“I’ve always had things in my head I’ve wanted to get out.”
Gary D. Chapman (born 1986) is a contemporary photographer currently based in Louth, Lincolnshire, England.
He’s self-taught when it comes to photography. Everything he’s learnt up to now has been by trial and error and hours & hours of youtube videos.
“I’m Gary Chapman, a photographer & creative editor from the east coast of England.”
Interview with Gary D. Chapman
Gary, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
I’ve always been a huge fan of cinema and wanted to be a film maker for many years. I flirted with film making but never had the balls to go out there and do it properly. Then DSLR’s started to include video capabilities that for the money was far superior to dedicated video cameras.
I invested in a Canon 7D and to be honest I’ve hardly ever used it for video!
I started going out and snapping things here & there, trying to learn how to use the camera, then I started to think outside the box and I realised that photography doesn’t have to be just a photo of ‘something’, that you can create a whole story in just one frame!
I’ve always felt like a creative person, I’ve always had things in my head I’ve wanted to get out.
But I can’t draw or paint, I can’t write, I can’t create music, I’ve tried all those things, but photography and photoshop is the one thing that can connect my brain to my fingers and create something.
A photographer has many “tools” at hand to bring across his message: lenses, lighting, framing, color treatment etc. Can you elaborate a little bit on the techniques you used for this particular project in order to link form and content?
Not sure exactly what ‘project’ you are referring to, but I’ll answer this generally… (laughs)
I tend to use off camera flash for my images, especially the creative conceptual stuff. This allows you to really control the images final look and style. I plan images before hand and very crudely draw them out so I know what the framing of the final image will be.
I like to use complimentary colours when styling the image, I use blue and yellow tones a lot, I find it gives a very cinematic look.
Which photographer has inspired you most? In what way?
There are so many great photographers out there! Like everyone I use others work as inspiration but I’m always careful not to get to focused in one person in particulars work as it can have a negative effect and you lose your own identity.
I love the work of Erik Almas, for me his commercial work is very inspirational and is a level that just feels impossible to achieve.
I’m a big fan of Joey L and his visual style. You forget how young he is with all he has achieved.
And finally I would say Aaron Nace, he has had a huge influence on my work as I have learnt so much from his photography & photoshop tutorial site (phlearn.com).
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
I’ll be honest… I don’t know any! But google is my friend and I like this one by Ansel Adams:
“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
“I’m not really a ‘gear guy’ and don’t care for the Canon vs Nikon debate.”
I have a canon 7D and have shot predominately with a sigma 17-70 lens since I stared and more recently a Canon 50mm f1.4. I’ve just treated myself to the Canon 24-70 f2.8 & Canon 70-200 f2.8.
It’s not a cheap hobby is it! I would like to say tho that I’m not really a ‘gear guy’ and don’t care for the Canon vs Nikon debate.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Not so much a site about photography but has to flickr. Getting my work seen and feedback from different kinds of people was invaluable when I started and still is.
What book about photography would you recommend?
I don’t have too many books on photography.
I got ‘Photographing Shadow & Light’ by Joey L for christmas which is a great book. Also I would say ‘Shooting Yourself’ (Selfies in the USA) by Haje Jan Kamps because I’m on the front cover.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
“Photography is so diverse you’ll never be good at it all!”
Don’t look too hard at what others are doing, just take the type of photos you enjoy. If you don’t like taking landscapes don’t do it, if you don’t like doing portraits don’t do it, photography is so diverse you’ll never be good at it all!
Find your own style, find your own place, take lots of shit photos and try to evaluate & make them better next time.