The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | David Camarena
Photographer: David Camarena
Location: From the Bay Area, now living in Los Angeles
Style: Anything goes.
Equipment: Contax T3 , Ikon Ikoflex medium format, Canon 5d mark III, Minolta XD-11, and Sony a7sII.
How did you get into photography? Can you tell us about your first experience(s)?
I graduated high school in 2011, my senior year I took a video production class because I heard it was an easy A. The class and my teacher (Mr. Sears) ended up inspiring me tremendously. Learning everything about the film industry was super interesting to me and I started to watch movies completely differently. I started paying attention to the framing of each shot, angle, and lighting of every scene. That year I had Tommy John surgery on my arm and I couldn't play baseball anymore. After high school, I started making a bunch of random films with my friends which then led to my still photography.
Most agree that photography is all about capturing that moment. What's your secret?
You really have to be in tune with your surroundings and have no fear. If you're a street photographer walking through downtown LA looking for a great shot, you can't just be on your cell phone or have any distractions. You have to feel everybody and hear the sounds of the street around you, and that moment will happen by itself.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable shots you've taken.
Recently while on tour with Kehlani, I captured/collaged one of my favorite photos I have ever taken of her. The photo was taken after the show, she was chillin' on a pool table talking to her friends and smoking a joint. Thirty minutes prior, the show had just ended and I was about to start editing the show photos. I inserted my SD card into my laptop and it wouldn't read my card. The SD card broke and wouldn't read on anybody's computer or camera! I was pissed off and walked into Kehlani's room to tell her she wouldn't have any photos that night.
While I was sitting there upset, watching her smoke the joint I realized that it was a great moment to capture. I ran to the other room and grabbed an extra card and began to shoot. I remember telling myself that I had to make the photo edit crazy and the best it could be because I had lost the other photos. I sat in the production room by myself, printed the photo, and began to collage the photo into my scrapbook. I finished about forty minutes later and she loved it.
“If you love photography, have patience and a good attitude. Nobody wants to be photographed by someone who is rude or giving off bad energy."
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
I have a bunch of photo books at my apartment in LA that always give me inspiration. I have a few William Klein books and a great book by Ben Watts, and a bunch more. I never liked reading too much but looking at photos that I enjoy will entertain my mind forever. The world and the people around me are what give me inspiration. Photography has been so important to me and it's allowed me to travel the world. All of the people I've worked with and met the past few years have taught me a lot and I apply it to my photography every day.
To date, who has been your greatest influence/mentor and what have you learned from them that you still carry with you to this day?
My best friends Bryan Berry and Julian Edward. They are great photographers and creatives. We have been friends since I graduated high school. They are the ones who really taught me how to use a camera. We all had the same mindset of wanting to be the best versions of ourselves. We made videos and shot photos every week and had fun doing it. We started making noise in the Bay Area and that started everything. Our friendship is what made me realize that this is what I want to do with my life, and I'm forever grateful for that and for them!
Tell us 3 photography tips.
1. If you love photography, have patience and a good attitude. Nobody wants to be photographed by someone who is rude or giving off bad energy.
2. Have no fear and don't get caught up in what everyone else is doing, stick to what you enjoy yourself and don't change for anybody.
3. Research the great photographers that came before us, listen to their stories and struggles, and apply it to your work today.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren't afraid, I would... not be human. It's important to use that fear and test yourself; be the best you can be.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I didn't sacrifice.
I've been listening to... Kendrick Lamar, old stuff and new stuff.
Kids these days... need to realize great art is not about what has the most likes on Instagram.
I look and feel my best when... I have my Converse and baseball hat on, and film in my pocket.
When no one is looking, I... am probably taking your photo.
Traveling... is so important, save your money and travel as much as you can, see the world!
I respect... all of the photographers and other artists trying to grind and get their voice heard, it's hard but it's a beautiful process!