There are hundreds and hundreds of different styles of photography.
Daniel Spruce, 22, just so happens to be exceptionally skilled in the execution of most of them. Moving from his home town of Scunthorpe to study photography at the University of Huddersfield, Danny has probably taken a million photographs by this point.
The Arts Platform got to take up some of Danny time, here’s how it went.
Tell us about your self and at what age did you find your interest in photography?
“Well… I’m Danny, I grew up in a small village outside of Scunthorpe, I went to college at John Leggott College to study photography and found myself travelling to Huddersfield to pursue it further. The reason I started taking photos started in Paris, it was my 16th birthday and I was in the middle of Paris, with a new camera. I went crazy and took photos of everything, mostly embarrassing photos of my bad hairstyle choice at the time. But when I was looking back through them I realised I had some good photos.”
How would you describe your photography?
“My photography changes with every brief I receive, depending on what the client would like as the outcome. However, there’s always ways I try to make my own stamp on my photography, I try to keep the manipulation to a minimum so that the photo can speak for itself, I use very strong contrasts in the images and I like to keep tones and to a select few so not to distract away from the subject of the photo.”
Why fashion photography and not any others?
“Fashion photography is a passion, however its not all that drives me. Fashion projects allow me to bring my ideas to life, a very cliché concept, however still true, no matter how big or small an idea is. Fashion photography also has a way of triggering ideas that might not necessarily be a fashion project but a project hinged around that inspiration. Most of my projects have been fashion briefs however towards the end of my degree I pursued more personal projects, which required a more fine art perspective.”
When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
“As a career, I decided photography was what I wanted to pursue, when I saw how my peers and idols got started. They started with nothing and worked their way through the industry to become who they are today. Giving hope to anyone who wants to pursue anything as a career, as long as you put the time and effort in you can have anything.”
Who in the photography world inspires you?
“My inspiration in the photography world comes from Rankin, a pro photographer to the stars and a guy from humble beginnings. He was the first photographer that I bought a book of and looking through his photos has me mesmerised still to this day.”
Who outside the photography world inspires you?
“Movies and advertisements inspire me constantly, I like to analyse them until I can understand exactly how they were composed, how they used light to create that certain effect or just how well the environment worked in their composition. From this projects form, ‘Baker Street’ came from an old Levis advert, which inspired the China Town location.”
What drives you?
“I don’t really have a drive, its always been impulse; it push’s me to take risks, make mistakes and always find myself somewhere I didn’t think the work would take me. As long as you put yourself out there and try different ways of doing things, it might not be where you thought you would be going but it’s better than where you were.”
What’s your favourite part of the whole process?
“My favourite part of the process is taking the photos, theirs nothing better than having a studio full of people ready to help out to create something beautiful.”
What is it like working with different people all the time? Such as models, stylists, make up artists?
“It can get hectic working with lots of people; it takes time, planning and a lot of patience. But they’re always pros, more people means more eyes on the finished product. Which means there is more scrutiny, but it also means the finished product is stronger. But if anyone wants advice on how to progress their photography, you should definitely include more people to the process. Getting to know a stylist’s point of view helps with composition in the images, makeup artists make you consider details in the skin and Models allow you to build on your own direction skills.”
What is the biggest struggle you have come across?
“The biggest struggle is trying to find last minuet dropouts. I’ve been up on Facebook till 3 in the morning looking for a new makeup artist for the following day.”
How do you find inspiration?
“Inspiration is always there to be found; it just depends on how long you look.”
In the photography world, there is a lot of trend setting, for example people using similar tones, do you think there are trends in photography?
“There have always been trends in photography; the strength of the movement behind it depicts how far that trend will go. Now that we have digital manipulation tools the scale of trends can extend further than ever. When a trend starts to get some traction and people start to recognise it and reuse it; it becomes a Genre.”
If you do think so, do you follow these trends or do you try and set your own?
“I sample trends, I try to stay away from the more experimental ones but I like to stick to the oldies, double exposures and black and white remain the few I always use.”
What type of camera do you use? And do you use different ones for different styles?
“I like to stick to using Nikon and Cannon cameras; I use Nikon for Landscape and Cannon for portraiture.”
Do you carry a lot of equipment along with you or do you just go with the flow of things?
“The best set up for me is a camera; I like it to be very natural when you find a photo, point and shoot. It also draws a lot of attention when you carry around a lot of gear so I like to sink in to the background.”
What software do you use afterwards?
“Adobe CC is the only post-process software that I use, it keeps everything simple and all the applications work together seamlessly.”
Do you think social media sites such as Instagram are a positive or a negative for photographers? And why?
“Instagram is a great app; I’m on it more than anything. It can be a great platform to get your work out there. I try and stay away from using Instagram to edit photos because every filter has being used thousands of times before. Now that the restrictions have been lifted people can upload whatever size image they choose, and with this we start to see diversity in posts. Still doesn’t stop you from posting the odd selfie though.”
Which do you prefer, digital or print photographs?
“I’m a fan of both; they both have they’re uses. When I want to get the details in the image out, I’d use digital. But if you want to experiment with the image further id use a print method.”
It is clear to anyone who has an eye, or not, for creative masterpieces that Danny has that something that many people dream of having. Studying his passions histories and looking everywhere and anywhere for inspiration surely gives Danny that extra bit of creative genius that will take him very far in the world of photography.
Take a look through the photographs Danny has provided us and you will see for yourself how talented he really is. Learn from Danny to see what he has done as does when looking at other peoples work.
We look forward to seeing what other tricks Daniel has up his sleeve.
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