At 500px amazing photography is at our core, but these photos would not be possible without the talented people behind the lens. The 500px Spotlight series highlights the global and diverse photographers that are part of the 500px Community.
This week we are excited to introduce you to portrait photographer, Dannie Brown.
Hi Dannie, please introduce yourself to the 500px community!
I am Ghana Must Go, officially known as Daniel Nana Kwame Sekyi Attah. I’m a Ghanaian visual artist who seeks to express himself, and tell people’s stories, through images.
Can we start at the beginning? When did you start to show interest in photography, and how did you bring this interest into reality?
That’s about six to seven years ago. I began with my cell phone, and a point-and-shoot camera I occasionally borrowed from a friend. At that time, I took a few photos and did more editing. I made collages, changed and or blurred backgrounds, inserted text and other graphics into images. It was just basic editing and a few manipulations. I was just having fun and exploring, but many of my friends appreciated what I did, and that kept my head up.
Are there any mentors who have helped shape your practice? And if so, what tips would you give to people when looking for mentorship?
Yes, there were a few. One major thing that worked for me, is that I was ready and willing to learn. Also, finding photographers whose work you admire, and trying to reach out and making your intentions known to them in a clear and humble manner is a step in the right direction
From the landscape of West Africa to the creative input from your family, how have your surroundings shaped your practice?
I had a home studio at first, so I could create any time inspiration struck me. Luckily, I had friends who were always ready to be photographed, so getting subjects to photograph wasn’t an issue.
Finding outdoor locations has also never been an issue. I could move from savanna areas to swampy areas, highlands to lowlands, and a lot of other locations.
Your images shed light on the beautiful Ghana landscape and people. For an image like “Flow”, how do you decide on the elements from the styling of her dress and the hat to the beautiful field? Take us through the creative process behind the shot.
Thank You. “Flow” is an image from one of my collaborations. There were three models and six photographers present, each photographer had their turn with each model, and so while three photographers were shooting, the others were assisting.
On one of my turns, we pinned a white cloth to the edge of the model’s dress. I then asked her to run, so I could capture her in motion. My assistant held the end of the cloth, and as she began running, my assistant threw the part he was holding in midair, so we could get the motion effect on the cloth too. The hat was obtained from the shopping mall, and the location was decided and agreed on by the team.
Many of your images use several models. How do you direct shoots that depend so heavily on the chemistry between your subjects?
First and foremost, we try to find characters that would fit the idea. I brief them on the concept and allow them to make suggestions. So, it feels more like group work, and that also creates a friendly and fun atmosphere. I then ask them to feel at ease and put themselves into the scenario we’re trying to create.
What are you primarily trying to communicate with your audience through your images?
It’s hard to say, because most of my images are reflections of my thoughts, feelings, and environmental and personal issues, so the messages may differ.
What advice would you give to new photographers looking to improve their practice?
Shoot more and dare to be different.
What is your favorite image on your 500px profile and why?
That would be “Culture Shock”. I feel a special connection to it.
Do you have any exciting new projects in the works that you feel comfortable sharing with the 500px community?
Yes, I try to extend a hand to photographers of different genres for more collaborations. And a travel photography series titled, Akwantuo, meaning journey. To name but a few.
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