Interview with David Welch

by Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hello David, first of all, tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?

I am a fine art photographer based on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.  I just finished my MFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, where I spent 2 years learning technique, theory, art history and was given a wonderful opportunity to develop and finish a photographic thesis project.  Material World is the result of that experience.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: where is home, and how long have you been a photographer?

I have been a photographer full time since 2004.  Photography was a hobby before and I was always interested in it but I never invested as much time or energy into exploring the medium until I started traveling after college.  I purchased a Nikon D70, had the instant feedback and convenience of digital that I used as the foundations for an independent learning of the medium.  I was hooked, fascinated, and wanted more, all the time.

How would you describe your style?

The photos in my Material World series are very planned so I start with mental sketches, collect the materials, assemble the sculptures and then shoot.  This project is a departure from my normal ‘style’ but is very much how I like to work.

Would you give a brief walk through your work flow?

The photos in Material World start out as 4×5 negatives. They’re scanned and then modestly manipulated to achieve the look and feel that I want.

In general, during a session, how many pics would you say you take to find “the right one”?

Not many.  They’re calculated exposures and compositions so the shots are bracketed to guarantee good exposure and avoid happenstance.



Let’s get into some technicality, what type of camera do you shoot with?

Toyo Field 45AII

Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?


Do you have a favorite walk around lens…If so what is it?

When shooting other formats I prefer wider-angle lenses so something along the lines of my 25mm f/2.8 zeiss, or my 17-55 f/2.8 Nikon.



What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?

I would love an 8×10.  Any donations happily accepted :)


What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?

When shooting digitally, I take a couple of SB-800s on a job or reflectors and diffusion materials.


Do you rely on lighting (natural, or artificial), or do you rely on dark-room/computer manipulation?

Mostly natural light but if it doesn’t do the trick than I need to create the light.

If PS, how important is Photoshop in your final images?

PS is important and it’s part of my output.  I need it to manipulate the images and color correct, etc.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?

I do like Nix plugins; They’re pretty crafty!

Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?

Objects.  I’m fascinated by the role objects play in our lives.  My future work will no doubt revolve around these as a core concept..

Before you put your work “out there”. Do you have it critiqued by someone else, or do you just go with what your heart tells you is right?

Material World is the result of my graduate school experience which relied heavily on communication, research and in class critiques with peers and teachers.  It wouldn’t have happened any other way and i’m fortunate to have had that experience.


What’s the best part of being a photographer?

Too many to list but one important one is the medium’s ability to communicate.


Tell us something you wish you had known five years ago.

I wish i’d known more about the history of photography.  But I caught up pretty quickly, and that was both an inspiring study, and a frustrating one.  But it’s good to stand on the shoulders of giants.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years of your life?

My goal is to become an educator and continue making enduring, personal work.

Who’s the first photographer that comes to your mind in front of the camera?

Ed Ruscha and Vik Muniz.  These guys are heavy hitters in my book.

David Welch Website

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