If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all corners of the globe as well as the people behind some of the best stock photo and illustration collections in the world.
Next we talk to Dana Hursey, an award-winning commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, California. You'll see his images featured throughout the interview below, but we've also hand-selected some our favorite images from his stock portfolio to give you an overview of the breadth and depth of his work.
How did you get started in photography?
My Stepdad was an avid photographer and was ALWAYS taking photos. In 8th grade, I was drafted to do my elementary school’s first ever yearbook, so my dad gave me one of his cameras—I was hooked. What sealed the deal was visiting Art Center College of Design when I was a junior in High School. When I saw the work in the gallery and realized I could make a profession of this, there was no going back!
What was your first camera?
Minolta SRT 101
Do you still use a film camera?
No – I sold all but my 5x7 View Camera after they sat unused for three years.
What was your first job in photography?
That’s kinda tough to say… I did a couple weddings in my teen years, before I attended Art Center, then at Art Center I did a lot of work for students in other majors, who needed photography. After graduating, I was a Studio Manager where I did do some early Album Cover and Fashion work. I think my first “paying” gig was for a custom hat maker. (Beauty)
Who or what inspires your work?
Usually wacky images that pop into my head at the most inexplicable times.
What's your favorite subject matter?
Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?
My images are USUALLY bright, vibrant, snappy & clean. I love playing with imagery to bring it to this space between photography and illustration. But even when a client may not want to go in that direction, I am usually capturing humor, joy, and a touch of the off-beat.
What is the longest time you have waited for the “perfect shot”
I am not a “waiter”… I don’t see myself as a photographer who “captures a moment”. I'm more of a photographer who “creates a moment”.
What gear do you use?
I mostly shoot with Hasselblad Medium Format Digital but also use Canon EOS 1Ds Mk III & EOS 1 Dx. And Profoto lighting gear.
WHAT IS THE MOST BIZARRE JOB YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
I did a long stint of shooting Rap Album Covers for one record label. Always seemed like an odd fit to me: Milk Toast White Boy from Santa Monica – who NEVER listens to rap!
Do you work alone or with a team?
Team! Its always a team effort and I have a great one!
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
Somewhere I have never shot before. I love variety and something new!
What is the longest amount of time it has taken to get the perfect studio shot?
Two days. But this was for a personal image and also back in the days of film. I was working on a liquor still-life and I would shoot, process, refine, shoot, process, etc.
What are your “go to” props?
What props should every stylist/photographer have?
Where do you find your models?
Through LA Casting Network / Breakdown Express – or with one or two select local agencies with whom I have longstanding relationships.
Do you have a website/blog?
You can also find me on these social media sites.
What is the craziest thing you have done to get a photograph?
Hung out of a helicopter.
If you were not a photographer, what would you do?
What personal projects are you working on?
Highly stylized portraits of the hottest DJ’s working around the globe, and a cookbook.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
Travel, Cocktail (yes, that is a verb).
Favourite type face?
Bank of the West – “Make Deposit”.
Favourite TV show.
EVER? West Wing…
Currently? Downton Abbey or The Good Wife or Big Bang Theory.
What are you reading now or what is your favourite book?
I am SO NOT a reader….
Tough one… Gattica
Favourite Musician or band?
Favourite fine artist?
A mantra or saying you live by?
We teach best what we most need to learn.