Traveling by van from state to state across the United States as a touring musician for much of his adult life has left Danny Dempsey with a lot of visual experiences-- something he said has been overwhelming in the past. Through a practice of photography, he's learned to tune his vision and see each moment as it occurs. The work that results is moody and poignant, not unlike the music of his band, Turnover.
When did you first start creating music?
I started playing music when I was 14 years old. My neighbor played guitar and didn’t know anyone else who could do anything so he pressured me into getting a bass so i could learn and start a band with him. We were pretty bad but it was a lot of fun and I think starting to play shows at such a young age really motivated me to keep trying to understand more and more about playing music and being in a band.
When did you start shooting photography?
I can’t remember exactly when I started shooting but when I look back through my photos I can definitely see that when we started touring I started to improve and understand more. Our first tour was around 2010 and at that point I didn’t have a camera that i liked so i’d just get something from a thrift store,use it until it died, steal some film, and get the cheapest development possible.
How do you express your self through each medium, does it differ?
I’ve been shooting with a contax t2 for a few years now and with that camera I put more thought into photos. If I see something that really moves me i’ll always go for that first. I use my instant cameras more spontaneously. Theres definitely something really nice about being able to just point your camera and have the finished product 30 seconds later. There’s only so much I can control with that so it’s really nice to have on me but I can't entirely rely on that with certain things.
Do you prefer instant photos over digital?
I’ve never owned a digital camera so I can’t really say. I use my iPhone a lot when i don’t have a camera with me and even though it’s convenient I don’t like being able to just shoot a million photos of something without having to put a ton of thought into it. I think it definitely has a place but in my mind it kind of dumbs it all down.
How was shooting on the Lomo Instant Wide?
I love it. I’ve used a lot of different instant cameras and this one seems to be the most user friendly.
How do you stay inspired?
Over the last few years I’ve been having a really hard time staying inspired but lately I’ve been trying to take more in. I spend so much of my year in our van driving state to state and it was really overwhelming having to take everything in so quickly. I’m learning to slow down and find beauty in little things throughout the day. Rather than looking at a everything at once I’m trying to look at each thing one by one. I’m surrounded by creative people all day every day and it pushes me to try new things or keep doing things even if my confidence isn’t there yet. I’m moving to NY in a few weeks and I’m hoping the change of surrounding inspires me too.
Do you think you'll be taking on a new form of art in the near future? Music, photography, what's next!
When I was in high school I was into painting but it didn’t last very long. When I get home from this tour I want to get back into that and try to get some ideas out. When I started shooting photos I was pretty much just taking photos of anything that spoke to me and although I want to continue doing I want to try and focus more on something more specific for a little while. On top of those things we just finished recording a new record so we’ll all be working on the aesthetic surrounding that.