Photographers, like artists/painters, share many characteristics that some might find more just plainly obvious. Most artists or creatives are known to develop a particular style in the representation of their chosen subject matter on which they focus on but the common thread that truly connects these creatives even closer is the process in which they can be equated as being curators of their singular “museum.”
It’s true that lensmen, like painters, have worked to support themselves in trying times with less than ideal commissions but these are rarely the works that are ever remembered. The most distinguished and memorable images are those that represent a personal or particular affinity for the artist which has been infused into the finished work. Vance is not always easy to pin down in terms of style but there exists a commonality, for the most part, which is that he offers you the opportunity to visually explore some incredible examples of beautiful men who have worked hard to create their own body of work … pun intended.
This series of interviews opens the door for photographers to speak about what and why they do what they do or in other words… their modus operandi. As you will find out it’s not all about beefcake and muscle as Vance speaks openly about his profession and his choices.
I must thank Hervé Godard for the introduction to these talented photographers and look forward to shedding some light on the art of photography and not just the “photographers of Instagram” …. Or as I call then … snap shot photographers.
Here in his own words is David Vance.
How would you say the internet and social media, especially Instagram, have affected the way you go about setting up a shoot in terms of “subject,” location or boundaries
Instagram has afforded me an additional platform by which I can reach more prospective talent. I have an additional place to display my work. I like to say; there are models willing to cross the ocean to shoot with me, and some who wouldn’t cross the street. It keeps me humble. You’d be amazed by the number of people I contact who never even respond. As far as location, these days I tend to prefer my own studio and locations with which I’m familiar. Boundaries… what are those?
Much has been written about creatives who have a signature look; would you say you have one?
I think so, although it seems to be more apparent to others than it is to me.
Want one? And why?
I think my work is primarily romantic, impressionistic and sensual… maybe a bit dramatic at times. My images seem to convey a sense of motion even when the subject is still.
My main influence is my Italian heritage. I was raised on religious art and Opera.
A friend who worked as my assistant years ago wrote this: “The photography of David Vance conveys a sense of beauty that is immortal and innocent. One senses that the soul of David Vance is more important to the photography than the camera. A quiet strength is interwoven with even the softest of his studies of the female form. A certain delicacy is sensed in his powerful portfolio of the male nude.” Bernard Lynch
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
The expected answer to this question is 5 famous people living or dead… but I don’t put much value in fame. The people I would choose are my parents who are deceased and also friends that have left this earth too soon. I have unanswered questions and unspoken conversations. Oh, and of course a really great chef.
What would you say has been your most rewarding or fulfilling assignment to date and why?
That would have to be the work I was fortunate to do with HARPERS BAZAAR ITALIA and UOMO BAZAAR. I worked with a great fashion editor, Stephanie Richardson, and many talented models, stylists and hair and makeup professionals. The locations, the clothes, everything was provided. We worked in Rome and Milan, in studio and on location around Italy. It spoiled me for the current editorial platform. Everything is different now.
These days I concentrate on making beautiful photos that hopefully will end up in a coffee table book. I am currently entertaining the possibility of doing a KICKSTARTER campaign for my next book, MENANDWATER.
You have said that you prefer to photograph models who are involved in fitness; why that preference and do you find that they make good subjects and why or why not?
Since I like photographing bodies it makes sense to find the best bodies. Fitness models by nature of the title are the ones that have the best bodies. They are dedicated to being in the best shape possible and they are generally at least a bit exhibitionistic. They like to show it. I like to shoot it. Makes sense to me. With all that being said, I’m really a sucker for a beautiful face. I always have been. I started making portraits of my family when I was just 14. If I have someone with a great body and an O.K. face, I always struggle to make sure the face is photographed to match the beauty of the body.
I also really love photographing athletes, dancers and acrobats. I admire grace, agility and strength. When I am inspired it’s far easier to create magic.