An Interview With Photographer Derek Johnston
How did you get started with photography?
When I first started about 5 years ago I was taking pictures of landscapes/seascapes. But that soon stopped when I got bored of getting up at 3:30am to go catch a sunrise only to get there and be let down haha. I soon moved onto portraits.
How would you describe your photographic style and how did you develop it over the years?
My style is (I’d say) delving more into digital art these day’s. I try to make it energetic. Sometimes with an edgy look. Sometimes more classic. I like to do what works for the picture. I’ve always dabbled in photoshop, even way before I even thought of buying my first dslr so I use those skills to create stuff. At the moment I’m learning 3D so who know’s what’ll come in the future!
What do you love to photograph the most; awe-inspiring action or posed portraits? Why?
I love awe-inspiring action! I really like shooting and creating images with energy. You know, b-boy dancers doing some crazy move or someone screaming into the camera. It’s fun and different. Have you ever seen an image that makes you ask yourself “how was that made”? That’s what I like to do.
Who were your early photographic influences? How did they inspire you?
Landscape photographer David Noton was probably the first photographer I really got into. I still love looking at landscape images. The planet can be breathtaking. Then I discovered Zack Arias, Joel Grimes and really wanted to get more into portraits. At the moment Mike Campau is probably top of my list. His “Future of Sports” project blew me away.
What project or job have you had the most fun working on? Why?
A project called Digitize. It was for a local band who play a mixture of rock music and dubstep. I wanted to make that rock meet’s digital thing come into a visual platform. It was one of those shoots that you just knew exactly what it’d look like before you even stepped out of the house that day. Editing this was so much fun and I had a huge grin on my face for most of it haha. Yes I am that sad!!
Do you have any photographic mantra? If so, can you tell us what it is and why?
Be yourself and do your own style. We’re always told we should do our own thing and be different. Don’t worry that the guy over the road is shooting what everyone else on the bandwagon bus is shooting. Stay away from trends. They’re like dust clouds and we all know dust settles.
What’s photography really all about?
It’s all about the capture. Wether that’s a facial expression, pose or even an energy someone might have. You know when you see someone and they do a certain face or pose that makes them look great. It’s about capturing that. Those split second micro expressions. All that while trying to make a great picture in the process.
Can you give our readers some pieces of advise on how they can improve their skills in taking photos?
Sure. I believe you should always have a purpose to your image.I see too many photographers setting up shoots just for the sake of doing a shoot. It’s all very well taking a photo of a pretty model in a great location but ask yourself what does that image mean? What is it saying to the viewer? Shoot with feeling just as an artist paints or draws with passion. You should also push yourself every time. You know the last project you worked on that you thought was amazing? Now try and do better on the next one!
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