Monday, April 23, 2012

J MARK DODDS [jmarkdodds] 


Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
I got a Bazooka Joe camera with bubble gum wrappers when I was a kid. About 1964. It turned out to be a rubbish toy and as consolation my parents bought me a Kodak Instamatic which I took to immediately. Had a strong interest in photography ever since.
What has been your education as a photographer?
Studied photography at high school; foundation college and degree level at Manchester Polytechnic and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
1979 Southport Art Centre 
1980 Krochs & Brentano's Bookstore Chicago 
2004 The Sun and Doves, Camberwell, London
Please list any awards for your work.
Do not submit work for awards
What is your favourite type of photography?
Urban landscape 
Industrial landscape 
People in their environment 
What do you try to express through your photography?
Dispassionate but intimate observation 
Decisive moments
How do you choose your subjects?
Gut feeling 
Being quick on the draw
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Consider my relationship with the subject 
Ensure that camera and light are up to the job 
Use appropriate equipment 
If it's a person or people, make them feel comfortable
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
Entirely dependent on circumstances.
If there is purpose in a brief then achieve the purpose but keep an eye on how the flow is going and use it as needed
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
Olympus OM1 for film because it is tough, pretty, has great lenses, full frame viewfinder and I know how to make it work.

Have used Olympus E500 and E400 for several years because of my love of the above but am moving to Nikon D90 because a few things irritate me about the Olympus kit.

Fuji compact cameras are brilliant. Have used other equpment in the past but for simplicity, convenience versatility and image and colour quality I'm still very happy with Fuji, currently an E50.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
As above. Olympus; Nikon and Fuji.

I use minimal extra equipment preferring to work with the circumstances rather than trying to overcome them with technology.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
Absolute minimum. I try to mess as little as possible with images preferring to get it in camera at the moment it happens. But not in any way averse to using image manipulation when it seems appropriate to an individual image.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
Creative Commons Licence; Attribution
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I have sold quite a lot of photographs. When I sell work I am OK at doing it but I don't have enough time to be good at selling outside of concentrated moments such as an exhibition which, for the same reason, are few and far apart. This is something I'm working on. Vaguely. Pubs and campaigning get in the way.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
I am promiscuous in my photographic loves. Too many to list but lots of Americans have been way up there with Cartier Bresson and Bill Brandt.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
Probably. Yes. It's a good thing.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
I have a friend; Chris Clack; who is a fantastic printer.
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
None other than my children
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
Artistic. Technical is important though - you cannot be on top of creativity without being on top of your equipment - in any circumstances.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
Intuition tempered with an eye on what works universally is the best guide at the instant of taking a spontaneous photograph. 

In more formal settings light and shade are as important as subject and framing. Ultimately there are no rules but being familiar with your equipment and always thinking carefully about what you're doing, knowing yourself and what you want, is vital.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Practice and practice, and practice and a lot of thought about the practice. A strong dialogue with yourself is important.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
As is appropriate, I think the two are pretty much interchangeable for the kind of work I do and want to achieve.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
Generally NO, particularly in the UK, where it still lags far behind other media.
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit? because I use it. Otherwise my attention to photographers' websites is random and infrequent. I try to get a feel for what's happening but frankly there's so much out there paying too much attention can be distracting from one's own path.
Is there any particular technique that you could share?
Look at what you're photographing, learn what you like and don't about your results and then practice more. Repeat. 

Do not apply odd photographic framing devices to try to enhance the impact of your images - let the real frame do that and let the photograph speak for itself.

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