“Dive in and immerse yourself!” Dean Chalkley on the importance of looking beyond the lens
Photo: Carsten Windhorst
Dean Chalkley has been producing compelling visual imagery at the intersection of music, fashion and culture for the past two decades.
Since picking up a camera for Dazed & Confused in the mid ‘90s, his trademark positivity and creative energy has seen him become one of the UK’s leading documentarians of British subculture, an eminent portrait photographer and revered music photographer responsible for some of the most notable music imagery of the 21st century.
After appearing on our Getting Started panel as part of our Amplify x Music Photography Awards event, we spoke to Dean to ask him about his top tips that he can impart to any music photographer.
“Think broadly and be open to stuff, inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere...”
Getting the most out of photography requires commitment, thought and actually flippin’ doin’ it (not necessarily in that order).
There’s a great joy in actually photographing isn’t there, and impulsive pictures can be brilliant. Diving deeper though and learning more is important to grow. It’s good to have as much technical knowledge as you can BUT looking beyond the mechanical side is so vital. You need to feed your head and feel what you are doing, the camera is your instrument. Understanding more about what interests and motivates you can be the first step to defining things, how that relates to your work will expand your ability to engage in it, giving you a greater scope, which will feed other aspects of your work enabling sustainability as a creative person.
So, it’s not all about the latest camera etc, it’s actually about you, what’s inside you, what you are feeling about the subject, where you are at, how you engage with things and use the camera to do so.
Consider the message your pictures transmit, this doesn’t have to be dull, laboured or over-thought and certainly shouldn’t be stopping you from taking pictures in impulsive ways. You don’t have to immediately comprehend what is driving you to make the picture in the first place. But trying to understand what the picture says and does (even in retrospect) will help you in the future, it will guide you even on a subconscious level. So get the brain tickin’ as much as the camera clickin’, think broadly and be open to stuff, inspiration and ideas can come from ANYWHERE and feed into your creative work.
Here’s a picture of Faris from The Horrors at the 100 Club diving in, totally committed. Have fun with your photography whatever you do.
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