We recently caught up with Daniel C White over coffee on his last trip to New York City, and it was amazing hearing about all of the different places that his Brixton messenger has accompanied him. A humanitarian and commercial photographer, Daniel has traveled across the world shooting amazing images, from Ethiopia to Singapore to the Dominican Republic. Given his globetrotting experience, it should come as no surprise that for his 9-to-5 job he is as a director at Food for the Hungry, an international relief and development organization.
At one point during coffee, we started chatting about the difference between documentary photography (capturing images as they happen from afar) and humanitarian photography (engaging with subjects to frame them with appropriate context). It's a conversation we've had with Daniel's friend Esther Havens as well, and the humanitarian focus of Daniel's images is quite evident in the ones he's sharing with us today.
Daniel carries the Brixton in Black.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
DW: I’ve been a marketing/fundraising and relationship guy for the past 17 years. In recent years I’ve began leading international humanitarian trips throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America for the Entertainment Relations Division for the global non-profit, Food for the Hungry. This opportunity has thrusted me into the world of images that tell a story, and relational photography. There is nothing like having my love for people throughout the globe, be the crux of why I started photography.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
DW: I currently shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III, a vintage Canon FTb 35mm SLR, and the iPhone 6 Plus, but my “go to” is my 5D Mark III. Since I shoot many types of photography from commercial to portraits, weddings and humanitarian, etc, it’s tough to just choose one lens. However if I only had one choice it would be my Canon 85mm f/1.4, as I choose this over the f/1.2. It’s looks amazing and is not as cumbersome to travel with.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? What is your dream project?
DW: Anything with people and their stories involved. I also love being in the relationship and creative process of a project. As a marketer & relational person, I want to dig deep into the story with people, understanding the back story and the story that needs to be told visually. Those are the projects I desire to be involved with.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
DW: The first 5-10 minutes of the shoot. This is the place where you’re trying to find your bearings, and trying to connect with the subject on a deeper level. This is also why I don’t lead with my camera. I generally lead any shoot with my camera to my side, starting with pleasantries and conversation. Usually after you bust through that threshold and build trust with your subject, it’s smooth sailing, laughter and fun!
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
DW: As far as style and look, I love using natural light as much as possible. In regards to the capture, I love capturing what I call “the shot after the shot”. What that means to me is when the subject is posing for a pic that I’m taking, I then snap the shot, they hear the shutter and rest or laugh thinking that I’m not still focused on them, I immediately capture their raw expression. There’s nothing that I love more than capturing the authenticity in someone’s expression. I would say that this is 90% of what I shoot and share, and what I love about my images. I want to shoot images that people FEEL, and not just images that people SEE.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
DW: You can do it! Just sit back into yourself, be confident but not overly confident, slow to speak and quick to listen, and go above and beyond what anyone asks of you and you’ll go far!
ONA: How did you hear about us?
DW: I have several good friends that use your bags (Esther Havens, Jeremy Cowart, and Branden Harvey) and they love being a part of the ONA family. As a matter of fact, what pushed me over the edge to finally purchase my first ONA was Jeremy loaning me his Brixton to let me test-drive it. Needless to say, I fell in love with it and went and bought my own to suit my needs!
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