1. Hi David! Your work is amazing. Tell us please how did you start your career as a photographer? Was it your childhood dream?
Thank you! I always dreamt of doing something creative for a living since the age of 9. I am very dyslexic, so it was either art or sport at school (I almost became a golfer – long story). I fell in love with the process of photography when I was younger. Developing my own prints in the darkroom. I still can’t get my head around how light on paper, followed by dipping it into chemicals can produce an image. It’s magic.
2. Which difficulties did you face when you started your career? Have they changed over the time?
Moving to London at the age of 19 to start my career as a photographer was tough. I didn’t have any connections or friends here, so I had to start from scratch. I went around cold calling on magazines doors and ringing up agencies. I threw myself in at the deep end but I was very driven to be successful. Now I have built up a network of good people around me, both outside of work and within, even forming a collective of creatives so that we can all work together on different projects. London is very much where I feel at home now, so very different to how I felt when I arrived. But I look back at that young guy that I was and I’m proud of him for sticking it out!
3. Tell us a bit what the photographer career is about? Everyone thinks it’s fancy. But what is the reality?
What I tend to tell people is that it’s 10% taking pictures and 90% running a business! A lot of emailing, chasing, prepping, pre and post production, networking, and building teams. The reality is, is that it’s tough. But when I see that my photographic perspective and shaping of light come together to please the client and it’s finally published, that’s the best high of all.
4. If you could name 3 things that a photographer as a person should have, what would they be?
Good with light, to be driven and grippy shoes so you don’t fall over.
5. What or who is your inspiration?
Cheesy as it may sound – my mother, she never stops working and is very loving. She works hard for everyone and puts herself last. She is the backbone of our family and holds us all together! Defiantly something to aspire towards.
6. Please tell us what magazines and celebrities have you already worked with?
Most recently I’ve worked with Janelle Monae, Lily Allen, Bebe Rexha, Starling, Erin O’Connor, and First Aid Kit but I’ve covered a broad spectrum of celebrities from Rosamund Pike to Ranulph Fiennes.
Likewise with magazines – a broad spectrum again, from Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, i-D, Guardian, Dazed and Confused, AnOther to The Sunday Times and lots in between.
7. I know you have your own studio, YoYo Studios. Why did you decide to open it? Is there any story behind it?
I wanted to experiment with my personal work into Fine Art photography. I asked around to buy some regular days in a studio and nobody wanted to entertain it, so the only way I could afford to get a studio of my own was by carrying on with my photography whilst a designer friend, I went to college with, started experimenting and building it up around me. It meant sleeping rough for about 2 years but it was worth it because I love shooting in a natural daylight studio.
8. I guess, our readers would like to know more about some interesting real stories according to shooting celebs. Do you have any?
Well, it sort of divides into those that are a dream to work with and those that aren’t, but I imagine that’s the same in all professions isn’t it?
9. Let’s talk social. Are you into social media or it’s just a part of your job? Does Instagram help you to find new clients or friends?
I am a big believer in social media. It’s the most important place for your work to be seen, for networking and for reaching out to people. It definitely helps me find new work, stay in touch and find people.
10. How should photographers promote themselves nowadays? Any tips, ideas?
Make a list of all the photography you really want to do and start shooting and sharing it around. If the responses are good, expand it and if they’re not, keeping on crafting and perfecting your style. Good work can’t be ignored.
11. What’re your favorite websites as a photographer where you can either learn something new or find the clients or promote yourself?
Showstudio is definitely one of my favorite websites – I learn so much through that site. I love the fact it’s a place where a lot of people come together and discuss debate and collaborate with ideas and talk about things that are happening in the industry.
12. What’re your plans for the future? Any exciting projects you wanna tell us about?
I’m looking at fashion through the perspective of AI, so should be pretty challenging.
13. Who would be your absolute dream designer client?
I’ve shot a few Designers and those that really resonate with me are:
Rick Owens – for his love of attention to detail in his shows. They are such epic productions. His work is very futuristic and forward thinking.
Justin O’Shea for his inspiration, growing up in a remote aboriginal village and working the mines with his father to ending up launching his own brand. Manolo Blahnik for his sense of adventure and energy during a shoot.
Erdem Moralioglu for his infinite precision to detail and his love of first book editions. Patrick Grant for his elegant tailoring.
14. If you could shoot anybody in the world, even historic person, who would you like to shoot?
James Dean. Such a short lived icon – had such great dress sense and I loved his minimal acting style, his life was sadly so short lived. Plus he was a petrol head. I know he would be so much fun to shoot. Feel like we would have been good mates.
15. The recent years have seen a rise of Asian models into stardom, especially male models. What is your opinion about this? How does it affect your work? Are you supporting the new trend by working more with Asian models?
I have always loved the look of Asian models and I shoot with them a lot. So I am happy that they are given more exposure. However, I think it’s important you stick with your own agenda and what it is you want to achieve in a shoot without being too influenced by a movement or trend.
The interview by Victoria Petrova