FOCUS on Dan Barnett
Meet Dan Barnett
Our FOCUS for this edition is Dan Barnett
Youth is no barrier when you’re as talented as Dan Barnett. We join the photographer responsible for shots in our Aston Martin v Porsche and Jaguar XJ features earlier this year for a chat about photography.
Influx: How did you get into photography?
Dan Barnett: “Funnily enough, I didn’t start out with photography. I was always more into creating videos and used to upload short films onto YouTube in my early teens. I made skateboarding videos, films of my Scalextric, holiday montages – anything really. But come 2015, I started doing some video work for an online motoring publication based near me in Birmingham. I would go out and help them film their press cars, and then make short films to feature alongside the written reviews and photography. This work was my first foot into the world of automotive content creation, and it was invaluable to me. I still really enjoy making video content, and I do it alongside my photography.
“The photography side didn’t actually emerge until Summer 2016 really, when I went on a 3-day road trip to the Scottish Highlands in a Tesla Model S with the motoring publication. The photographer that came along had taught me a lot over the past few months shooting in Birmingham, so I put it all into practice and took some shots up in Scotland and got them on Instagram. Scroll back far enough on my profile and you’ll find some early Tesla shots!”
Influx: What kind of subjects do you like to shoot?
Barnett: “Cars are obviously my favourite subject to work with, but I am open to shooting anything. As a freelancer, I’ve worked with all sorts of subjects and have previously shot people, nails, pipes and tubes, tyres and products to name a few. Working with as many different subjects in as many different situations as possible is a really good way to push myself and further my skills as a photographer and videographer. Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to learn!”
Influx: Are there any images you’re particularly proud of?
Barnett: “It’s not an easy question to answer but I have to admit there are a few images that I am proud of – but the reason as to why I like them isn’t always ‘because it’s a good photo’. A lot of the time, it’s the story behind the image that makes it stand out to me.
“For example, one of my recent shoots was with a gorgeous 993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS. Myself and the shoot organiser were originally supposed to be shooting another car, but unfortunately, it fell through. So we quickly contacted the owner of this car the night before, and thankfully he said yes! Then on the shoot, we came across an empty runway at a disused airfield and I captured some of my favourite work to date. For about 14 hours notice, we did pretty well with this shoot.
“Other images I’m proud of are the set of snowy Group 5 images I captured at my first Goodwood event, the 76th Member’s Meeting earlier this year. It was cold, wet and almost impossible to work in – but I’ve had nothing but compliments on these images, and I’m so pleased I managed to capture these moments.”
Influx: How do you feel about camera phones?
Barnett: “Honestly I’m fairly partial to camera phones. They’re incredibly useful pieces of technology, and I use my phone every day to share images, but I don’t know if I’d use images from the phone in my portfolio. Amongst all my DSLR work, a phone image would stand out like a sore thumb… I do, however, make heavy use of the camera when it comes to Instagram stories, and I can’t deny that camera phones have changed the world of photography!”
Influx: Is there a particular vehicle you’d love to shoot one day?
Barnett: “Definitely. Over the past year and a half, I’ve really got into Porsches and it’s turning into a small obsession, but the pinnacle of that would have to be shooting a Porsche 962 Le Mans car. It’s a proven race car, one of the most legendary Porsches ever built, and in my opinion one of the best looking race cars of all time (in any livery). Working with a Rothmans Porsche 962 is on my bucket list. It is simply a glorious car!”
Influx: What makes a good photo?
Barnett: “There are lots of factors that make a good image, and they all affect each other when it comes to capturing a great moment. Technical things like having the camera knowledge and composition are important, but at the same time, so is the subject itself, lighting conditions and emotion the image represents. Good old fashioned luck is also a factor that people can forget about or dismiss. My snowy Goodwood images were definitely the result of a bit of luck!”
Influx: What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back ten years?
Barnett: “Well, ten years ago I would have been 12! So if I could tell myself anything, it would probably be to keep going hard on making those silly short films for YouTube to build the foundations of my experience.”
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