Photographer David Leslie Anthony is a constant inspiration for me-and for many others i bet!A true professional, with a unique vision and,unlike most new ones, a thorough knowledge of the technical part of creating a brilliant shot. Therefore i consider myself lucky to feature an InterView of him-whatever he says is to take notice of.Enjoy and learn.Having recently expanded his creative force into filming ,he can be sure to expect more artworks that will astonish us in that field.
–Your name has been connected with some of the most creative moments of the industry. Any particular work/collaboration you like to mention?
–LOL, that’s very kind of you to say, but I look back at what I’ve done and consider most of it utter crap. I think to myself that “I held back”, “what if I had pushed more”, “what did I miss?”, and so on. As a commercial fashion and advertising photographer, I/we always walk that line between what I call “heaven & hell”. That line between shooting an assignment, and how we “really see it”, or “see it so we collect a paycheck”. I have been fortunate in my career, to have a few images that have moved away from the “norm”, and transcend into the “art world” and semi-pop culture. One image I did back in 1995 of two girls sitting on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and spitting beer, still receives immense acclaim. Another of a model bandaged in white gauze (1997), has influenced various copies; and my fashion image for Harper’s Bazaar (Intl. Editions) (2003) of a model wearing a pig mask and exposing her breasts, all come to mind.
–I’m self-taught, so I draw visually from my life experiences, both childhood and adult life. People whom I’ve met, places and countries where I’ve lived and/or travelled to. Women I’ve loved; films, either obscure, or from the 60’s-70’s & 80’s; and of course music. I always make special playlists for all my shoots, which help convey the “feel and mood” of the visual direction I wish to attain. I can see people walking along the street, or see a corner, and these all find their way into my photographs.
–What is your opinion as an expert of young fashion photographers? It has been said that retouching is also..’retouching’’ talent.
—I think what you are really asking me is what do I think of digital and all the post-production. There WAS a time that as a photographer, you would make a photograph, and people would say “you’re are a really good photographer”. That was a time when it was only film, and you had to KNOW photography before you could ever call yourself a photographer! Now with the advent of digital cameras and computers, everyone thinks themselves a “photographer”, and people will say “that camera takes really good photos”. In fact, so many think all you have to do is whip out an IPhone, snap a photo, and put it through Instagram, and “it’s so creative”. What a load of crap! I find many of the young today are lazy, and simply look for shortcuts to “success”. They blatently copy photos of the past, and “pat themselves on the back” telling everyone “how creative they are on Facebook”. Young Stylists and Make-up artists are becoming lazier by doing half-assed jobs, then when you ask them to fix something, or to do a better job..they say “can’t you just fix it in Photoshop?”. WHY should I have to spend additional time fixing a bad job??? Another peeve of mine is “photographers” who take half-assed photos, then run it through various photoshop programs to “make their look”,
–What’s the best advice you’ve been given in terms of work? What would you advice an aspiring photographer to do and not to do?
–I’ve been asked by various Photography Schools to give talks, and I always tell my Assistants that “You must learn the past before you can create the future”. Because it is BOTH the past and the present, that create the future. It also allows you to see what and where people are copying from, and who created those images first. Learn to be a Photographer, and not simply a “digital technician”. Learn to create your image as much as you can, in-camera and on-set. In terms of Style, Style comes from how you see the world, how you see life, etc. The visual look is just that..the visual look of the moment. This will change as fashion seasons change, time of year, world events, etc.
–Any future plans you’d like to share?
–I’ve got lots of editorial and advertising shoots on the books, as well as fashion films I’ll be working on.
David Leslie Anthony