Powerful is a word we'd like to describe the experience of scrolling through David Sark's Instagram gallery. No coffee flatlays, 'what I ate for breakfast', or sausage legs by the beach shots. It's genuine street photography that does everything photography should do - evoke emotion.
We interview Australian creative @_davidsark about his process and what's behind his photography style.
What's in your camera bag? (David's essential gear!)
Normally when I go out to shoot on the street I prefer to travel light so I will just have my Canon 5D Mkiii and a lens, either a 50mm or 85mm. I don’t really want to lug around a heavy backpack full of lenses for hours and in the past I’ve found it too much of a hassle to stop and change them anyway!
How would you describe your style of photography and what attracted you to that particular style?
I am a Graphic Designer by trade and I think that has influenced my approach to taking photos. When i go out, in the back of my mind, I’m looking for compositions that contain elements of symmetry, leading lines, colour combinations that work well together and interesting scale contrasts. But that just plays a small role in my approach. I love the random nature of street photography and I’m drawn to capturing those moments that can’t easily be replicated.
We love your street snaps of everyday people, what's your process on capturing that moment when you can't plan it? (It's not like you can direct someone like in a shoot with a subject)
Going out on the street to take photos is such a hit and miss process, as it’s something you can’t plan and you never know what you will find. Some days I go out and come back with no usable photos but other days I strike gold and capture scenes that I’m really happy with. I’ve been in many situations where I found an amazing composition on the street and waited ages for someone to walk into frame to complete my photo, but yet there was no one around!
Is photography your profession and how much time do you spend shooting every week roughly?
A majority or my time is still spent earning money as a freelance Graphic Designer, but recently I have been dedicating more and more time to photography. I would normally go out 3-4 times a week shooting depending on my mood!
What's your editing process like?
After coming back from shooting I normally download all my files and leave them alone for a day or so. I then come back with fresh eyes and pick out the ones I am happy with and import them into Lightroom. This is where I do any colour and exposure correction that is needed and apply a colour grade so the image has a similar look and feel to to the other photos that I post on Instagram. I then export my image to Photoshop for some minor retouching, colour tweaks, sharpening and cropping. In total I don’t think I would spend more than an hour editing one photo. I believe if you need to spend more time than that, it probably wasn’t a good enough photo to begin with!
What is your favourite shot of all time and why?
That’s like asking which of your children is your favourite! I like a lot of my photos for different reasons but I guess my favourites are all connected to the memories of where I was when I took them. I remember vividly the night I took the long exposure shot of the red trails in Hong Kong. I had my tripod set up precariously in the middle of the main road in Central, trams streaming past one side of me, buses on the other with my camera getting soaked in the rain. I remember an old man walking past me but didn’t realise he showed up so clearly in frame until I viewed the files later but it was exactly what the shot needed!
Do you have any inspiring photographers you follow?
I’ve always been inspired by the classic street photographers from the past, Fan Ho, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Saul Leiter and William Eggleston as well as films from Wong Kar-wai.
Are you working on any projects at the moment that you can tell us about? Any future endeavours?
I am thinking about a trip to Japan on a few months. I find a change in scenery is a great way to keep inspired and I always love making new discoveries in place I haven’t been before!
What's your take on today's photography saturated world where everyone can get their hands on a DSLR, or iPhone. Do you find this a challenge for emerging photographers and how do you find ways to stand out?
These days almost everyone has a camera in their pocket and the sheer number of images uploaded to social media is ridiculous, so yes it is hard to get noticed. But I believe it’s more important to find a subject matter that you are passionate about and enjoy and then explore unique ways to capture it. Your passion will then show through in your photos! Also, spend time away from the never ending scroll of your smartphone screen, you miss a hell of a lot of the real world with your head down and your eyes glazed over.
Thank you David for interviewing with us and giving us an insight into your photography.
Check out his work here:
All images credit of @_davidsark
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