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Q&A with Dave Delnea

Commercial advertising photographer

My name is Dave Delnea, I’m a commercial advertising photographer.

How did you get started in commercial photography? What is a turning point in your professional career?

I was always passionate about the outdoors as a kid. After high school and in college I started getting involved in climbing and mountaineering. It was these mountaineers trips that pushed me to these beautiful places that very few people would ever get to see that prompted me to get my first camera (I think I was 20 at the time). I quickly found that the pictures I took didn’t properly capture the emotion of the beauty I saw on these trips, and so I set out to learn the craft of landscape photography to better share my outdoor experiences. It was these mountain landscape images that, through a fortuitous series of events found there way in front of an advertising agency that happen to have a number of travel and luxury resort clients. It was this meeting that set me on the path to becoming an advertising photographer.

What is your favorite genre of photography and why?

Even though (or perhaps because) it’s not the area of photography that I work in, my favourite photography to look at is often conceptual still life imagery. The control of light and colour that the photographer has working in studio and the painstaking time and attention to detail they take in expressing a creative concept in a single image are things that I am often inspired by and work very hard to bring to my own location and lifestyle work.

What software / hardware do you use for your work?

I work primarily on Apple computers (along with specialized image editing monitors, Wacom tablets and other peripheral bits). My camera setup is dependant on the requirements of the job but generally is either a Nikon SLR kit or a Phase One medium format kit. Both are digital - I rarely shoot film anymore except for personal enjoyment.

What is your ideal work environment?

One of the best parts about a career in photography is the places I’ve visited and the people I’ve been able to meet and photograph. So anytime I’m working from someplace new I’m pretty happy.

Where does your photography inspiration come from? (Do you believe in 'inspiration' at all)?

My inspiration comes from discovery - so anytime I’m testing out a new look or idea and discover a new way of working I’ll be pretty inspired to create new work.

Who are the great photographers you admire most?

Galen Rowell was a climber and landscape photographer that inspired me a lot when I was first starting. Now I find most of my influence and admiration comes from artists in more traditional mediums - the work of Alex Colville (painter) and Geoff McFetridge (painter and illustrator) have both been pretty big influences.