Twin Cities – Interview with Dan Ginn
Hi Dan! It’s wonderful to have you here today to discuss your photographic work and one of your latest projects. We believe many of our readers are certainly already familiar with your work, as you’ve had numerous articles published on the most influential photography websites. Still, could you please begin with an introduction?
Hey! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my photography. I appreciate it.
I grew up in Leeds, a city in the north of England. I’ve been practicing photography since 2006, and began by studying the art form at college. Over the past decade, photography has become deeply ingrained into my daily life. You can best describe me as a street and travel photographer, though I love all types of genres and subjects.
I’m also a passionate photography writer. As you mentioned I’ve written for several blogs in the space and it has been such a fun, wild ride to write about something I have a deep passion for. I’m also the founder and editor of Them Frames, it’s mainly a space to highlight all the fantastic work photographers are making.
We understand you were a full-time traveller for five years and undoubtedly gathered many unique and extraordinary experiences during your journey. Is there any in particular that you would like to share?
I was indeed, though I’ve not fully given it up. I’m currently doing this interview while traveling through Turkey.
You know, the biggest takeaway from those five years is what an honor and privilege it is to be able to photograph people, cultures and places all around the world. From meals with strangers to developing long lasting friendships, this time has without doubt been the best experience in my life so far.
It’s really hard to narrow down to a particular experience. I spent the first six months of the pandemic in Colombia, which, despite the obvious difficulties we all had during that time, was just a wonderful time. Colombia is beautiful and it’s one of my favorite places to photograph due to its diversity and welcoming people.
I also love Mexico, especially for street photography. Places like Mexico City and Oaxaca City have a special type of atmosphere, people express themselves without fear of judgment, and that’s the perfect kind of vibe for making street photographs.
Though I must say, I love everywhere I go. There’s always something to connect to, regardless of where you are. I know I’m very lucky to have had this experience, it will shape me forever.
As soon as we knew about this project of yours, Twin Cities, we immediately found the whole concept absolutely brilliant! Would you mind describing what this body of work consists of?
This series has evolved since I began creating the work. It actually started as a (light hearted) protest project. I was tired of people saying that the north of England is miserable and has nothing to offer. Upon returning to Leeds after 10 years away, I began photographing the city. The universe was kind and we enjoyed some bright, sunny days so it was perfect to show off what was on offer.
Leeds has plenty of artistic vibes and trendy spots and the bright images you see in this series were made to reflect that. Soon, people who once doubted that the north had anything to offer, began to plan visits and spoke highly of what they saw in the images.
However, England being England, those grey clouds soon returned, as did the constant rainfall. It was then I decided that it would be a good idea to revisit the same locations and photograph them on the darker days. I felt doing this would give greater impact to the idea that the way a situation is lit can shape the way we feel about it – this how Twin Cities was born.
I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder, though like most people, the weather conditions can certainly impact my mood in both a positive and negative way. I want people viewing this project to look beyond the contrasting appearance of each scene, and to reflect on any emotions, feelings and thoughts those differences give them.
Once the concept was defined, what were the main challenges you encountered in its execution?
When revisiting the locations, I wanted to get as close to the exact same spot as possible as I felt this would make the transition between each contrasting photograph feel smoother for the viewer. Because these were made in public, while I knew the location, standing in the exact same spot was tricky. On more than one occasion I had to return to the location because I wasn’t happy with the spot I took the image in.
Since the light was the variable under analysis, it was crucial to keep everything else constant, which was also reflected in the equipment used, correct? Can you please let us know which camera and lens you used?
Absolutely. Each system has its own way of capturing light, and as we all know Fujifilm has its unique sensor science that makes it so popular. This whole series was shot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the Fujinon 35mm f2. It’s been my combination for the last five years and I doubt I’ll change any time soon.
This set of photographs that you showed us here, are they processed Raw files or SOOC Jpegs? And apart from the three exposure triangle variables, obviously, has anything else changed regarding camera settings?
Because Fujifilm has done such a wonderful job with the format, I shoot all of my work in Jpeg. Through the camera settings I’ve added a little more sharpness and vibrancy to my frames. I do a little touching up in Lightroom if I feel the photograph needs it. However, my edits are always minimal and I aim to keep as true to the original frame as possible.
Finally, what conclusions did you draw from the Twin Cities project that you can share with us?
That it’s important we don’t overlook certain parts of the world too quickly. Every city and town has something you can fall in love with – sometimes you just need some good lighting to be able to see it.
“I’m Dan, a photographer and photography writer from Leeds, England. My work has found its way into publications such as The Guardian, PetaPixel, The Phoblographer, Feature Shoot, and many others. Currently, my focus is mainly on street and travel photography, where I passionately capture the essence of diverse cultures and everyday life.”