There are those who dream and those who do. When it comes to photography, David Dare Parker is obviously the latter. A photojournalist of 28 years, he has covered conflicts and other social issues across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His work has graced the pages of several international publications, including The New York Times and TIME Magazine. As part of Nikon’s In Focus series, the brand ambassador offers insights into his photographic process in the video below:
Being a Nikon photographer, David is all praises for the flagship Nikon D4 full-frame camera and its incredible low-light performance, saying “I can go anywhere, I can shoot in the dark.” He gamely answers reader-submitted questions from photographers of less experience: When shooting leisurely, what is your favorite subject? What do you tell people before taking a photo of them? Do you carry your camera wherever you go? To me, it gets more insightful when he is asked questions that pertain to the conflict photography side of the job:
What’s been the most volatile situation you’ve ever had to shoot in?
“Over the years I’ve been shot at, I’ve had film confiscated at gunpoint, I’ve been detained, I’ve had a machete thrown through a glass door… But as yet, I’ve had no serious personal injury. So far so good. But it is part of the risk. It’s not something you expect when you go out on the field, but it’s something you should have some sort of preparation for. You should have a good knowledge in first aid, at least. Understand applying a pressure bandage can save your’s or somebody else’s life so you should be well-equipped if you’re gonna take on these assignments or jobs. I guess the real skill in this is being able to work under pressure and not take it personally.”
When shooting a conflict, do you find yourself picking one side over the other or can you remain bipartisan?
“To be a photojournalist, you have to be a human being first. In the times and stories you’re covering, it’s hard to be bipartisan. You find yourself taking sides. What you’re trying to do is reveal what’s happening in front of you… I’m not trying to influence an event, I’m just trying bring people to it. I still believe what we’re trying to do is to reveal that, the truth, and not color it up. Try to stick to the facts. That’s about as bipartisan as I can be.”
When asked for the best advice, he quotes Arthur Felig’s “f/8 and be there.” and Roberto Capa’s “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” To which he adds, “You can’t take a good photograph from a hotel room or the back of car. You got to be in the moment, in close.” Good words from one who has been there and certainly done that.
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