Dec 22, 2012

The Eclectic World of David Graham aka “Doctor Jazz”

David Graham
Eclectic is the perfect way to describe the work of David Graham aka @doctorjazz on Instagram.  Many moods and styles are exhibited by this very creative photographer. 
Please grab a cup of Joe and enjoy my conversation with the very interesting David Graham.   (Photo captions from David’s Instagram gallery)

© David Graham
Stop Ahead (above)

© David Graham
Car window parking lot reflections (above)

Geri:  Where do you live?
David:  Wisconsin, USA

Geri:  How long have you been on Instagram?
David:  Sometime in October 2011 was my first Instagram posting.  

© David Graham
A foggy morning.  No edits (above)

© David Graham
Heavy Weather (above)

Geri:  Your work is unique and varied including everything from black and white portraits, to painterly edits and photo collages.  Do you have an art or photography background?  Is there any style that you prefer?

David: I'm a college teacher by trade, and my artistic background is in poetry.  I've published six books of poetry so far, along with many essays and reviews.  As a mobile photographer I'm happy to call myself an increasingly serious amateur.  No formal training, but I have been married for 37 years to a wonderful visual artist, and much of my love for art is inevitably entwined with my love of her.  We really enjoy visiting art museums and galleries together, and for as long as I can remember I've been interested in photography as an art. I only got serious about taking photos of my own, however, when I acquired my first digital camera in I think 2007.  My first iPhone came in 2010, and things have accelerated rapidly since then.  I suppose my stylistic tastes are fairly wide; my whole life I've appreciated many kinds of photography, from documentary through portraiture to surrealist collage.  It's true that in my own work I can't seem to stick with any particular style.  Whether or not that's a weakness or a strength I guess I am not the one to judge.  Maybe I just have a short attention span!

© David Graham
Happy Hour (above)

© David Graham
"May God us keep From Single vision & Newton's sleep." --Wm. Blake (above)

Geri: What inspires your work?

David:  In some ways it's the other way around:  the work inspires me in my life.  Since I've taken to shooting and editing photos daily (thanks, Instagram!), I notice more, and differently, than I ever did before.  The world is more meaningful and full of energy.  As I say in my Instagram profile, I love that Yogi Berra quote:  "You can observe a lot by watching."  But in terms of specific influences, I look to most of the classic photographers, too many to name, as well as a bewildering array of contemporaries, famous and not. If I had to name one favorite it might be Aaron Siskind.  Of course, I'm also greatly engaged by painters and other visual artists, including my wife. 

© David Graham
Special Handling (above)

© David Graham

Geri: What are some of your favorite apps?  Can you tell me a little about your process?

David:  I never tire of taking straight photos, and if a shot works without much editing, I'm very pleased.  (My most-used camera app is 6x6, which is perfect for taking Instagram-ready shots.)  But I do love messing around with apps.  My process in editing is completely improvisational.  I do multiple edits on most shots, most often using three or four apps on each one, all the time looking for something to "click."  Naturally I wind up deleting most.  Often I'll see things I like on Instagram and elsewhere by photographers I admire, and try to see if I can learn from them, and maybe do something parallel.  I love to explore new apps, and get infatuated for a time with certain ones.  Currently I'm having a passionate affair with Glaze.  Before that it was Decim8 and OutColor.  But by far my most-used apps are Hipstamatic, Snapseed (everyone says that, and everyone's right), Juxtaposer, and Image Blender  As visitors to my feed will see, I make a lot of surreal collages, and so Juxtaposer and Image Blender are my mainstays for that work.  Other favorites include ScratchCam FX, Modern Grunge, PhotoToaster, Dramatic Black and White, and PhotoWizard--all of which are in my main photo app folder.  I also return frequently to a few "utility" apps such as AntiCrop, TouchRetouch, Big Photo, Frame Magic, PS Express, and Squaready.  I relish learning about apps, and devour various blogs, tutorials, and other sources whenever I can pick up some tips.

© David Graham
Walter’s greatest fear was that he would be forgotten (above)

© David Graham
Making cold calls (above)

© David Graham
Asphalt Love – tar patches on pavement (above)

Geri:  There is a dog featured in many of your photographs.  Who is he?
David:  The dog's name is Doctor Jazz (yes, I stole his name for my IG handle!).  He's a 9 year old Springer Spaniel, and I guess I've been featuring him more than usual in my photos lately because he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Trying to enjoy all the time left with him that we have.  And I admit I get tickled when people enjoy photos of him.  He's a lovely goofball.

© David Graham
A Matter of Trust (above)

© David Graham
Whose dog are you? (above)

© David Graham
Beloved (above)

Geri: Have you ever exhibited your work?  If not, any plans for the future?

David: So far I'm a happy amateur.  Instagram is my gallery.  I've had a couple feelers about exhibiting work offline, but am taking things slow.  We shall see. 

© David Graham
Time’s Fool (above)

© David Graham
Follow the leader (above)

Geri: Anything else you'd like to add?

David: For some time now I've hash-tagged all my Instagram photos with the names of the apps used to create them.  This helps me to remember if someone asks later, or if I'm looking to reproduce an effect. I sure wish more IG artists would do this!

© David Graham
Wingback (above)

You can view David’s work on Instagram @doctorjazz where he spends most of his time.  He’s also is on iPhoneArt and on Tadaa (doctorjazz) on a limited basis.  
All images in this feature are copyrighted property of David Graham published on iART CHRONiCLES with the consent of the artist. 

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  1. Ohhhh I just live this!!! What an amazing array of photos u chose Geri. LOVE the one eyes woman and the foggy morning. Great interview.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment--much appreciated.


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