A fantastically talented photographer, Dan Medhurst has worked with some ultra-cool musical acts such as Roots Manuva, Submotion Orchestra and Diplo. He’s also stuck close to his analogue roots. Last year, he had an exhibition in London titled ‘East of my Youth and West of my Future’; the series of photographs on show were shot exclusively using an old Nikon 35mm SLR whilst he journeyed the world. Read after the jump to find out the adventures Dan had this summer with our very own Lomo LC-Wide!
Name: Dan Medhurst
Country: Great Britain
Camera: LC-Wide (for this project) / Canon 5d2 for most work / Nikon F90X for 35mm film work / Mamiya RZ67 Pro II for portraiture & concepts
How did you become a professional photographer? Is it a dream job?
I decided it was something I wanted to do about 12 years ago and worked as hard as I could to do everything possible to make it happen. I started off basically shooting loads and loads and loads of rolls of film (most of which turned out crap) to get experience; then I went to art school to study photography, video and animation. Following this I spent a long time looking for photography jobs which never come up so in the end I thought ‘Its now or never’ and took the risk of going freelance. I’ve been self employed since 2007 and its been getting better year on year thankfully. Photography is most definitely my dream job, yes. I live for it. It has to work, there is no back up plan.
What’s the most challenging part of working as a photographer for a living?
I would say its striking a balance between shooting what excites you as an artist (if I can say that) and what keeps it fresh and interesting for you, with shooting client work. Obviously we all need money to live so there is a temptation to keep doing the paid client work and put your own projects on the back burner. A lot of client work is very enjoyable and can lead you to some amazing images but its always for someone else so you can’t truly say its yours, if that makes sense?
You shoot analogue a lot – What is it about analogue photography which especially appeals to you?
I came from a film background with digital only coming in around 2005; initially I was a bit anti-digital as I thought it looked awful by comparison. I do think digital has come on a lot since then, but it often needs work in post production to make it look as good as film does naturally. I started my Point & Click project (with a Zenit LC-A) as a way of making some ‘life shots’ as I didn’t really shoot snap shots anymore and I really love the size of the camera and the look of those spontaneous shots. They’re kind of opposite to the rest of the work I do.
We see you also direct some cool music videos like this recent one from Pixelord / Kidkanevil – How does the process of shooting a movie differ from shooting a photo?
Although I did study video at uni I hadn’t really pushed it since I graduated so it was a really exciting challenge getting back into working this way. Fundamentally there a lot of crossovers which came naturally to me as a stills photographer (lighting set up, direction, etc) but there is so much more to think about with video; Movement, sound, editing, grading and all the tech stuff I needed to learn about cameras, codecs etc. I think my focus will always be on stills but its really good to be able to work on different mediums.
You’ve had the opportunity to photograph a lot of musicians and concerts – have you got any advice for photographers looking to shoot at gigs and festivals?
Yeah, I started shooting gigs around 2002. At that time you’d hardly see any other photographers in the pit, nowadays with digi you seem to get 50!! I do think its harder now for people who aren’t established – but its like anything, if you want it badly enough you’ll do it. I think its important to develop your own style and to be critical of your own work and analyse it in order to improve, but really get out there and practice. It does get easier as you go on.
How was your experience shooting with the LC-Wide? What advice have you got for people shooting with the camera for the first time?
At first, I think I wasn’t ready for how wide the lens was and wasn’t close enough to my subjects (I was used to the 32mm LC-A) but once I got that sussed I really loved it. Its very similar to what I was already using, except it didn’t fall apart, like my knackered 1982 Zenit likes to! Advice wise, shoot in good light and you’ll probably get good results. If its not good light put the Blitz flash on and make sure you’re fairly close to your subject. If you want to shoot a wide shot in low light you’ll need to rest the camera on something to stop it wobbling while you hold the shutter down. Generally experiment and try things out. Its pretty straight forward.
What is your favorite shot with the LC-Wide so far? Why?
I like this one as its a shot of my brother and its a bit of a weird portrait. The wide lens exaggerates the corridor he’s stood in. I could probably pick others too though.
And lastly, What’s the strangest, funniest, hands-down greatest, or most “unusual” photographic encounter that you have ever had?
I’m really fortunate that my photography has taken me around the world to a lot of strange and beautiful places, I’ve met a lot so many interesting, unusual characters its really tough to pick just one. Shooting fashion in an working abattoir surrounded by pig carcasses was definitely up there as being ‘pretty weird’. I went round the world a couple of years ago to shoot a personal project called “East of my youth and the West of my future”, a line stolen from the book On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. There were so many great experiences on that trip and as a whole was probably the most rewarding work I’ve shot. Funniest is a hard one to pin down too. Shooting the Kidkanevil video with all the gurning girls was pretty funny though. I was stood next to the camera directing them and illustrating what I wanted by gurning along with them. We were all pissing ourselves laughing at the strange expressions coming out.
The Lomo LC-Wide boasts the newly-developed 17mm Minigon Ultra-Wide Angle lens. This 35mm camera wonder is the perfect companion for your photo expeditions. It produces eye-catching splashes of colour with astonishing saturation and contrasts with the added versatility of 3 different formats. Open up to a new photographic experience with the LC-Wide, available in our Shop.