Today it’s my pleasure to share an interview with David Johnston. He’s a photographer whose passion has lead him all over the globe. You can connect with him on Twitter @DavidJArt or at his website here.
Jim: How did you get into photography?
David: It has been a pretty wild journey. It’s not something I thought I’d be doing when I fist took a class in film photography in high school. Even though I felt at peace when I’d go out and work on a class project, I never gave it any thought beyond that. Even after I had a photo selected to go into our school magazine! I didn’t take the hint. The next time I discovered that peaceful, creative feeling was when I went to Australia and I’d be hiking or traveling and I’d see all of these potential images in my mind.
Every time we went out, I had my point and shoot Canon by my side. Once I realized my passion for taking photos, I got a digital camera and started learning everything I possibly could. I remember my wife even told me, “I can’t believe you’ve stuck with this so passionately for so long!”
Jim: What inspires you as a photographer?
David: I should say the thing that inspires me is being able to show people how I see the world, but I’d be lying. I’m inspired by color. Not just normal color, I mean vibrant and contrasting colors. In each one of my photos I try to make one prominent color jump out at whoever is looking at it. Even in black and white photos, I want the colors to really contrast. For example if I’m taking a photo of a face, I want the natural wrinkles and character to really stand out.
Jim: What are some of your favorite shots that you’ve taken?
David: I have a ton of favorites. Pretty much every photo is my favorite until I go shoot something else. The shot above was taken in Manhattan Beach, California. It is definitely my favorite photo from the trip. Of course all of my favorites are on my website www.davidjohnstonart.com.
Jim: You have been doing more shoots at live concerts. Do you have any good stories to tell?
David: A lot of the concerts and shows that I shoot are pretty straightforward. Show up, take photos, edit, then make the CD. Since I do love music (and since I’d be listening to music while taking photos anyway) I will get really into the atmosphere anytime I like the band.
At one concert I got way into it because I really liked the music and there was a very intimate atmosphere. I was singing along and dancing next to the stage. The band actually pointed me out to everyone in attendance if they didn’t notice the 6’5” lanky photographer acting like a fool already. I was feeling it though!
Jim: If you could share some advice or encouragement with others pursuing their dream, what would it be?
David: It takes longer than you want it to. Wait, that didn’t have enough emphasis; IT TAKES LONGER THAN YOU WANT IT TO! There we go, that’s better. I’m not trying to discourage anyone—in fact, it’s really encouraging if you put a positive spin on it. Even if you are in a job you don’t like, you are still getting that income on a regular basis. Use your time, resources, and invisibility to build yourself up. Invisibility means that if you slip up, a massive population will not notice it.
Jon Acuff talks about this a lot and when I was at the Quitter Conference, the thing that stuck with me the most was when he told the story of the photographer that came to their house and his wife said, “I hope he doesn’t get noticed soon.” She meant that she wanted him to use his invisibility to improve and perfect his craft, because when he did get discovered, think about how good he would be.
Jim: What is the next project you are going to be working on?
David: I am really excited about my next project. I’ll be working with the Nashville Rescue Mission on some portraits of the guys that have been through the program or will be in the program. I want to incorporate their story with the portrait, telling how they came to Christ and their favorite Bible verse, or an inspirational quote. Hopefully it will shed some light on others going through the program at the mission or anyone who sees them!
Would you share one of your favorite pictures in the comments? (A link would be fine!)
If you have any photography questions or if you have any photography needs-please feel free to contact David. He would love to help.