Photocrowd winner Dan Beinart talks about the virtue of stubbornness, what he learnt from Cartier-Bresson and why he loves his mirrorless camera.
Dan Beinart's picture taken in the Tokyo underground was the Crowd Vote winner in Photocrowd's Terminus assignment. Here Dan answers some of our questions about his photography interests, habits and inspirations.
How did you get into photography?
By sheer stubbornness – initially I was so bad at it. I was trying to work out why nearly everything that looked great to me through the viewfinder failed to translate into a decent photograph.
But then occasionally I'd get those odd shots that would magically transcend what I'd been trying to capture.
I've been trying to get my head around this ever since.
How often and when do you take photographs?
I recently bought my first decent mirrorless interchangeable lens camera which is much more portable than my DSLR.
My preferred method of capture is to take my camera out and shoot when I stumble across something, rather than searching it out or composing a scene.
What is your technical set-up?
My mirrorless camera is a Fuji X-Pro 1, and it's the first camera I've owned that feels more than just a tool – it’s a genuine pleasure to use, and it has largely made my Canon DSLR redundant.
I've got two great primes for it (18mm and 32mm), but these have all been replaced, much to my surprise, by the 18-55mm zoom I've recently bought. I didn't think a zoom lens could be this good, so it's nearly always on my camera at the moment.
I use Lightroom for editing, though less is definitely more.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
By taking a lot of photos and by doing Photocrowd Assignments. I think the focus and the critical feedback I got from assignments have been really helpful.
I also learn by looking at other photographers' work and, more recently, by paying more attention to the stories behind their images and realising how important it is to have the right mindset.
Whose work has influenced you most?
Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams. Particularly in making me think about the relationship of a photograph to the truth of what is photographed. Still struggling with the answer to that one.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
Probably the walkway shot - I like the balance of dusk and artificial lighting as well as the contrast and vibrancy of colour. I tend to shoot much more limited colour palettes so this is outside my comfort zone. The urban landscape is familiar but alien - a bit like how I felt about Japan.
What do you get out of being a photographer?
It makes me open my eyes and look around when I otherwise wouldn't.
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