About 7 years ago I played a photographer in a film. I’m an actor. To prepare for the role, I studied photography and started shooting a whole bunch. Thankfully I discovered a deep passion for the art and craft. Over these past 7 years, I’ve shot for i-D, Vogue, Playboy, Hunger, Purple, etc. I’ve been backstage NYFW shooting for Sephora, I’ve shot for Urban Outfitters, Catbird, Nickelodeon and many amazing clients. I’ve worked with some of my favorite people, I’ve exhibited my pictures in different places. It’s certainly been a hustle and there have been more downs than ups - but I love this job and I’m lucky to be shooting so much.
What are the contributions/influences that helped you develop your style?
Since the beginning I’ve loved Helmut Newton very much. He is a professor, a hero. I’m sure it’s a bit cliche but yea he is my favorite... I also really love Guy Bourdin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Weston, Lee Friedlander, Martin Parr and William Eggleston. There are a lot of movies that kicked my ass also! Persona by Ingrid Bergman (shot by Sven Nykvist) and Stardust Memories by Woody Allen (shot by Gordon Willis) are probably my top two.
I like when a portrait is equally the subject’s and the shooter’s. The idea of collaboration is very important to me when shooting a portrait.
I always just show up and shoot - I don’t think too much about it. There of course have been shoots where I didn’t get my point across. Failure is unavoidable - you have to fail sometimes. We all know that. I’ve learned that most people want to shoot with me - they don’t have to. Nobody is holding a sword to a person’s head saying “hire Danny Lane!” With that in mind, I just do what I do and I hope that the client or person is happy with the results.
How do you feel about the “nude element” in photography these days?
Unfortunately models and artists who create nude work deal with a lot of shaming and censorship and criticism. I feel like people are making nudes less frequently these days. We were heading in a nice direction too, but something (or someone) happened.
It is very difficult to work in an artistic field. Gut-wrenchingly so! You can’t take everyone (or anyone) by the shoulders and shake them… You either have to be miraculously unique or you have to be very social or you have to be rich. This last one is a bummer. Especially living in LA - you learn the ugly truth that “it takes money to make money.” This is often the case - not always! But - regardless of what anyone else is doing - regardless of how successful you are - or how much money you make - as long as you enjoy your time and people enjoy your work - it’s totally amazing and rewarding.
Do you have any advice to people who is starting to find their way in photography?
Hmm sure. First - shoot on film. Next - have a friend sit in a chair near a window. Give them a marker and maybe 20 pieces of paper. For each piece of paper, try a different camera setting. Maybe a low shutter speed with a high aperture, and the reverse . Try shooting darker than usual, brighter than usual. Have your friend write your settings on the paper for each shot so you can see what you did and how you did it. Shoot half the roll in clothes and half nude..I’ve never done this..but someone suggested it to me once and I’ve always wanted to try it. Send me the results. DannySofaClub@gmail.com