What do you enjoy most about creating images?
I enjoy the spontaneity of photography--the ability to grab the camera and spend some time being creative with a model. But at the same time, the combination of photography and Photoshop allows a highly planned and executed approach to the work, when that type of imagery is motivating me. This flexibility keeps me continually interested, and continues to open new avenues for creativity. In general, I walk into a session with some broad ideas of what we will achieve, and some ideas about the technical aspects needed to capture the images. Then, the actual session is rather extemporaneous, exploring ideas with the model. I generally have a lot of suggestions, but often the best images come from the model's own approach to posing.
How would you describe your photographing style? How would you describe your editing style?
I take a rather formal approach to photography--I've never had much luck with a casual, candid approach. I spend a lot of time in post-processing to get the look I want, refining all the details. In almost everything I do, I want the model to be the center of the image, and I work to minimize distractions that might interfere with this.
Could you share a moment when you were capturing an image or finishing post-production and you thought to yourself "this is great"?
One of my favorite moments was in Utah with my longtime muse Billbill. We were in a stunningly beautiful slot canyon and I had him posing up on a rock. I was shooting away, and he said to me, "Hey Dave, you might want to turn around." Behind me, the sun had just cleared the lip of the canyon and the entire wall was flaming red. So we dashed back a bit and got some amazing photos of him silhouetted against the wall (see slideshow).
When do you realize that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing?
This feeling is most strong for me when I am outdoors, far from the city. Spending the day on a hike in the desert or on the beach, working with a model to capture both them and the setting in a beautiful light--this always feels right to me.
You are a full-time professional besides being a professional photographer; how do you balance the two worlds?
I'm fortunate that I'm not truly happy unless I'm busy doing something, especially something creative. So I always manage to find the time.
Do you ever ponder about simply doing photography?
Of course, but it makes me wonder: if photography were my job instead of my avocation, would it turn into work? I'm very happy with the freedom that comes with keeping my artwork as a personal effort, without the constraints of pleasing a client in the mix.
What are your plans for 2014?
With luck, many more sessions! I also recently acquired a tablet and I'm busy working out the mechanics of pdf books. Hopefully that will yield fruit early in the new year.
More on YB:
Full name: David Gray
Height: six foot
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Tattoos: not yet
Piercings: not likely
Favorite colors: I usually gravitate to earth tones
If you were not human, you would be: no idea...a forest? a fly on the wall? a really good book?
Person responsible for driving you into photography: thanks to my family, art has always been a big part of my life.
Best thing about being a photographer: the opportunity to meet so many amazing men. I'm continually amazed how each person brings something exciting and unique to a session.
Sum up yourself in ONE word: pogonophile