David Mendelsohn

August 7, 2016 by Laura Gomez


Photo Interview

Name: David Mendelsohn
College: Westchester Community College
Colour: All of them

Book: “Big Trouble” by Dave Barry

Movie: “Natural Born Killers”

Food: Anything made from a cow.


“Here is the strength, and the dilemma, of photography: it is the simplest medium in which to be somewhat competent, but the most difficult in which to have personal vision.” Chuck Close

“Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” W. Eugene Smith

For how long have been in photography? How did you start?
I ‘ve shot since I was 12 when my Dad gifted me his old Argus C3. In college I haunted the Art Department then transferred to The University of New Hampshire to major in forestry. I began working for them instead as a Graphic Designer, kept shooting instead of assigning and left finally finding my medium. Professionally, I ‘ve been a photographer for 35 years. It’s been quite a ride. It Still is, in fact.

How would you define yourself as an artist?
Direct and bold. Humorous and serious. Simple. Driven and curious. Graphic and impatient.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everyday objects. Dreams. Discordant elements that fit. Things that I’ve never seen before.

Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts?
My work evolves both prior to and during a shoot. It is roughed out but I then try and stay loose. Opportunities can be missed otherwise. “What if “ has always been a big factor in my work.

Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?

Difficult question. I came from a background in film. Technically, everything counted. Shortcuts showed. Then along came digital. I waited until it was mature enough, then sold all my analogue gear and embraced it like a free Picasso. It can be an amazing tool. Digital has allowed photography to become democratized however. Anyone can buy a camera and shoot but the basics still prevail. The technology that has been stuffed into those little boxes is remarkable, but sadly allows the user to think that they, and not the circuitry, actually took the picture. You will never get to understanding it at all however, unless you spend time observing light or have some comprehension of what an f stop really does. You can’t stand in one spot with a single lens and figure you understand composition. One has to put the time into both learning and seeing. It’s a journey and there is no other way.

What type of camera do you use most? We are comfortable with formats up to 8×10 but now I simply use 35 mm Nikon DSLRS.

What is your favorite lens? Whatever the situation requires.

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

Too many to say. They all present or have presented challenges. If it was too easy, then I feel I simply wasn’t doing my job. Self assigned or commercial, they are all adventures with their own unique problems to be solved. I ‘ve been lucky enough to see the world. Buy me a long dinner and I’ll regale you with stories.

What are your favourite three images you have shot recently?
I don’t mean to sound glib, but the answer would be my last ones. I am reborn each time, then grow and move on. I am happy for the moment. That next one will always be my favorite. I never seem to finish.

How important is an awesome website for your business? Essential. It is your voice to the world.

What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have?
A load of experience, an inner drive to do something original and a tremendous disdain of lighthouses.

Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?
Anything personal and commissioned portraits with interpretive freedom. When people hire you for how you simply see things, that is both rewarding and a comfortable place to be.




Who are the photographer’s you admire the most?

Richard Avedon, Iriving Penn and recently Nick Knight.

What are your next projects?
Commercially, to continue shooting editorial portraits. Personally, to continue adding to the various fine art series I have a bad habit of building simultaneously.

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