Being an artist and a writer, I meet many people; some in the real world, some through social media networks. The art community thrives on its ability to remain as a whole, but often it can be hard to stand out among the masses. David Shults is a talented photographer I met through Facebook. His unique style caught my eye and drew me in wanting to know more.
WBM: First off, who is David Shults?
DAVID: I am a freelance photographer living in Brooklyn, NY. Occasionally, I do some writing as well.
WBM: Where were you born and raised?
DAVID: I was born in Elgin, IL but spent many years living in Chicago.
You are a professional photographer, did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
DAVID: I think I always knew I wanted to be in the arts. When I was six, I discovered the Beatles and ever since then music has been a huge part of my life, both professionally and personally. I spent a number of years as a professional musician, which probably explains why I love to photograph them so much now. But, in my 20’s I stepped away from the arts for a while to pursue a “steady” career. I ended up miserable and went back to where I really belong – on the creative side of things.
WBM: What has been your most memorable shoot?
DAVID: That’s a tough one. There’s been so many great people I’ve gotten to work with, but I’d probably say photographing St. Vincent in concert and Christy Cashman for Callula Lillibelle’s Spring/Summer ’13 collection.
WBM: What passions do you have outside of photography?
DAVID: Fashion and music. The combination of fantasy and reality are really what draw me to them. It’s being able to create something real that doesn’t exactly exist in reality.
I love anything to do with greyhounds. I’ve had a retired racer for almost 5 years now and she’s been the best addition to my life.
WBM: What would you say your niche is in the photography world?
DAVID:There’s been a few. There was a salon style fashion presentation last year where the wall behind the models was a large mirror. It caused all kinds of problems with the lighting and focusing.
WBM: Do you find it hard to be a successful photographer in New York now a days, with everyone and their dogs walking around with DSLR cameras?
DAVID: Not really. It’s hard to make a living at it anywhere and success is a constantly moving target. Part of it is developing your technique and style and really making it “yours.” Another is clearly defining your goals for yourself and know who your market and competition is. In other words, really asking yourself – “why are you taking photos?”
WBM: What advice would you give to the younger generation of photographers trying to make their own statement but having trouble standing out among the masses?
DAVID: I know I’m not the first to say it, but always keep shooting. Be patient, because it’s going to take time. You’ll find a lot of things that don’t work, or are really good, but look like someone else’s style. Enter competitions, but make sure it’s something that suits you. There’s a lot out there that only serve to part your money from you. Find people who’s opinions and advice you respect and get constructive feedback on your work. Unless you figure out why something isn’t working, you’re not going to progress.