Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Danny Molyneux a talented photographer based in Manchester.
Hi Danny, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. Let start at, well...the start. When and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?
"For me it started way back in the 1980s when digital only ever applied to watches and all camera required something called "film" to record the images, not an SD card.
At the tender age of 16 I got a Saturday job in the local computer shop, selling games for the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum, the Vic 20, and the Commodore 64. The shop was an annexe from a much larger photographic retailer. Occasionally I would wander in to the camera store and took an interest in the cameras that were on sale there. I was far too poor to be abel to afford any of the cameras on sale there, but would often view them with envious eyes.
Mum developed an interest in photography, and owned an Olympus OM-10 SLR. Then one day she came to upgrade it to the OM-30, and I inherited the superseded model. I was on my way. This is where I learned about aperture and shutter speed. Film speed, or ASA (ISO to the digital kids) was a choice you made in the shop and were stuck with for 24 or 36 shots and had to be planned in advance.
I only ever used to take snapshots with the camera. Film and developing and printing were expensive, and so didn't use the camera very much.
Then of course the advent of digital came along, and reignited my interest. I invested in a Canon 300D, the first affordable DSLR. It broke. A few years later I decided to have another go. I invested in another Canon, the 500D and tried my best to get better."
Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?...
"I don't think it's a secret to anybody who has interacted with me via social media that I too have my struggles with confidence. I've blogged about some of my confidence issues with respect to photography here, here, here, and mentioned it on Twitter and PurplePort many times. This has certainly been the biggest challenge for me, but I do feel that over the past 12 months I've made continual progress, step-by-step, getting better and better as the weeks have gone by, and made improvements with each photoshoot.
Issues like this won't be fixed overnight, but improvements can be made and I have done all I can to get better. My photoshoot this weekend with an incredible model, Stephanie Dubois, was incidentally, in the same studio as my first photoshoot almost exactly 12 months before. It was a really good experience for me, not only because Stephanie is a superbly talented model, but it was also good for me to see just how far I have come in the past year and to gauge my own personal improvement. I am better, both as a photographer, and as a more confident person. A happy time for me right now."
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
"From the people around me in this modern virtual world mostly. The photography community on modelling sites like Model Mayhem, Madcow Models, and PurplePort, from photo sharing websites like Flickr, 500px, and Pinterest. I'm friends with many creative people, make-up artists, "art" artists, models, photographers, stylist, on Twitter and Facebook. I read a lot of photography blogs and watch lots of YouTube media relating to photography. The images that I see on my computer screen fill me with inspiration on a daily basis.
I don't have an ego as far as my photography goes. I'm ok, but I'm not one of the best. I'm happy about this. It means I have a lot to learn. I get filled with inspiration and want to become better. I'm enjoying the learning process."
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, if can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
"Any photograph of Mrs Dan, my truelove."
Photography sometimes leaves you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?
"Every time I work with a model I'm usually pretty scared.
Just kidding. I was initially terrified, but I have to say, hand on heart, that each and every model I've shot with has been an absolute delight and brought something different and unique to each photoshoot. I would encourage anybody who want to improve their photography to work with an experienced and talented model. This is the secret to improvement.
If you want a specific example of something both scary and funny, then I really can't look any further than my very first photoshoot with a wonderful model by the name of Sinopa Rin. I was absolutely terrified in the build up to the photoshoot; no clue what I was doing, no idea what to do, intimidated, scared, nervous, and terrified. Well of course I needn't have worried. Ms Rin was a delightful and charming person, an accomplished, experienced, and of course beautiful model. She held my hand, figuratively speaking, shooed away the nerves, made me laugh so much and so often, and helped me through the day, and she's been helping me ever since. I feel blessed to have made such an ally in the photography world."
We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
"No plans other than to get better. I do feel that I have made progress, and am better now than when I started, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Practical experience has been such a wonderful improvement tool for me, and I shall continue along my path, loving every step of the journey. Onwards and upwards."
We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?
"I love portraits, and so find myself preferring a slightly longer than standard focal length. For a photoshoot my two favourite lenses are an 85mm prime, and a 70-200 zoom. On my last photoshoot I used these two lenses exclusively, despite taking 6 different lenses with me. I'll generally use the 85mm open wide when shooting with natural light, and the 70-200 when using strobes. Of course I don;t always stick to this, but this is a general rule of thumb for me.
I like to do a lit of street photography. Occasionally I'll take different lenses with me for this, but once I put my "nifty fifty" 50mm lens on the front it just doesn't come off. A great lens for most occasions.
I've also recently "invested" in a prism. About a fiver from ebay. I've been playing with this a lot recently. Not got many images I've created with it in my portfolio yet, but I love some of the results and I have some images I'm really proud of ready to upload. Watch this space ..."
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?
"People want to see my pictures? Really? Well, of you really want to have a look you can find my work scattered about here:
My blog : http://dannymol.co.uk
PurplePort : http://purpleport.com/portfolio/dannymol
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dannymol
Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/dannymolyneux
Twitter : http://twitter.com/computerdan
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/dannymolphotos
Please say hello to me on any of these platforms. Virtual visitors are always most welcome."
I'd like to thank Danny again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of his work.
Image subjects & creatives, in order of appearance: Image 01 - Model: Sinopa Rin, Image 02 - Model: Harley Monster MUA: Nina Kurzweil, Image 03 - Models: Lydia Lawton & Lillith Studio: Nyx @ Studio 13, Image 04 - Model: Katarina Marie Mannequin, Image 05 - Model: Bryher Dickson, Image 06 - Model: Mrs Dan.