Oh my gosh, I was just reading your FAQ's and I 100% agree with the "Photography schools are awful scams" statement. I have so much more respect for you now. I can't stand it when people act all better than you because they went to school for photography. Everything I've learned about photography is from being an assistant, reading books, going out on my own and studying photographs I admire.
Hi Michael. I know this is really late of me but I just wanted to come and apologize. I remember a few months ago I posted one of your pictures of Ksenia Komleva on my blog and did credit you by writing "Ksenia Komleva by Michael Donovan" but i had forgotten at the time that you had your own blog. It was only after you followed me that i remembered that you had this blog. I have a strong appreciation for photography and yours is simply amazing. please don't post this, i just needed to apologize
haha - it’s all good!!! But thanks for making that note! I really appreciate it when people credit me. I loved that shoot I did with Ksenia so I’m happy to see it get out there!
Hi Michael. I’m am trying to navigate something very tricky with my new blog. I have retouched a lot of bad scans to try to bring them back to their original quality. I am not using any heavy filters, I’m just trying to delicately restore them as best I can. I don’t touch digital works, only scans. I really like your “scuffed” photographs but that is quite different to someone eating toast while they scan in a Robert Mapplethorpe. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.
Hello! I’m not quite sure how to answer that! I’m not sure if I understand what you’re asking here.
Hi there! I'm not quite sure how to phrase this but I am a big fan of your work and I was wondering if you might be able to help me with a question I have. Essentially, I really want to achieve is to show a strong sense of emotion, feeling and meaning in the photos I take. Is this mostly up to the model or are there particular things that as a photographer I can do to portray a strong sense of emotion in my photos? Any advice, suggestions or experience you can share would be so helpful! :)
Great question!!! My thoughts is: It’s up to both you and the model. But at the end of the day it is the photographer/directors responsibility to help the model and the photographer is ultimately responsible for the image. You can do that with the models expressions and body language but you could also do it with camera lens, angles, color, contrast, etc… My suggestion is to work it out with the model and work it out with yourself. I hear SO many models frustrated with other photographers because the photographer will just say “show some emotion but just do your own thing…” That shows no responsibility or leadership from the photographer and I’m willing to bet they’re producing average looking shit with no depth. I hope this helps!
andre kertesz- i see a bit of him in ur work- very different subject matter though - uve got ur own take which i love- but hey the same vibe- pictures that transport u- just a thought- was looking at his work and then looked at ur work- cool stuff!
Ah! Thanks! That’s a nice compliment! I just did a piece recently that has a Kertesz feeling to it - only because I used a stretched mirror I found on the street. (That’s the bane with finding stuff like that: I find cool stuff on the streets in SoHo thrown out by stores, use them in images and I KNOW people will later say I copied/stole/was inspired by someone when, in fact, I was inspired by the stretched mirror that warped the model)
If you shoot digital then how do you get that grainy film look to your photos? Amazing work!
I call it “Scuffing the image.” It’s a little bit on how I shoot the photo, and a little of what I do in post. Different situations call for different ways of managing the scuffing, but it’s simply how I want the image to look and then reaching for it with what I’ve learned.
Hi, I'm doing an art project on fashion in my multi media class. Could you help me? I need to take photos based on fashion but my mind just seems to be oblivious to it. HELP ME PLEASE:(
My suggestion: Sit down with a pen and paper. Write out a story about a girl or a boy. Don’t worry about fashion, just write a fun story that entertains your heart and soul. Now, go back and read the story. Imagine the clothes and the props they would use. Now photograph a few images that would go with that story in some way or another with whatever budget and resources you have.
OR you could do the way a lot of people do: grab a catalog or magazine. Copy the images you see. You’re now the average commercial fashion photographer :P
hello i love the editorial you did for vision china :D a couple of tumblrs i follow have posted some other pictures from that editorial and all i can say is "wow!"
Thank you! It really was one of my most favorite editorials I shot all year. Actually - the majority of my favorite editorials I’ve shot are in Vision! They’ve been the best supporters of my art.
Also, I have to do a shout out to Sheila Marquez. Not only did she model it, but she was also the one who prompted I do the post artwork. She had seen my artwork in other editorials and asked if our editorial would have that post artwork.. it wasn’t planned but it seemed like she wanted it so I did a little painting after the shoot.
I've followed your work for awhile now and I must say you're consistently remarkable. You definitely have a distinct style unlike anyone else. I'm an aspiring photographer and that is what I ultimately wish to achieve. I plan on visiting NYC early next year to shoot and I was wondering if you have any advice on lining up models for test shoots?
Thanks! My suggestion is to make work that will help advance the models in their career. Help the first… THEN help yourself. Do that before you get to NY so that the agencies can see it would be worth the time for them to send their girls.
Hey everyone! I wanted to introduce you to the newest member of my team, Lisa Boostani. She’s was referred to me by the great people at AFG; Lisa is interning and assisting me on some projects. I think she has some really great work - stop by her site, take a look and send her a nice little message!!!