We first came across Cameron Davis’ photography through Instagram, and it wasn’t long before we were hooked on his style. Cameron shoots predominantly in black and white, a stylistic choice that really enhances the raw, direct, and sexy vibe his photographs create. Impressively, Cameron jumped into the photography world out of curiosity and has created an impressive portfolio of models and projects thanks to his all or nothing work ethic and great ability to capture moments and emotion, not just people and places. His fearless work photographing models in their most natural and vulnerable states has garnered tons of praise from fellow photographers and fans alike and landed him feature photo spreads in fashion magazines like Purple, Treats!, Fault, GQ Italia, and S Magazine.
We caught up with Cameron to find out how it all started, working in black-and-white, and what it’s like shooting all these dimes! Make sure to follow Cameron Davis on Instagram and Tumblr and read on to find out more!
INTRODUCE YOURSELF, WHERE YOU’RE FROM, AND WHAT YOU DO:
My name is Cameron Davis, from Los Angeles, California. I’m a professional photographer and cinematographer. I live in New York, New York.
YOU GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY ‘OUT OF BOREDOM’ ONE SUMMER WITH A BASIC POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA; WAS THERE A MOMENT WHEN YOU WERE LIKE ‘FUCK IT, LET’S DO THIS FOR REAL’? WHAT PUSHED YOU TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
I think the moment came about two years after that, I was going to school and I was at this fucking whack ass job and one day I came into work and I asked myself “Why am I here? I should be somewhere, anywhere else” wasn’t too long after that I quit my job and decided to pursue photography. When I commit to something it’s all or nothing; photography on a professional level there are no half measures, you’re all in or you’re just a hobbyist in my eyes.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC?
I would say it’s sensual, raw, natural; at this point I don’t even bother anymore to explain my work to people. I let them interpret whatever they think it’s suppose to mean.
WHAT DRAWS YOU TO BLACK-AND-WHITE AND FILM PHOTOGRAPHY?
Well I really got into black and white for a couple reasons. One being that most of my favorite photographers have only black and white photos, so in a way it’s like a homage to them by keeping black and white photography alive and strong. It’s hard to put into words but something is just different from color images. Black and white connects on a deeper level, some things you just can’t explain. Film photography has always been a love of mine, that nostalgic feeling you get when looking at a film image is priceless, no matter how much you manipulate digital to look like film it will never 100% be the same. That’s not to say that I don’t love digital because I completely do.
YOU’VE SAID THAT YOU OFTEN DO SHOOTS WITH BOTH A DSLR AND A DISPOSABLE CAMERA; WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THOSE TWO SEEMINGLY OPPOSITE TOOLS?
Well with a DSLR you have all these options available, lenses, etc. and sometimes that can get overwhelming. Having too many options can actually hurt you more than help you I think because the mind can’t focus. Whereas, with a simple disposable there is literally nothing to it. It’s the most basic of the basics, all I have is the the little wind up button, a crappy viewfinder and my instincts. That process is very raw and not for everyone but I find it challenging to produce good images with something so simple.
SHOOTING PORTRAITS, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MORE IMPORTANT TO CREATING A DOPE SHOOT: GREAT MODEL OR GREAT LOCATION?
A great model can take even the most basic of a location, wardrobe setup, makeup, etc, and turn those photos into a masterpiece. The ability to connect with the camera, to convey an emotion, to understand the ability of being fluid in their movements, letting the energy transfer between themselves and the photographer. Every great model I’ve ever worked with, male or female, has those traits. So that trumps location any day.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRS BIG SHOOT AND WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE?
My first big shoot came when my work had a much more commercial look, this was around my first or second year into shooting and it was a little job for Nike. The experience taught me a lot about the business side. Photography isn’t always about creating a great image, there is a business aspect to it as well. That was my first time ever having to deal with contracts, licensing, copyright, and all that other shit.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT?
I don’t have a favorite; each shoot, each project is special to me for one reason or another. My soul goes into all of my projects, so that’s why there is no favorite.
YOU’VE SHOT SOME INCREDIBLE WOMEN IN THEIR MOST NATURAL STATES, DO YOU GET NERVOUS BEFORE A SHOOT?
Nah man, not at all. Not even when I first started. I knew coming into this how to act, plus like the expression goes “Never let’em see you sweat!” I might get nervous if it’s Kate Moss, till then I’m always going to keep it playa.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TRIED-AND-TRUE METHODS FOR GETTING YOUR MODELS TO RELAX?
I think one of the best way’s to help a model relax is to talk to them before you shoot, get to know them a little. You don’t have to know their whole life story but models are people not just “Subjects” in front of your lens…that and good music!
IF YOU COULD PHOTOGRAPH ANYONE ALIVE TODAY, WHO WOULD IT BE?
This list would be huge if I named everyone but I’ll try and keep it to a few. Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich, Anja Rubik, Cindy Crawford, and a ton of others
ANY ADVICE FOR INSTAGRAMMERS AND AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS LOOKING TO MAKE THE JUMP TO FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHY?
Be serious! don’t commit to something half-ass! if this is what you want to do full time than you need to wake up everyday and make sure that whatever your doing is something to help further advance that goal.
LASTLY, WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I don’t know, I need fucking vacation! I’ll tell you when I come back.