In Focus Interview: Dan Brouillette
Photo Week is just around the corner and we here at CreativeLive couldn’t be more excited. Between the incredible lineup of instructors, top notch keynote speakers and the ability to have your own work critiqued live in studio (yes, its true!)— it’s a jam packed week coming up at CreativeLive with no shortage of photo inspiration.
To prepare for such a momentous event, we spoke with one of our incoming instructors, Dan Brouilette, to get his thoughts on creativity, inspiration and his life in Photography.
CreativeLive (CL): What are you most proud of?
Dan Brouillette (DB): I am most proud of the fact that when I graduated college, some 10+ years ago, I decided I would give photography a shot as a career, and now over a decade later, I have a successful business doing what I love.
CL: What publications have you been featured in?
DB: My work has been featured in several magazines such as ESPN Magazine, TIME, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Runner’s World, The Wall Street Journal, Outdoor Life and many others.
CL: What became the hallmark of your work/style?
DB: The hallmark of my style is my lighting and cinematic approach to portraiture. I usually shoot on location and create little scenarios for my subjects to allow my images to tell a story in a single frame.
CL: Highlight the moment you knew you wanted to be a photographer.
DB: In college, I would sit at Barnes and Noble and just sort through all of the magazines and stare at the photos. I was drawn to environmental portraits that captured people doing their thing but shot in a way that the lighting, or composition was just different than what we could see in our everyday lives. I had dabbled in photography prior to that, but seeing the work in all these magazines was when I knew I wanted to be a photographer.
CL: Who are your mentors?
DB: Growing up in Iowa and going to school for psychology, there weren’t a whole lot of in-person mentors so I had to rely on the internet and travel to find mentors or friends who could push me. Early on, I met my good friends and amazing photographer, Victoria Will, and she has definitely helped me in all aspects of photography/life. We have worked together on literally hundreds of shoots, and we became friends at a workshop back in 2008. I have also had the chance to work with Peter Yang and he taught me quite a bit that as helped my approach to portraits. Other than that, I just find inspiration all over the place and kind of run with it.
CL: What inspires you? Where do you draw inspiration?
DB: I am inspired by photographers who create portraits, but do it in ways that I might not think of or use techniques not normally seen in this genre of photography. Just like when I started, I still look at tons of magazines and browse instagram quite often to see what is out there. I also love watching movies for inspiration.
CL: How do you incorporate your creative process into your daily life?
DB: I am always driving around looking at ordinary settings, thinking about how I could turn them in a single frame that might tell a story. I tend to view things as graphic compositions which can actually be annoying to me, but it’s just how my brain functions. I wish I could say that I did yoga or meditate or something, but that would be a lie. To be honest, other than time in the car, I really don’t think too much about it.
CL: What are the words you live by / What is your creative mantra?
DB: I have a few favorites
- You become technically proficient whether you want to or not, the more you take pictures. – William Eggelston
- Photographs should not need to be explained. The photographic image should stand on its own. – Dan Winters
- I think all art is about control – the encounter between the control and the uncontrollable. – Richard Avedon
- I am at war with the obvious. – William Eggelston
CL: Words of wisdom you would like to share with your students:
DB: You need to allow yourself, or push yourself, to get out of your comfort zone so you can truly grow as a photographer.
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