“I started out as a child. (joke) I always loved photography. Sometime after university I discovered that something that I loved in my life could also employ me. I only wish that I had had French champagne that day. I worked for 20 in photojournalism, first as a staff member of the Ft.Lauderdale (Fla) Sun-Sentinel, and then freelance for the New York Times, Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, Time Magazine, and many more. I was a Pulitzer Finalist for my work in Haïti. I began my wedding career in 2003. I have learned so much over the years and still am learning to be better every day. I feel so privileged to have worked with so many incredible photographers, both in the photojournalism field and wedding world. You can always see what I am doing on my two Instagram pages: David Murray Weddings and davidmurrayjr (personal)”
How did you get into photography?
I started my photography at my university where my major was French. I needed a creative release, and the darkroom was on the second floor of my dormitory. It was a lucky day when I was allowed to enter the room after school. I never wanted to leave again.
In your opinion, what are the most important components for a good photography?
Every photographer who wishes be a master of any form of photography must understand the elements of light, composition as well as the essence of whatever the subject is before you. The first two can be learned by proper study (the craft). The third is best understood as we learn to understand ourselves ( the artist).
What is the future of photography?
Over the years, I have learned that I have not a clue as to what technology will overtake mankind for the next generation (who could have predicted the iPhone in 2001?). So I am not sure how the message will reach the masses, but I feel that there will always be an need for imagery in some form. Visual storytelling has been with us since the cave drawings of 40,000 years ago. I think that there are certain parts of the industry that will always do well/ok. Portraits, commercial, product, architecture will survive in some form. Wedding photography will exist in some manner. I can say that because I believe that there will always be viewers who enjoy looking at composition and moments. Part of the beauty in this is that we can see different things in the same image as we grow. What was important earlier on, may give way to another more important revelation with time. It is like looking at a subject outdoors: the light of the sun changes what we see throughout the day. We notice different things with that same subject depending on what time the sun touches the subject.
How do you deal with criticism?
First, I consider the source. If 1000 people dislike a photo of mine, but 10 of my colleagues that I know and respect like it, then I would feel ok. If one or more of my colleagues sends a suggestion about the crafting of that image (crafting meaning a light or composition issue) I pay attention. The converse of this is also true. Ultimately I have to ask myself,” What is my purpose in presenting any image?” Is it about my ego? Or is it about reaching out to the universe and showing the viewer how we are all connected as human beings? If I can answer to the later, then I stand my ground, and hope that others will eventually see my point. Hopefully if I am true to myself, the point that I make will stand the test of time.
Would you like to photograph with another photographer/videomaker (anywhere in the world) that you admire? If so, who would that be?
Sam Abell, Stephen Crowley, Pete Sousa, David Guttenfelder are just some of the people that I admire. They are all photojournalists who have made a difference in getting their stories out to the world. Stephen is one of my early mentors. He is a wonderful human being. He just retired from the Washington bureau of the New York Times.
Do you do any type of work other than photography or think of doing it?
I would love to do more video. I am not very good at it. I want to improve and do it better.
Who inspire you in your daily living and who inspire you in your career? Why?
President Obama inspires me in my daily living. As for my career, I stand on the shoulders of so many who have helped guide me to where I am. In my forty years of photography, I have learned and been encouraged by so many. One person who was a teacher to me is my friend Walt Michot (Miami Herald photographer). In the beginning he would always say to me,” Shoot a roll of film a day.” (in the digital world, that is 36 exposures). I know now that this means that there are no shortcuts to being proficient in photography. We must do the hours and hours of making mistakes, learning as we go, until we achieve our little victories along the way. In my wedding life, friends like Anna Kuperberg, Verna Pitts, Ben Chrisman, Tyler Wirken, Amy Deputy, Kirsten Lewis, Craig Fritz and so many more help me to see better, both in my work and my life. To the many not included here, please forgive me…. I could go on forever with this list.
What kind of equipment do you currently use for work?
When people ask me this question, I always respond, “Do they ask the chef in the restaurant what kind of pots she/he uses?” It is not the equipment that makes the photographer, but how the idea of the photographer is executed by the camera. Having said this, I have Nikon D 750s.
What kind of resources do you prefer to use to learn new techniques and keep yourself updated in this career? For example: seminars, workshops, online courses, books?
I am an instructor at Foundation Workshops, and have found much to learn over the years as I listen to my colleagues and students. Knowledge comes from all sources. For books, I can recommend anything from Sam Abell with regards to content. Cinema: Amelie. Workshops: Foundation Workshop. There are two keys to being better in photography: 1) Know the craft 2) Know yourself
What do you try to transmit to others with your photos?
I hope to transmit the goodness in our families and in our lives, and pass that message on to those who will come afterwards, so that they might know who they are and the foundation of their family roots.
What hobbies do you have?
I love the kitchen. Because I lived in France for several years, I love to cook and eat good food. Of course, it helps to have some good wine as well! I love to sing and play guitar. I have friends who play with me and sometimes it really sounds great. Other times it sounds as though I should leave my singing to my shower time.
If you could any place in the world to live, where would it be?
France or Rio.
Do you have a dream come true?
I am living my dream: I love what I do. I speak a Romantic language (sadly not Portuguese but French) which I learned starting in school. I am invigorated by the daily learning process in my profession. I learned to make Sauce Hollandaise and other basic French sauces. I have a wife and family that I adore. I have friends who see my faults and still keep me around. I love and am loved by my grandchildren. I have a house on a beach (that I have known since childhood) in the state of Maine. I am blessed.
According to you, what are the things that contributed for you to get to where you are today?
I was meant to be a photographer. I have never wanted to be anything else. I always loved photojournalism. So I guess I have always been driven to do this. I always admired those who could let the photo tell the story of the human condition. I always have wanted to tell stories in this way. My influences started with the weekly Life Magazine as a child. University was my germinating point for discovering the way of making images. It allowed me to explore. Curiosity and exploration are so important in being successful in this business. Later I met some photojournalists by chance in my mid twenties, and they gave me much encouragement. (I am forever so grateful). Soon I worked in newspapers learning all that was possible. When I left photojournalism for weddings in 2003, I found some talented friends who continue to inspire me and make me a better photographer and person.
If you could send a message to yourself 5 years ago, what would you say?
Time is precious. Have fun (with those that you love). The key to learning is knowing that as we get older, we know less. This is meant to be encouraging. We can never be bored when there is so much still to learn!
Leave a message to the world here about any subject.
Life is fragile. Love can be life. Everyday gives us an opportunity to be better at who we are, better at what we do, and make the world a better place. This sounds almost too optimistic, yet I believe that as we touch the next person with our good energy, we light up the world one soul at a time.
Check out some of David Murray’s work.