Artist Interview with Danny Wood
Danny Wood has been an active memeber of several mobile photography communities on Google+ for some time. When I first encountered Danny’s work, I said to myself, here is an experimenter. Here is somebody actively pushing himself to learn and do new things with his phone. What I admire about Danny’s work is the visual impact he tries to achieve. He knows what he likes, having a long background in the photo world. He has a strong eye for light and composition, knows well the limitations of his camera, and is always exploring new avenues of his photography.
Interview With Danny Wood
It has been a pleasure to interview Danny. It has given a window into his life, his thoughts, and his motives around photography that have added to my own personal understanding of the art.
Please share a bit about yourself
I’m Danny Wood, living in Toronto, Canada for the last 16 years, and like most people living in this city, I wasn’t born here. I was born in Montague, Prince Edward Island, which is a small Province on the Atlantic Coast of Canada.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, another Atlantic Province of Canada, spending most of my childhood and young adult years in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. For a handful of years I lived in Virginia Beach, USA, as my father was in the Canadian Armed Forces as an aircrew member, and was temporarily stationed there. We moved back to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then back to Greenwood in the early eighties.
I came to Toronto in 1998 during a hitchhiking trek across Canada, and I had two weeks of work lined up here to make that trip a little easier. After completing the work, I received an offer to manage a photolab (these were the days when film was still king, and digital photography was still being developed) and I accepted. Here it is, 16 years, and several photo labs later. That hitchhiking trip has yet to be completed!
What are your thoughts about mobile photography?
First of all, I love mobile photography. It’s a medium that is relatively uncommon compared to other types of digital photography. Yes, people take snapshots everyday with their mobile devices, but I’m talking about creative cell phone photography, with a focus on making as high a quality image possible with the equipment available. Something with vision, and creative thought, instead of uncle Phil blowing the candles out on his birthday cake.
Having said that, mobile photography is also extremely frustrating at times. From the limitations of hardware (fixed aperture lenses, limited shutter speeds, and sensor noise) and the app ecosystem, sometimes getting the shot, and quality you want, just isn’t possible. Period. That’s also a huge part of the allure for me. If it was easy everybody would do it.
In what ways have you contributed to the growth of mobile photography?
That may be difficult to answer, as we usually aren’t aware of how our actions as individuals affect the people, known or unknown, around us, or even the world. However, I hope by posting my images on Google Plus, and interacting with like minded members, that some of my images may have had an influence on what or how they shoot. On a more local level, I’ve introduced several friends and coworkers to the world of mobile photography. Often the general idea is that camera phone photography is subpar, and one must have a top end DSLR and an arsenal of lenses to make great images. Hopefully, I’ve shown those people that one can make great, and interesting photos with a camera from a cellphone with some patience, and a few decent apps to edit those images.
Do you explore other forms of creativity, such as art, music or writing?
My only creative output is photography. Currently that is limited to mobile (Android) photography, however this year, I’m planning on purchasing an advanced compact digital camera to fill in the gap left by the limitations of mobile. At times I yearn to have all my DSLR gear again, then I remember why I walked away from all that, and I regain my focus. There are a few compacts on the market that will give me the features and quality I need without the slippery, and expensive slope of DSLR imaging.
What are some of your artistic influences?
THAT is a difficult question to answer. Not because it’s a long and complicated answer full of unknown artists that nobody has heard of (I’m not that interesting really) but because I don’t feel as though I’m generally influenced by any one artist. I’ll go through periods of time when it’s all about patterns, or reflections, or social commentary, frankly I’m all over the place. There are a few creatives that I do enjoy however, Douglas Coupland, Marshall Mcluhan, and Quintin Tarantino. I’ll leave those names hanging out there for you to discover on your own.
Explain your photo and editing style if you have one
Simply put, my style is no style. If that makes sense. I get bored easily, so I might shoot street images for a few weeks, and switch to nature shots for awhile after that, and then to local shop windows. There are times when I leave my apartment with a theme in mind, and find myself taking pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with that theme. I guess maybe ‘freestyle’ is my theme. On Google+, I notice some of the people I follow shoot one subject, over and over again. Every shot, while it may be edited differently, is exactly the same subject. Sure that obviously works for them, but in my world, it just won’t keep me satisfied. Variety. That’s my thing.
What phone do you use? What platform? Favorite apps?
Currently, I’m using an Android Sony Xperia Z3 (6603) which is a new purchase, from several weeks ago. The device itself is fantastic as it’s considered a ‘flagship’ phone, and yes the camera is pretty good in the right circumstances. But I bought it for the exceptional battery life, plus the fact that it’s completely water and dust proof, and the display is very visible in bright sun. Three qualities that help greatly when shooting mobile images.
My favorite apps are Photo Editor by Dev.Macgyver, Photo Mate R2, and Photoshop Touch for tablet. My main app is Photo Editor, as it has several features that no other app has in the Play Store like unsharp mask and gamma adjustments. For my uses, it’s the closest thing to a full featured editor on mobile, has great support, and regular updates. It’s taken many months to learn what that app can do, and initially, seemed very lightweight or simple, but once I began pushing buttons and exploring menus, I realized the depth and capability of it.
A Selection of Danny Wood’s Images
Danny chose a wonderful set of images all following a theme of dark hues and red, lots of red. You can see more of Danny’s work, and of course head over and say hi to him, here.