Nashville portrait photographer Danielle Holbert reflects on her specialty in analogue portraiture of artists and musicians, many of whom she has connected with through a dynamic circle of creative friends. For Holbert, each photo shoot is a balanced collaboration between artist and subject in order to feature their most authentic personality.
What inspired you to shoot portraiture of artists and musicians?
I was always taking pictures of my friends in high school. Back then they all played in bands so my social circle formed around that. I shot my friend Caitlin Roses’ first album cover ( Caitlin Rose “Dead Flowers”) in her back yard because we wanted to goof around with a vintage wedding dress she had bought. Nashville (Tennessee) is a city filled with a wide variety of artists and musicians. Often musicians require their image to evoke the same emotions as their work, which tends to come naturally and be inspiring on it’s own.
What led you to further explore this through film?
My first love will always be instant film. Since I was a teenager I’ve been collecting and shooting polaroids. In 2008 when Polaroid discontinued the production of its instant film I decided it was time to get serious about exploring other formats of film. Shooting portraiture on film motivates me to slow down and pay attention to detail, because I won’t be editing it on the back end. Analog photography has always encouraged creativity and ignited inspiration.
What was is like working with American singer Margo Price?
Margo is someone I've shot with quite frequently over the years. We’ve always had a great chemistry. She’s very natural with a camera and in life, open to ideas even when they sound kind of crazy. Always in the moment and spontaneous. Working together is basically documenting an adventure.
How do you evoke your own photographic style all while maintaining the styles of the artists and musicians you collaborate with?
Whether or not an artist is comfortable in front of the camera or feeling confident I believe each individual has an idea of the person they want to portray to the world. The photographers job is to capture that individual. I tend to encourage ideas, some brilliant some disasters, but at the end of the day it’s all trial and error.
All of your photographs portray a new story, a quality that enables you to differentiate each image with a new personality, can you give us some of your tips on achieving this?
There is a freedom in not giving too much direction. I want to capture the individual in front of my lens and not try to bring another person out of them. I try not to steer peoples emotions, I want them live out who they are. Sometimes not getting wrapped up in the narrative of the photograph as far as context helps keep who somebody is the main focus.