Harold Davis is an internationally-known digital artist and award-winning professional photographer. He is the author of many best-selling photography books including The Way of the Digital Photographer (Peachpit Press, awarded as a Top 10 Best 2013 Photography Book of the Year by Photo.net). Harold Davis’s most recent book is Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer: A Photographer’s Creative Companion and Workbook (Focal Press). His Photographing Flowers (Focal Press) is a noted photography "classic,” and is rated the Best Guide to Flower Photography by Digital Photographer Magazine.
In addition to being the author of a string of bestselling photography books, Harold Davis is an Adobe Influencer, a Moab Master printmaker, and a Zeiss Lens Ambassador. Harold Davis’s work is in collections around the world. It is licensed by art publishers, in annual reports, and has appeared in numerous magazines and many publications.
Harold’s black-and-white prints have been described as “hauntingly beautiful” by Fine Art Printer Magazine, and his floral prints have been called “ethereal,” with “a purity and translucence that borders on spiritual” by Popular Photography.
Recently, Harold Davis’s work has been exhibited in venues including Photokina in Cologne, Germany, PhotoPlus Expo in New York, the Gallery Photo in Oakland, California, the Arts & Friends Gallery in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Awagami Gallery in Japan.
Harold Davis has led destination photography workshops to many locations including Paris, France; Spain and Morocco; and the ancient Bristlecone Pines of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.
Harold’s popular online course on Craftsy.com, Photographing Flowers, has thousands of students. His ongoing photography workshops in partnership with institutions such as Point Reyes Field Seminars, the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, California, Maine Media Workshops, and the Heidelberg Summer School of Photography are continually in demand and popular.
According to Rangefinder Magazine, Harold Davis is "a man of astonishing eclectic skills and accomplishments." You can learn more about Harold and his work at his website, www.digitalfieldguide.com and on his blog, www.digitalfieldguide.com/blog/.
DOMINIQUE JAMES: How did you get started in photography?
HAROLD DAVIS: My parents gave me a Brownie box camera when I was six or seven, and I’ve been making photos ever since then.
DJ: What kind of pictures do you like to take?
HD: Photography is a way of sharing what we see—a very important part of who we are—with others. I like to create images that relate to some kind of order in the chaos of the universe, and at the same time speak to the poetry in nature and humanity that is always around us.
DJ: Who or what would you consider as influential to your photography?
HD: It’s important to me to understand the art historical background of what I am doing, and also the history of film photography. I advise students to study the work of great twentieth-century photographers, and also painters such as the impressionists. That said, I feel digital photography is an entirely new medium, and as photographers and digital artists we are privileged to be at the birth of something new. There are many opportunities. For me, in addition to my background as a photographer, my experience and work as a painter and in computer science have both been helpful.
DJ: What’s your favorite camera and lens?
HD: It has well been said that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. I am currently working with a Nikon D810. I particularly love the beautiful and bright Zeiss glass, it captures the world with a unique clarity. Some of the Zeiss lenses that I use are the Zeiss 15mm f/2.8, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, and the Zeiss 135mm f/2.
DJ: Any other particular piece of photo gear that you like using?
HD: Many of my photos are made with the camera on a tripod, so a good tripod is an essential piece of gear for me. At the other end of the spectrum, I also like working with my iPhone.
DJ: Do you edit and enhance your pictures before showing them?
HD: Yes. Doesn’t everyone? You can read more about my philosophy and practice when it comes to workflow and post-production in my books, particularly The Way of the Digital Photographer (Peachpit Press).
DJ: How do you share your pictures and to whom?
HD: I am the author of eighteen books that are about photography and are illustrated with my photos. To go to my Amazon author page, click here. In addition, I’ve written and illustrated 15-20 blog stories a month since 2005. You can find my blog at http://www.digitalfieldguide.com/blog. I also post regularly on Flickr. My Flickr stream can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/harold_davis/.
DJ: How do you store or archive your pictures?
HD: Digital workflow, including image storage and archiving, is a huge and important issue, particularly once the amount of data gets well into the terabytes. People don’t really understand yet how fragile digital files are. It is important to have redundant backups. This is a topic that is beyond the scope of this interview, but I have written about digital workflow in a number of my books.
DJ: What advice can you share with others?
HD: Creating and sharing photos is an act of communication, and often involves strong emotions. Be open to what you feel because your photos are an expression of who you really are. The best (and maybe only) way to promote yourself as a photographer is to make images that powerfully speak to people.
Notes: All photographs on this page, used with permission, by Harold Davis. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. For the complete set of all the amazing featured photographers on this blog’s exclusive Q&A, click here.