Capturing the moment - on photojournalism and more with David Fowler
When did you discover your passion for photography? Did you decide from the very beginning to focus on photojournalism or did this come later?
I had my first proper camera when I was 11 and from the start enjoyed photographing the world around me. By the time I was 16 I was determined to get into press photography and photojournalism.
How did you discover microstock? What exactly determined you to create an account and upload images?
I saw an article in a photographic magazine about a new agency starting up which anyone could contribute to. Until then I had never heard of Microstock but went on to find out all I could about it. Though the low prices surprised me at first I soon realized the vast potential of having my images for sale 24/7 anywhere in the world.
Tell us a bit about your photographic evolution. Has your photographic style changed over the years and how?
Surprisingly little. Capturing real life, a moment in history, be it a famous person or a street scene has always been what I wanted to do.
No contest! Has to be digital. I know many older photographers still think that film is superior but I love the immediate results of digital. None of that standing in the dark trying to load a film into a developing spiral. Another bonus is that there are none of the costs involved with buying and processing film. I must admit though that I do miss the process of printing my own photographs. That magical moment when the image begins to appear on the paper.
You've photographed quite a lot of famous people. Do you have memorable stories to tell related to any of them? Did anyone trip on the "red carpet"?
It was usually the photographers who did the tripping! I especially remember a photo call for Henry Kissinger when one of the photographers (walking backwards whilst shooting) ended up sprawled in a plant display. It was a nice touch that Mr. Kissinger took the trouble to make sure he was OK.
Who's your favorite celebrity and why? Is there a celebrity whose picture you'd like to take but never got the chance to?
I'm not sure favourite is the right word but Margaret Thatcher is probaly the one I am most glad to have had the chance to photograph. Whatever people think of her politics, she has certainly earned a place in history. I'd have liked to photograph Scottish musician Gerry Rafferty -I'm a big fan of his music -but he, sadly, died last year.
A simple thing, but the viewfinder grid on my Nikon D80 was a great discovery. Until then I had a bad habit of always tilting down to the left (not great for landscapes).
What tips would you give to photographers looking to photograph celebrities?
Information is the key. Knowing where and when they are going to be. Newspapers and, of course, the internet are great resources for finding out what events are coming up. When you are there never be afraid to ask them to look at the camera - most of them love it and are happy to co-operate.
The whole celebrity culture, fuelled by magazines and reality television, has exploded since I started. Then it was quite normal to approach a celebrity and have a one to one conversation at an event. Now it seems that even fairly minor events have to have barriers up to keep the hordes from the famous (and not so famous).
Where do you see photojournalism heading?
Clearly, so called Citizen Journalism is the future. With less staff photographers employed by news organisations and nearly every member of the public equipped with some kind of camera it seems inevitable that more and more of the images we see will be taken by them. Whether you could call that photojournalism is debatable but it does mean that many more moments in history will be captured for posterity. In my view, that can only be a good thing.
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Photo credits: David Fowler.