I have been very fortunate to have interviewed many photographers and presenters from all over the work to talk about their photography and work. Recently my guests have all been Fuji users and its also been interesting to hear what they have had to say about the camera and lenses they prefer to use and in some cases their new found love of photography. It must be remembered the camera is a tool and it is the person, the eye behind the camera that creates the image whether that's with lighting, timing or just plain experience.
Damien Lovegrove, my guest this week is no exception. What is clear to me as my show has developed and I meet all these wonderful photographers from around the world, is their work ethic. Damian started his work career as a cameraman for the BBC in 1984. It was his portfolio of photographs taken with his first camera the Rollei 35 that got him the job! But being a cameraman is not just a case of standing at a camera and shooting the scene. Damien went through a number of training schemes to get the experience and knowledge he needed to further his career and didn't realise at that time, how valuable this training and instructors would be.
Its the work ethic that we should take note here. From the BBC, Damien moved into commercial photography working for companies such as Adidas, Slazenger, Parker pens and Martell Brandy, and shooting their products for advertising campaigns. Then he started to photograph weddings and then eventually blogging and writing. On the writing front he wrote a book the Complete Guide to Professional Wedding Photography (Still available via Amazon here) based on all the necessary facts that a would-be wedding photographer would need, not just the posing the setups and the lighting but costing and how to get work. He wrote it sometime ago so the equipment would of change but, the basic facts of wedding photography is all here in this book.
It was purchasing the book on 'How to Blog your way to a 7 figure salary' that started the next stage in his career. With the help of his friend Martin Plant he established the blog Prophotonut.com which he has now written over 500 articles and with over 7million views! It was this blog that was the tool to find the contacts of photographers to pass on his skills. From the blog and with so many contacts he came to the conclusion that the time was right for him to start teaching and to impart his knowledge of photography on to others. His workshops started initially to encourage would be photographers into the photography profession and to help them develop their work opportunities. The workshops started which he enjoys to this day. But, throughout 2007 and 2008 what with the financial crisis it was evident there was a surge of people looking to change careers and wanted to start a photographic business. The business became swamped, with people looking to set up a business but the availability of work was short.
Seeing this Damien moved his workshops away from the would-be professional photographer to the passionate photographer, the photographers that wanted to learn more skills for themselves and not to set up and create a business.. The workshops are well attended at various locations around the world. His knowledge and enthusiasm gets the workshop member up and out shooting even if they don't look that keen or it's inclement weather! Something which he loves to see. His teaching ethos - which he learnt from his BBC days is 'to explain what he's going to teach - teach them it - then explain what the student has just learnt'. In addition his writing took on another level as he was now involved with writing articles for photography magazines and also working for Fuji and Wilkinson cameras. He does though continue to photograph commercially. What Damien effectively has created for himself is 'many strings to his bow'. Photographing commercially, fashion shoots, writing and blogging plus of course his workshops.
During his career he has used a number of cameras systems 'all paid for through my photography' he says. From Pentax to Hasselblad medium format for weddings, Canon, then on to Nikon and finally to his present system Fuji. He enjoys using the Fuji X-T1 with a selection of lenses which include the 16mm, 23mm, 35mm, the 56mm and the new 90mm, It's the Fuji system he has found that doesn't get in the way and is so natural to use. One interesting point he added "the camera is small, compared to a Canon 5D for instance, it allows me to keep a connection with my model or client.' Using the X-Pro1 on a shoot in Berlin he didn't put it down once to back revert to his old system. The Canon gear, stayed in the case. A further trip to the USA which he made on Route 66 confirmed what he had originally found; The Fuji cameras gave him everything he wanted plus the lenses were superb!
The Screen-share was a fantastic insight into a wonderful portfolio of images using just the XF23mm 1.4... From this you can hear and feel Damien's pure enthusiasm not only for the the lens he was using but on the image produced. He gave us a full account, all the information you would need; Lighting positions; Camera setting and how he established the idea and the shot... Simply Superb. If you don't want to sit through the whole video (I hope not), I suggest this is the must watch part... We then talked about his latest book "Chloe Jasmine Whichello – The Photography Book", and what he set out to do with the series of images that are in this book. It's available through Amazon and through his website here at Lovegroveshop.com... (and I've just placed my order).
I found Damien's response to my question of how much direction he puts into a model shoot, quite astounding. Damien really got into an example of how he directs a model at a given shoot. All the experience of working with the directors of a BBC location shoot, came flooding back, as we heard how the director of photography, of lighting, and the main director working with the actors, with all the encouraging 'darlings' and the 'lovies' to get what they wanted from a scene. It was a brilliant part of 'Live and uncut'.
To be honest i could of ended the show there and then - totally satisfied with what we had discussed. But I just had to ask my last questions that of who was his inspiration and his favourite photographer. Surprisingly it was the same person Vincent Peters. - and I can see why - Wow, what a photographer! Damien openly admits he has never really studied other photographers and their work, not even when he was a wedding photographer. But again it was his eloquent and enthusiastic response again, which held me captivated, as he described the work of Vincent Peters.
Thank you so much Damien for a superb look into your life in photography.
Until next time... "Leave your camera bag at home"
The all important links..
Photography Live and Uncut with Damien Lovegrove
The Damien Lovegrove website
The Prophotonut.com and blog
The Lovegrove shop
Damien on Facebook
Damien on Twitter
Damien on Instagram