Saturday, 9 May 2009

Sat 9th May: Portrait Photographer Profile - Dan Wilton

I first borrowed images from Dan Wilton's portraits archive in March when he covered the single launch for thecocknbullkid who has been a recurring subject in his vast library. ( Although preliminary press shots of immerging artists are necessary to launch their career, these are also the pictures that go down in history when the act was captured in their primary state and purest essence. I always love discovering the first early shots of musicians where they are almost unreconisible, unaffected and unaware.............before they have started hiding behind the masquerade of their own constructed character identity. For example Maripol's Madonna or Mick Rock's Iggy Pop. So it’s an exciting time to be at the epicenter of London's unprecedented up surging saturation of stars in the ascent. There are a few photographers snapping the scene but Dan's seem to be the most energetic and fun-filled so I wanted to know how he achieves getting the best out of the crop of new bands..................

1) Whats your earliest memory of using a camera?

I've got a really hazy memory of pinching my Dad's camera when I was a toddler and trying to figure it out, then dropping it. Got in a bit of trouble for that one

2) What was your 1st camera? What kind of collection do you have now, whats your favourite?

My Dad's old Olmypus OM-20 (with a dent in the top of it from my toddler steal). I'm a bit of a closet camera geek, got a bunch of different cameras, all different shapes and sizes. I'm actually waiting for the postman to come as I'm getting a new one delivered today! My favourite? Probably my Contax T2 - goes everywhere with me

3) Do you always have a camera on you?
If yes: What has been the best candid shot you took?
If no: What was the most regrettable moment you missed?

Pretty much always got a camera with me yeah. I hate to admit it but I'm a little cat obsessed with the new addition to our household Ron. So he's gonna have to feature somewhere in this interview (pic attached)

4) How did you get into portraiture (break through commission?

I wouldn't say I've broken through at all yet. There's definitely been an element of blagging in the past, putting myself in shoots where I haven't really felt comfortable - that's a great way to force yourself to learn. More recently, shooting for 'Sup & Volume has really helped as I've had some great bands put in front of my camera and that's now leading to some really great commissions

5) Who has been the most fun to shoot and why?

Rusko was great cos he was up for trying anything. Ended up getting his manager and his wife to chuck bag load's of flour all over him on the tube. The Black Lips were brilliant just because they were so relaxed in front of the camera. Fake Blood was really enjoyable because he had such strong ideas on what he wanted - that became more of a collaboration rather than a normal shoot. All fun shoots but for loads of different reasons

6) Any disasters or divas?

One particular band was a bit of a Spinal Tap-esque farce but I don't think I can name names...

7) Whats your favourite portrait from history?

Wow. Er...tricky. There was an amazing painting of Michael Jackson up for grabs in his recent Neverland auction of him dressed like an 18th century royal. I had grand plans of organising a bunch of similar minded friends to buy it and each have him for a month of the year, time share style, but it never quite happened. Shame

8) What would be your dream subject alive or dead? (person and place)

ZZ Top. I love massive beards

9) Whats your magic formula to get a good shot out of a shy person?

I think it varies from person to person. I try to be as relaxed as possible and hopefully that can rub off on the person I'm shooting. But to be honest, a lot of the time if I'm shooting a shy person, then I want some of that shyness to come across in the photos as that's part of who they are, and that's not necessarily a bad thing

10) Any insider top tips of musicians you have shot recently?

I haven't shot them yet but Luisa & The Lampshades are brilliant, go check them out - Oh and Lesbian Bedsit, they're gonna be massive -

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