This month, we talk to David Reid. David lives in Toronto, Canada and has been a regular contributor to AotB. His style is diverse with a combination of organic and inorganic shapes, lines and colour.

While the work of some abstract shooters invites the viewer to figure out the content within, I find Davids work just asks you to look. It asks questions. We can all take away something from this work. Read on to discover with makes David see what he sees.

AotB: Tell us a little bit about you – where are you from – where you grew up – what you do – likes – dislikes?

My earliest life is characterized by the concept of change; I was adopted into a military family and moved across the country and even lived briefly in France. I was deeply influenced by the creativity and humor of my family and use these to present myself to the world. I studied Fine Arts at university and received a strong, formal training in most disciplines, including photography.
I minored in Art History and Film Theory and Production. After graduation, I worked on creating experimental Super 8 films, Kinetic Abstract paintings as well as painting and also started doing collage at this time.
I eventually became involved in the film industry and worked as a Scenic Artist, painting and sculpting sets, props, drops and product surfaces for television and print advertising. I continued working on collage but started to take my own photographs and play with them in Photoshop.

AotB: How did you first develop an interest in photography and can you describe that “moment” when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?

In my first year of art school, we had a module in photography. It was the only class where the professor discussed meaning and content and the concept of including these in the creative process. I was hooked. I started a minor in film production. I was fascinated by experimental film as well as documentary and ethnographic filmmaking. This brought together my interests in ethics, history, and art into one practice.

Experimentation with Super 8

AotB: What kind of photography is your favourite and why?

Experimentation with Super 8 and a Polaroid camera led to ‘intentional camera movement’. I loved how movement could create an image I had never seen before and seemed to modify the ‘feeling’ of the subject matter. With a film camera, the juxtaposition of images [montage] added extra layers of meaning to the images. My collages were an attempt to juxtapose elements within the same image.

AotB: What type of cameras do you shoot with and why?

I purchased a Canon 5D after seeing them being used on film sets. They were the most affordable of the full frame sensor cameras and had a good reputation for durability.

AotB: What is it that interests you most about photography?

The endless variety, instant results, and mutability in the processing. To capture the seen and create the unseen with the same tool. To me, the camera is an extension of both my eye and my imagination. The act of taking photographs also gives me a sense of purpose and gets me out into the world.

AotB: Is there something you always ask yourself or think just before you push the button?

When I’m really in the moment my mind is quiet. My only recurring thought is “Has somebody already done this?”

AotB: What else influences you other than photography?

Truth, beauty and fun, in that order. I’m influenced daily by art, culture, nature, history, and ethics.

AotB: What is your favourite photograph that you have ever taken? Show and tell us something about it.

My collage, Thin Ice was originally created thinking about the role of cars in our culture and their impact on the planet. A second theme emerged more recently, of being on ‘thin ice ‘ personally [the image was made after an injury ended my scenic art career]. I also enjoy the detail that both images were taken in the same park six months apart.

What am I looking at?

AotB: How would you describe your style?

If someone looks at my image and asks himself, “What am I looking at?”, I feel that I have been successful. I allow myself to go in any direction aesthetically so there isn’t a unifying style to my work. There is often an underlying theme of ‘culture vs nature’.

AotB: What software do you use to edit your photographs and how important is editing to your final images?

I used Photoshop CS3 until recently. when I purchased a new computer I upgraded to CS6. I have barely scratched the surface of this amazing tool, and yet it has added unlimited options to my image creation.

AotB: If you could take your art in any direction, where would it lead?

I think my art leads me. My direction is influenced by other artists as well as the ideas of scientists, philosophers, and journalists.

AotB: Name a favourite website you visit often?

I’m new to the internet and social media so Art of the Blur. I’m also seeing Youtube for the first time and using it to upgrade my modern art history education. I haven’t really watched television for decades either, so I’m catching up on culture as well.

AotB: Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

I’m very shy about photographing people, I’ve started to challenge myself to do more of it.

frozen ice

AotB: What would you say to someone just starting out with photography?

Give yourself ”permission’ to ‘try anything’ and to ‘fail’ as well. More philosophically speaking, a camera is like a mirror, and if you pay attention you can learn a lot about yourself.

AotB: Is there anything in the photography world that is underrated?

Knowledge of the history of photography and art.

AotB: Some photographers say that they see the world differently and that they have a different perspective on life. What is your perspective on the world and on life?

Most of my answers are full of my perspective. All I can add is that each of us is absolutely unique and at the same time united in our common humanity, so cooperation and not competition is our only way forward.

AotB: What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?

Living….my dream.

Thanks for sharing with us David. I know I will continue to enjoy your work and learn from it. If anyone else would like to share your thoughts on photography/art/life with the members, feel free to contact us here. If you’d like to ask David something or just leave a comment, you can do so below.
Thanks for reading this far.