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Dan Wilton

The self-taught photographer's images have been used by MGMT and James Blake to turn a boring press shot into a work of art

Dan Wilton is responsible for many of the press shots that you see either on the internet, on the covers of albums, between the pages of magazines or on the walls of the London underground, shooting campaigns with a range of musicians like Dizzee Rascal, Jessie J, James Blake, Rusko and MGMT to name a few. The self-taught photographer prefers the method of shooting film and first experimented with photography as a child on family holidays. Wilton often ignites a feeling of fantasy and wonder in his photographs; turning a mundane press shot into art.

Dazed Digital: In your own words, what do you think is so powerful about photography?
Dan Wilton:
It's such a broad & diverse medium and it's so ingrained in our culture, to be honest I still struggle to get my head around what photography actually is, let alone understand why it's so powerful...

DD: How do you build a relationship with the subjects you are photographing?
Dan Wilton: It really varies. A lot of the time with press shoots I only have a day or less with them so it can be tricky sometimes. Smiling lots helps.

DD: Tell us about one of your more conceptual shoots. For instance, the Cocknbullkid shoot. How did that come about?
Dan Wilton: I'd already done a couple of shoots with Anita (cocknbullkid) so I had a good idea of the style that she likes. We discussed a few different ideas and concepts. The fruit idea came out of the strong colours & lo-fi feel that the Anita & the label were aiming at for her look. The Zebra thing - that was more of a joke that came good! Who wouldn't turn down the opportunity to hire a life size fibreglass zebra for the day?

DD: What is it about fashion photography that you that you find interesting?
Dan Wilton: Fashion's still new to me to be honest. I'd shied away from it in the past, mainly because I'm not personally really into fashion I thought it'd be strange for me to shoot it. I guess I felt I might be out of my depth. But I've realised now that that really doesn't matter. I can approach it in the same way as when I'm shooting a portrait, but with much more freedom.

DD: You shoot film, what are your views on the use of Photoshop and digitally enhancing photos and how much do you use it?
Dan Wilton: I think it's each to their own. Personally, I'm not a fan of the super clean, over retouched look that you see in a lot of mainstream photography. I try to work as much as possible in camera. Like, all of my double exposure'd stuff is in camera and on film, not in Photoshop. Saying that, I scan everything so I use Photoshop all the time, but only for tweaking colour and contrast.

DD: A lot of photographers say that they aren't actually influenced by other photographers and rather by other forms of art like film and music and sometimes fashion. Is this the same for you?
Dan Wilton: Nope not for me. I'm constantly looking at other photography; it's definitely my biggest influence. I've got photography books & blogs coming out my ears.

DD: What is the best advice you have received regarding your work/ the progression of it?
Dan Wilton: Just to be confident in what I'm doing and to believe in my own ideas. That, and always have a camera on you.

DD: After the success of your first major exhibition "Fuck Off, I Love You" last year, what more can we be expecting?
Dan Wilton: I'm working on a number of different projects at the moment but it's a bit early to start going into details quite yet. Might have an exhibition coming up in the next couple of months, and definitely one later on in the year. We're still talking about taking Fuck Off, I Love You overseas or into a book...

Text: Zeyna Sy