day!
I’d like to think of my photographic style as polished, technically sound and most importantly creative. Having learnt the basics on film cameras I always try to get the image as close to finished as possible in camera, then enhance it with Aperture/Photoshop in post production. I’m a strong believer in getting it right the first time without needing to spend hours fixing mistakes later on in front of the computer!
My work is also quite eclectic in that I don’t have a specialism that I focus on 100% of the time. It keeps me interested and inspired and also provides my clients with a lot of variety in styles for any commercial or editorial work too.
5. Do you do any initial planning before starting on a new photography project?
Whenever possible I’ll do a walk around a location with a camera, just testing angles, seeing what will work with composition ideas etc.
Then if I’ve got a mix of studio lighting and natural light in the concept I’ll bring the flashes along and just shoot a few set pieces with the lights to see how the light will bounce off angles, or how I can creatively light a scene and shoot an interesting image.
It’s much easier to do this when you have the time without keeping a model or client waiting for you to figure out what will work best etc… I guess my rule of thumb is to produce the images you need for the client then through a little improvisation and experimentation try to think outside the box while on location and see where it can lead you.
6. What words of advice would you give to any aspiring photographers out there?
Practice, and just simply look around at what everyone in the industry is doing, and find inspiration from the people whose work you like.
Inspiration will come from everywhere. Every time I photograph a shoot, be it for a client or my own personal projects I’ll find a new idea or another way of doing things that will give my images a different direction.
Personal projects are so important, as it gives you the freedom to explore what you are interested in rather than working to a clients brief.
“If I have any message worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography” – Edward Weston
7. I’d also like to detail any forthcoming work/exhibitions that you may have?
New work is constantly being added to my website, and a new blog post with my recent band photography shoots (both studio and location-based) will be online in the next few days. You can also see a selection of my travel stock images online through the links through my website to Alamy etc…
Background on Darren Newbery:
Darren Newbery is an internationally published commercial & editorial photographer based in the South West of England.
His work has been featured in The Mail on Sunday, Acoustic Guitar Magazine/Oyster House Publishing, in the press and in art publications.
Darren’s portfolio can be viewed at www.darrennewbery.com