The World Photography Organisation speaks to Daniel Duart, 2nd place winner of the Professional Travel category at the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.
© Daniel Duart, Spain, 2nd Place, Travel, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards
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Your professional career started as a translator in Russia. What first attracted you to photography and how did you make the swap from translator to photographer?
I was always posing for my friends photos, and while I was in front of the camera I noticed how creative it is being the one holding the camera, so, I bought an old Zenit and started to take my own pictures.
Then I went to Moscow to improve my Russian and there I discovered “street photography”. I loved wandering the streets with my camera ready. Then I came back to Valencia and was trying to make a living as a translator, but things didn’t go very well. With time I became confident with the camera. Then came the digital era and things seemed easier. I applied to a local newspaper and they hired me as the staff photographer and photo editor. Since then, I haven’t stopped working, although things are not easy for photographers right now here in Spain.
I liked being a translator, I always thought that it’s the kind of job in which you don’t need to be young to work, and actually you have to have a real passion for it. Photography is exactly the same, and that’s one of the things that made me want to be a professional photographer. (Although I still do some translations from time to time!).
Do you have a preferred photography style? Would you recommend to young photographers to broaden their approach to photography or refine their style?
I come from journalism and documentary photography; that makes me look for a plot in any story I photograph and then find the injustice of the story. It is true that I haven’t focused on one kind of photography, but I think that’s because my income, the money I need to live, comes from several kind of clients, so I have to be good at architecture as well as a photojournalist for a newspaper or a fashion glossy magazine. The thing is that you get interested in many things throughout your life, and photography allows you to explore all of them, and that’s what’s happening to me.
What I do is take what I learn from one side of photography and apply it into another, for instance: I got much better retouching pictures while doing fashion. I hope I will focus on one kind of photography one day and be a gallery photographer only, or something like that, but I always thought that photography chooses you.
I would recommend young photographers to refine their style, but only once they have tried three or four types of photography first, because they will feel more confident about their decision, and second because they will have a broader knowledge about photography. Photography is a dream come true if you work hard, but you must have your feet on the floor when life doesn’t give you clients or assignments.
What was the inspiration behind your “Cities from a Taxi” series?
I was in New York and I wanted to do a reportage project. It seems really easy doing “street photography” in New York, but I discovered that it’s not, you have to work hard and think what you really want. After some days shooting in the street I got disappointed by the results, so I left my camera at home and walked through the city like a tourist. One night I had a conversation with my girlfriend during dinner, about what I wanted to do, and she helped me find this reportage project; we were talking about doing the yellow cabs and things like that, then it came to mind how stressful this city can be, and then the idea of stressful tourists came into the conversation. Step by step we were drawing the situation in which I should shoot… tourism, taxi, city…voila!
Why is photography important to you?
Photography makes me feel I have control of my creativity, it helps me to speak when I haven’t got the words to describe what I see, it makes me dream and, most importantly, it makes me interested in many areas of knowledge.
Enter the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards for free today: worldphoto.org/swpa.