This month we had the pleasure to interview Dave Flynn about his inspirations for the Mini-world series. Thank you, Dave, for sharing your ideas with us!
Daylighted: Tell us a little about yourself: Where do you live? Are you professional? Self-Taught?
Dave Flynn: I'm from Dublin, Ireland and now live on the outskirts of London. I am a self-taught photographer and picked up my first DSLR in September 2010. I learned everything I know from watching online tutorials and following fellow enthusiasts. Since starting out, I have received a Photographer of the Year title for nature and wildlife photography and also have been featured in many magazines and web articles worldwide. I regard myself as semi pro as I don't earn a living from making images although, I am working on changing that.
Daylighted: We love hosting the mini-world series. They're whimsical and fun and always tell a story. Tell us a little about your initial inspiration.
DF: I began to be drawn to work from photographers such as Slinkachu and Christopher Boffoli. I noticed Slinkachu used real world environments in which he places items and scale model plastic figures. Boffoli is well known for using food, from fruit to ice cream, and placing scale model plastic figures strategically to create images that look likes landscapes. I was more drawn to the work of Boffoli because his images are very precise and 'clean' to look at.
I tried similar techniques but found that the pre posed plastic figures had to have their scene built around them, dependent on their pose. I wanted to change that and have more liberty with models and posing. I usually use myself as my main model which makes the concept and execution a lot easier because I know exactly how I want the scene to look and the pose required to make it fit together seamlessly. I started using real world objects--things you find around the home or garden. I was drawn to the kind of things you take for granted such as items you would use for a specific purpose: a cup is for drinking from, a sink is somewhere you wash, and a jar is something you put things in.
With my Mini Worlds, I want to show these everyday items off in a unique way, to look at things from a different perspective, and to give the viewer questions to ask. It's not every day that you see a Mini Man jumping on a spoon, flinging sugar cubes into coffee cups, but every day you would drink coffee from that cup. I love when people ask 'how did you do that'? For me it all begins by looking at things from an alternative perspective.
Daylighted: Tell us a little about the techniques you use to create these images.
DF: I'm constantly thinking of new ideas or ways to use the things around me in an unusual way while still keeping the scene familiar. The main objective for me is the angle of the scene and the model. They both have to be shot at exactly the same angle or the images will not 'fit' together correctly. Then I think about the light I want in the scene: artificial? natural? both? Each image can take hours, weeks, or months to complete from concept to final edit. Once I have a background I usually have an idea of what type of pose is required to complete the story. I try to shoot the 'model' on a plain background as it's easier to mask out the unwanted bits in Photoshop. I use layer masks to blend the scenes and models. Then I work on the post processing, adding any necessary shadows or increasing the light intensity in the final image.
Daylighted: You’ve talked about using yourself as the model. Are your images meaningful to you as self-portraits? More spontaneous? How do you select the models that you use?
DF: Using myself as the model in my mini worlds makes things a whole lot easier. When you have an idea in your head and try to explain to a potential model how you want the final image to look getting your idea across can be frustrating. My drawing skills are terrible so even showing people a rough concept sketch can be confusing when trying to get across what I'm trying to achieve. When it's just me, I know exactly what I want from the final image so shooting the poses is a breeze most of the time. When I do use myself the images are a lot more spontaneous but every image I create is special to me, regardless of the model. I like variation in my images. If I'm not photographing myself my friends are always willing volunteers and I have my great family to help out too. My image titled 'Inside Out' is my very good friend and talented painter and decorator. The Doll’s house belongs to my next door neighbor and was shot on location as it was too heavy to move.
Daylighted: Tell us the story of your first image?
DF: I was at a local festival shooting street performers. The character in my first image 'One Lump or Two' is an amazing Trampoline acrobat. When I was going through my images from the festival, I thought about using him in one of my mini worlds. I racked my brain for a couple of weeks trying to come up with a concept for him. One day when I was making myself a cup of coffee the concept clicked and the plan for him fell into place.
Daylighted: Tell us the story of your favorite image, or your favorite story of getting one of the images.
DF: My favorite image is the latest one I created and called 'Father Time'. Again the scene was set up on my bedside table which is next to a window with plenty of natural light coming in. All of the objects in the image are my late father’s belongings. My Dad was my hero so creating an image around the things he loved was a real pleasure and it meant I would have a physical representation of him to look at and to remind me never to give up, words spoken by my Dad on many an occasion.