Atlanta based conceptual photographer Dangerously Dolly talks signature styles, copycats, and being overly optimistic.
Interview: Shoshana Photos: Dangerously Dolly
Q: Your bio mentions after years of experience with post production, at 23 you made the switch to focusing on your own projects and shooting. What was your previous gig, and how hard was the transition to being self-employed?
My previous gig was simply being a kid, but I took an interest in web graphics and design at 12 years of age. Being a self-employed photographer is really hard because you need to make it all happen. It takes a lot of marketing skills on top of the list of skills you need to simply be a photographer.
Q: Are you formally educated in photography (lighting, shooting, and post) or self-taught, more trial by fire? What are your thoughts on the two camps?
Self-taught is the way to be. No one should be taught by an instructor on how to create art. It’s in your blood!
Q: Tell us about the early days. What was your first shoot?
My first little shoot was with my little sister. I had finally gotten my first camera and was eager to play around with it. My first shoot with someone else was actually shot in a dirty motel room, haha! As wrong as it sounds, at least she wasn’t naked. I still love those pictures, but I’ve come a long way since then.
Q: How did you evolve to finding your own conceptual & high key style?
As I was getting into the whole pin-up scene, I realized as much I loved it, I couldn’t find a true create outlet through it. I was doing what others wanted to do and wasn’t really doing what I was capable of doing. My move away from pin-up and into a more alternative pin-up style which would be more of what someone considers “my signature,” I suppose, was when another photographer would accuse me of taking their ideas, when all I would be doing is referencing from the 1920’s-1960’s. I don’t understand how someone could point their fingers on something that has already been done time and time again. Of course shortly after my move away from that, it was like a breath of fresh air. The pictures I take might not be a true representation of what pin-up is, however I combine and mix all the spices together. I take a little from everything I like.
Although the pin-up photography world is large but still pretty small (if that makes any sense,) I would like to say that I do not involve myself in others business, or try to sabotage any kind of opportunities for anybody. I’ve had a real rough time with things like that and I’ve never understood why people like to pick wars on each other, for whatever reason. To be honest, it looks unprofessional. With that in mind, I stay to myself, I respect people, I keep it professional, and just simply ignore people I am aware of that like to create problems for others. I didn’t get into this to be stepped on or to further find misery sitting next to me. Photography should always be a fun and exciting thing, even when you’re hard at work.
Q: What is your favorite specific piece of equipment?
My computer, all the way. For too many reasons I can’t even list!
Q: There’s a quote on your site that says, “After investing in my shoot with DD my bookings went from unpaid work to paid work. She has a way with images that make people want to stop and look. Not only did I receive quality images worthy of my portfolio, I also received them in a timely manner! She doesn’t take pictures she creates art! “— BillieJo
What is your advice for gals who are looking to break into pin-up modeling?
If you want to be a pin-up model, just go for it. Don’t be nervous, don’t think you can’t do it because you can. The best way to start something is ALWAYS with a positive attitude.
Q: Think of the models you love to work with, your muses. What qualities do they possess that make you want to work with them over and over?
A good connection is first, and being able to be open with my ideas, because that’s extremely important. If I don’t see a little bit of me in the picture, then there’s no Dangerously Dolly.
Q: What does the future hold for Dangerous Dolly?
I truly dislike being overly optimistic, but I really do see something big coming my way, I don’t know what it is exactly, but all I do know is that I pray it’s not a train or a bus because I have a lot left to accomplish and a lot to offer to many, many people. The best thing would be is to remain positive, and look forward to whatever great and amazing things may come out of my project.