- Master Photographer -
You all know I'm a photographer, right? Well, today I am interviewing a really serious one ... a master photographer from Melbourne, Australia - DAVID ISRAEL.
Welcome, David ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY.
My father died of a heart attack when he was 49 and I was only 14. My two older brothers had to go to work but they wanted me to go onto uni. However, I felt wrong about that so at 17 I started to look at working opportunities, after some wasted time with career counsellors one of my scout leaders who knew me well suggested that I try photography.
WERE YOU INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AS A KID?
I didn’t have a clue about photography or even that there many different fields. To cut a long story short, I put on a suit and knocked on doors of every photographer in the city for weeks. Everyone asked about my experience and when I told the truth the standard reply was, get a job, learn about photography and come back to see me in a couple of years!
Eventually, the very last photographer in Melbourne asked the same question. I didn’t bother to answer but stood up to leave. He told me to sit down and he actually liked the fact that I didn’t know anything – he said that juniors always knew better than him and that he was sick of the arguments. I started the next day.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?
We used Rollei’s at work my first personal camera was a Nikkormat, (Nikon)
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU PREFER TO USE NOW?
Now of course everything is digital and I use Canon cameras and Elinchrom lights.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love working with people, especially newborns, babies and children then seeing the pride on the parent’s faces when they see their photos.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Listening to people talk about how brilliant they are at taking photos with their smart phones and then they say that can get the same results as me.
DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF, OTHERS OR BOTH?
My wife and I have our own studio 5 minutes from Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME INVOLVED IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
A teenager in school.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My next photo shoot.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Continually striving to be original.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? THINGS? PEOPLE?
A really great question. I love to observe people and I’m most excited by what young children say and do before they learn adult ways.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Try photographing everything and then your passion and personal style will follow all in good time. Everyone is different so feel free in what you do and how you work. Study the work of other photographers and try to see how they took your favourite shots. Then put your own twist on those shots.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXOTIC DESTINATION IN WHICH YOU HAVE WORKED?
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED SCHEDULE?
I’m flexible and try and fit in with my clients.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE OR TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH?
Nowadays I prefer the controlled environment of the studio.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN YOUR WORK?
Trying a concept with a client and having them appreciate the result.
HAVE YOU DONE COMMERCIALS?
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Recently at the end of a photo shoot a nine year boy said, “When I grow up, I want to be like you.”
DESCRIBE THE FUNNIEST MOMENT YOU EXPERIENCED IN YOUR WORK?
One time I was employed to photograph 200 delegates from Taiwan in a city hotel. Because there were also many Melbourne dignitaries and it was quite a special occasion, there were lots and lots of amateurs taking photos of the group as well.
So much so that their flashes kept setting off my lights. Then suddenly one of my lights blew up and flames poured from it. I asked someone to unplug that particular light, told everyone that this was a special fireworks display to welcome them to Melbourne!
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
They have all come from other photographers, because they didn’t like what I was saying or was standing up for.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
The love that I have shared with my family helps me to see that in other people’s relationships and family dynamics.
HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
Some but they’re not as important as what my clients have to say.
WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
At the time very rewarding but that’s all faded away.
OTHER THAN PHOTOGRAPHY, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Spending time with my family and friends. Walking, sailing and the experiences gained by giving back to the community.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
A busy day in the studio with a variety of clients and then going out for dinner with my family.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To continue as I am now for as long as I can hold a camera and engage with people.
IF YOU PUT TOGETHER A COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Showing them the results of their ridiculous decisions.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DREAM?
To see my grandchildren become responsible citizens and help others to do the same.
DO YOU PREFER COLOUR, BLACK AND WHITE OR SEPIA?
HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE YOU VISITED TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS?
DO YOU PAY PEOPLE FOR PHOTOGRAPHS?
Yes if they are to have a commercial use.
DO YOU FEEL GUILTY TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OF POVERTY-STRICKEN PEOPLE?
Not if it is for an altruistic reason.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSIGNMENT?
Photographing 9 young wild, screaming, fighting, crying cousins in the studio as a surprise for their grandmother.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Stay tuned – you’ll know when I do.
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