Life is full of ups and downs. It’s a simple, undeniable fact. Anyone can take the good in stride but how one handles the bad is really what makes a person who they are. Whether you had a miserable day at work or your beloved Yashica T5 just got stolen, I strongly believe that how we cope with these things is what defines us.
For me, the answer is always hop on my bike, throw on some tunes and pedal. It never ceases to amaze me how something so simple can have such a monumental affect. Whether it be riding your bike, sinking into a good book, picking up your skateboard or just taking a few minutes to lay on the floor with your eyes closed, having a healthy release is always something I have felt strongly about. It’s the little things keeping us sane that bring me to this edition of Life Behind a Lens. This collection comes from Jersey Dave, a passionate taker of photos who, like you and I, is living from laugh to laugh and smile to smile, finding joy in the little things.
AMT: Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dave: I am from Norwood, New Jersey, but currently reside in Westwood, NJ. I have been a skateboarder for over eighteen years and teach elementary school art to pre-k through third grade students. I still skate all the time, and try my best to look for little things at work each day that make me laugh or bring me happiness. Working with kids is great because you never know what they are going to do or say. We listen to music everyday in class. I honestly can’t complain!
AMT: You mentioned that you are an art teacher, what is your favorite medium besides photography? Why?
Dave: I have to be honest; photography is the one art form that I consider sacred. I keep it separate from the stuff I do in the classroom. If I had to choose a certain medium to work with besides photography I’d probably say spray paint and paint markers. I’m sure that response makes me sound like I’m a graffiti artist but I can promise you that I am not. Being that I grew up skateboarding in the streets, I have always been inspired by street art. I used to love making stencils. I also decorated the tops of skateboards with spray paint and paint markers for a while. I ended doing a whole series of those. It was fun!
AMT: If your life had a soundtrack what song would be playing right now?
Dave: This is such a rad question, but so hard to answer! I listen to so many different artists that it’s hard to choose just one. Lately, I’ve been trying to take life less seriously, so I’m going to have to say “Too Much”, by Drake. I tend to over think everything in life too much, so when I hear that song it reminds me not to. The line where he says, “The moment I stop having fun with it, I be done with it” gets me every time!
AMT: Most of your photos are black and white. Why do you prefer shooting in black and white?
Dave: I used to shoot a ton of color when the only camera I had was an SLR. When I got my first point and shoot camera, I started to shoot black and white more often. I have so much more success with black and white film in the Yashica camera that I use because it is so versatile when it comes to lighting. I love that I can bring my camera everywhere and not have to worry about being in an indoor or outdoor environment. I hate the way color film looks with indoor lighting (unless it’s natural light), so I just shoot black and white so that I don’t have to think about those things. It gives me more of an opportunity to focus on the moment rather than any of the technical things that sometimes get in the way when shooting a photo.
AMT: Why do you shoot film?
Dave: I am the kind of person that likes to be in control of a situation. Shooting film allows me to let go of some of that control. It forces me to roll the dice and take chances on a regular basis.I shoot photos every day. Sometimes I take a photo and think it is going to be the best photo I’ve ever shot, then it comes back from the lab and I absolutely hate it. Other times, I’ll get a roll back and there are photos that I don’t even remember taking and I love them! If Forrest Gump shot photos, I’m sure he would say, “Shooting film is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get” haha.
AMT: Give me five and a half words that describe your photographic style.
Dave: I Shoot Photos To Feel Normal. I know that’s six words but it’s the truth haha.
Name: Jersey Dave
Camera(s): Yashica T5 (R.I.P), Yashica T4 Super D
Film(s): Kodak 400tx, Kodak Portra 400, and Kodak Ektar 100
As always, if you are interested in having your photos featured on Life Behind a Lens head on over to my Contact page for more information.