Interview with:
Dave Earl

Dave Earl

Where are you born and when?

USA, 1970

Where do you live?

Western WI

When and how do you start your path in photography?

I first became interested in photography as a kid who grew up with Polaroids and point and shoot cameras. I received a Nikon FA as a high school graduation gift and from there my love of photography was firmly established. Early in my professional career, around 1997, I acquired a Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 and started my journey into the world of digital photography. It was my interest in digital photography and having access to a few willing models that pointed me in the direction of fine art nude photography. From the beginning I struggled (and still do to a degree) with my love of photography competing with my love of painting. Ultimately I became aware that I don’t have the patience to be a decent painter so photography won in the end as my primary obsession.

Who were the three photographers that inspired you at the beginning and who are the three ones that inspire you now?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

In the beginning I really admired the work of Alfred Stieglitz, Sally Mann, and Joel Peter-Witkin. I still admire their work of course.

More recently I have been interested in the work of: Bill Henson, Antoine d’Agata, and Miroslav Tichý. Of course it is difficult to narrow down favorites given the number of exceptionally talented photographers out there today.

I would also say there have been several painters that have been just as inspiring. These include Francis Bacon (of course), Lucian Freud and Richard Pearlstein.

Bill Henson

Antoine d’Agata

Miroslav Tichýý

Did you go to a school or are you a self-taught?

I am largely a self-taught photographer. Most of my photographic education came from reading books on the subject, especially the ones with more pictures than words. I have a rather large collection of photography books with an emphasis on Pictorialism, vernacular, and fine art figure photography. Aside from books, I have benefited greatly from being friends with several talented photographers over the years.

Do you make photography as a living?

At the moment I do not. There is always hope for the future! I do occasionally sell prints, however that doesn’t come close to supporting my photography obsession.

What do you like in photography, what is your motivation?

I really enjoy the creative side of making photographs. I continue to be fascinated with the serendipitous nature of some techniques and processes. I love to experiment with equipment and techniques even though it can be frustrating at times. The thrill of discovering something new that works well keeps me going. Of course the thing I like most about photography are the wonderful people, photographers and models that I have crossed paths with over the years. They are truly some of the finest people I know.

As far as motivation goes, I think what keeps me going is the pure thrill of making the next photograph and seeing what happens.

What do you want to express or arouse in those who watch your images?

I have always been interested in making photographs that make me happy and are consistent with my creative vision. Because I see art as a personal experience, I try not to be overly concerned with how others view my work.

What are your preferred moment(s) in the creation process?

I truly enjoy the process of getting to know models. Knowing them as unique individuals and forming a connection based on creativity is essential to my process. Such a connection is a necessity if you want to make honest photographs. When a connection is absent, I think it shows in the work.

What are your three most representative images, and why?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

Three photographs that could be considered representative of my current work are featured here

"Ghost in the Attic” is an example of long exposure and intentional camera movement techniques. I use these techniques to create movement, mood and a sense of passing time, all of which have been important themes explored in my work.

"Alaina on the Prairie (Infrared)” is a photograph that demonstrates the unique characteristics of infrared photography, something I have worked with for a number of years. I have always loved the way infrared light renders the body. The visible veins, in particular, give a sense of the body as a living organism interacting with the environment with an aliveness unique to IR.

"Clover Field” is a typical example of the figure in nature, a subject that I explore extensively. Who doesn’t like being outside photographing beautiful landscapes and figures?

What equipment and/or techniques do you use?

It is not a matter of brands/lenses, it is mostly about analog/digital, preferred light (natural/flash), how much post-production, etc.

I prefer to use mirrorless cameras due to their versatility and more specifically their ability to use all of the vintage lenses I have collected over the years. I appreciate the craftsmanship and the unique characteristics of different vintage lenses.

I currently use a mix of digital and film cameras ranging from full frame 35mm to large format. To keep things interesting, I occasionally use pinhole, infrared, and full spectrum cameras.

As far as favorite techniques go, I like to experiment with long exposure and intentional camera movements the most.

For post-production, both digital and film (scanned negatives), I typically use Adobe Lightroom.

How and why your work as changed since you started?

Over the years I have become less concerned about making technical photographs, preferring instead to embrace imperfections and a softer feel. I have turned into one of those “focus is overrated” people. I like to keep up with the advancements in photographic technology and the new creative capabilities that it provides. We truly live in a remarkable time to be a photographer.

What do you think about the fact that nowadays photography is mostly enjoyed on the Internet?

While the internet offers photographers the opportunity to share work with a world-wide audience (of course a good thing), I believe the real beauty of a photograph is best experienced as a physical art object (a print). Digital photographs on a screen are a very different thing than physical prints. There is something really special about holding a beautiful well made print in your hands and appreciating it as art. In addition, a screen can’t compete with a well made photography book that you can hold in your hands. In my view, no photographer’s home is complete without photographic prints on the wall and photography books on the shelves. Screens are optional.

Why did you decide to join the nudeartzine project?

I absolutely support photography in a printed form. I have always loved the zine format, it is a great way to make art available to masses.

Would you have an insight or advice to give to whomever is watching your work and wants to learn photography?

A couple of things come to mind. First, collect great photography books and study them. There are few things more precious in my opinion. Secondly, strive to make photographs that you want to hang on your own walls and appreciate. Making photographs solely to get more “likes” is a fool’s errand.

What are your plans in the future?

In the near term I have a few book projects I am working on and a website revision to complete. In the long term, I hope to continue learning, improving, and chasing the perfect photograph.

On what page our readers can find more of your work?


Would you like to add something else?

Sure, a few thoughts: film isn’t dead, embrace change, photographers can be artists, and it’s all about making good photographs, not getting the most likes (#thetruth).

Last updated 17/02/2022 01:02:32

Books by Dave Earl

Cover of nudeartzine volume #14}
nudeartzine volume #14
Cover of Best of 2021 a nudeartzine book}
Best of 2021 a nudeartzine book

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