Today, as part of Project Educate
's focus on transportation photography, I'm presenting an interview with ~notbland
whose automotive shots are unparalleled and who happens to be just one hell of a nice guy.
1) Why did you join dA? Were you into photography before joining, or was it a passion that developed later?
I joined dA as a way to both showcase my work to its massive artist community, as well as gain feedback from fellow artists. This latter point is the primary reason I still keep my profile active, even after all these years. When I finish editing an image, before it sees the light of day on any other website- including my own- I post the photos here first, for feedback from my fans. Often I make changes based on the comments, and it's this constant critique that allows me to fix mistakes or oversights, and overall further hone my editing skills.
I was shooting photos long before I joined the site, however I originally joined under a different username back in 2004, where I uploaded mainly graphic design-inspired works.
2) What are some positive and negative experiences you've had as a photographer? How do you feel about people who say photography isn't "art"?
I haven't had many negative experiences to date, so I fear I may not be able to shed much light on that question. Overall, the years I've spent shooting professionally has been overwhelmingly positive, as I quite honestly have my dream job. I wouldn't trade this career for anything in the world, so when I 'go to work' in the morning, I'm loving every moment of it. No negative experiences to be had there!
As for those who claim that photography isn't art, it sort of baffles the mind, doesn't it? I suppose if you're referring to, say, strictly documentary-style point-and-shoot photos that you might find in a run-of-the-mill newspaper, then sure, one might not classify the work as 'art'. But for every other conceivable genre of the field, absolutely it's an art form. I consider myself to be an artist first and foremost, and a photographer second.
3) Where do you find inspiration? Is there anyone (on or off dA) whose style you strive to incorporate, or just really look up to?
Everywhere. There are quite a few names I have always used as inspiration for my own work- the first of which is dA's very own Alisdair Miller (~almiller
). He always has the most stunning color work, and it's something I've tried to pay homage to in recent series. Outside of the site, there's Simon Puschmann, Conrad Pipenburg, Olaf Hauschulz, Stephan Romer, and countless others, all pros in the commercial and editorial fields.
4) What's your best tip to great automotive photography?
I know is sounds like a lame 'tip', but I cannot stress it enough, and really I find it to be the most important aspect of any successful photoshoot: Location. A location can make or break a series, so finding a suitable backdrop is absolutely crucial to the ultimate success of the end product. The way I've always put it, you can shoot an ultra-exlusive $2.5 million Ferrari, but if it's sitting in the middle of a parking lot, who cares? The backdrop for the car HAS to work with the car itself, or else the photos will suffer. I am always out location scouting weeks in advance of any shoot, finding new and interesting locations, acquiring permits from business owners, and keeping an archive of discovered areas that I can use for future photoshoots. Some cars need a certain locale to work; a silver Rolls-Royce Phantom for instance wouldn't work in an abandoned, burned-out airplane hangar, but an orange Nissan GTR would fit perfectly in the charred chaos. The location needs to work with the car, and vice versa.
5) How do you get access to such amazing and rare cars?
It all comes down to simple networking with owners. Virtually every photo in my gallery is part of a larger session that was commissioned by private owners and collectors across the US, as opposed to companies or corporations. When working with the individual owners of the cars, it actually becomes quite easy to reach the next level of insane exotica; just impress your clientele, and word of mouth will do the rest. Car guys know car guys, so impress a Subaru owner first, he'll show his friend with a Porsche, then a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and so on. Just always try to out-do yourself, be professional, and deliver a unique product in your own style, and you'll eventually have access to any number of rare and exotic cars that you wish.
6) Do you have any pointers for someone starting out?
My pointers could actually just be copied from my above two responses. But beyond that, look through car magazines and other photos on DeviantArt and try to establish what sort of angles are successful, and which are not. Then ask yourself what hasn't been done, and see what you can do about rectifying that! Remember, many cars look better when viewed from low angles, so avoid eye-height point of view where you can. Maybe looking down on the car from several stories would offer a unique composition, especially if the car has a transparent engine cover, like many Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Also while exploring car magazines, figure out what locations work best. Car garages and loading bays are two of the most over-shot backdrops in the field; think of other places that would work with the cars. Just constantly experiment and explore, and you're sure to find a signature look that works for you.
7) Which piece of yours is your personal favourite? Why?
Now that is a tough question... I have over 1,600 finished photos in my current portfolio, so narrowing that down to my single favorite is a challenge in itself. I think, however, after a thorough scan through my top personal fifty, it would have to be "All Yours":
The car in question is the 2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 Super Veloce, the fastest Lamborghini ever produced, and also one of the most expensive. With only 350 examples worldwide, it's exceedingly rare as well. The fact that I had two days with the car in what was essentially the Everglades in south Florida was amazing in itself, but add onto that the perfect weather for the session, the incredible location I had chosen, and for that particular photo, the giant birds of prey circling above, made for an exceptional capture that will always be one of my favorite photos. Plus, with the driver door open and the cockpit just visible, it's almost beckoning the viewer inside- hence the title I used.
This interview is done for the Transportation Photography Focus portion of #projecteducate