Would you mind introducing yourself? Hi, my name’s Danny Crofts- I’m a photographer, illustrator and graphic designer from Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently living in Amsterdam though, where I work as a graphic designer in the fashion industry. I have always used photography as an extension of my other interests. This started with action sports- mainly Snowboarding and Skiing, however, that slowly moved towards graffiti and street stuff. Nowadays, I enjoy shooting everyday scenes and landscapes, but I hope that the influence from these previous interests can still be seen in my current photographs. For example, when I shoot landscape, I hope that my interest in graffiti and action sports is somehow reflected in those images. Basically, I hope to provide a new perspective on a familiar topic….does that count as a “style?” I kinda think it does!
Danny’s Instagram - @t0pzz
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I guess that would be once I learned about different shutter speeds and could start trying to take photos like all the ones I saw in the skate magazines. Before that, I would be taking action photos on a disposable camera and not understand why there would be motion blur or the subject wasn’t sharp. So, around 16 years old, maybe? I definitely had a deep interest in it from a much earlier age though, without really knowing it.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? The ones that stick with me are always the ones that involve a mission of some description- whether it be driving from Perth to Exmouth on the West Coast of Australia with my girlfriend, and exploring all the vast landscapes there were, or maybe scrambling around rooftops or train tracks at night to get graffiti photos? Or hiking up snow peaked mountains and exploring city streets at night- trying to find interesting features to hit with snowboarding. It all revolves around adventure and exploring. Damn, I’m really finding out a lot about myself doing this! Haha!
What inspires your photography? I guess that would be the unknown and the exploration part of it, perhaps around the corner, there’s some amazing thing that no ones ever seen before? I think I also enjoy trying to find a new approach in documenting the same sort of thing that has already been done, so many times before. That doesn’t mean going to famous, heavily photographed spots, and trying to find a new angle on the same subject. I mean a bit broader than that - more in terms of trying to find a unique approach to image compositions and layout. If that makes any sense at all. Music is another big inspiration and anything that involves a DIY mentality, whether that is skate culture or Graffiti. Travelling is also very, very, very important to me too!
What kind of camera do you use? I own a Canon 7D with a couple of Sigma Lenses – 50 mm and a 10-20mm. However, I have recently just put that into its case for storage as it gathering dust at the moment. I have been favouring the Canon P recently, with a Jupiter 8 and 12. I feel there is a far more relaxed approach to photography with a small rangefinder, and I am enjoying the reflection of this in the images I am producing.
What's your editing process like? When it comes to film photos- I develop everything myself at home and then its basically down to dust removal and minor colour correction. When it comes to digital, I tend to take a similar approach- however, I do prefer a slightly different outcome from digital images in terms of colour range and tone.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? To be honest, I don’t think you should spend time wishing you took photos like this person or that person. Spend time focusing on what photos YOU enjoy taking, and what makes YOUR creative view different from anyone else’s on this planet. I think you have to be really honest with yourself, as a creative. It is extremely easy to get caught up in other people’s styles and trends that buzz briefly around the internet, and I am guilty of it too. The internet is an amazing tool to learn, research and grow, but don’t use it to compare. Likes and followers are all bullshit, in the end, what truly resonates with people is art from an honest, real place, and honestly holds a real grey area on the internet. The only advice I can give is to use manual settings. Really learn how to use your camera. No automatic photography! Manual exposure. Manual aperture. Manually selecting film speed. Manual focus. Manual processing. This will improve your knowledge unbelievably. Learning to use your tools properly will automatically give you your own style and way of capturing an image in the tone you like.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? This has to go back to what I said about the pioneers of their fields – Ansell Adams, Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson and James Nachetway- to only name an immediate few that pop to mind. Also people like Will Robson-Scott and Ruediger Glatz have produced some really amazing, more recent projects too.
Are there any photographers here on Instagram that you wish more people knew about? Of course, people like @toy_on_film , @iamvanessagreen, @_scot.sman, @thslfe @tobias.photo.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? ICELAND!! Nah only joking, it looks really cool but I think Instagram has covered that quite well already! Haha , however, as I use photography in parallel with my other interests, the next places I want to visit are British Columbia, Botswana, Jamaica. Also the Bayous and Alabama, the Deep South and Detroit would also be cool!
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? I think Spring and Summertime when it’s a bit easier to be outdoors. However, winter is also cool too. So is Autumn actually - they each hold their own special characteristics!
The coolest place you've ever been? That’s an interesting one; I have been to some really cool places so far in my life, but each is cool for very different reasons - I’ve spent time in abandoned buildings only a couple of minutes walk from my house which I will always remember. But then I have also been to places like the Okavango Delta when I was really young, and that place has really left an impression on me too! If it involved a healthy dose of adrenalin and a bit of adventure then it was probably fun and I will probably remember it!
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? My girlfriend and I are embarking on a 2-week camping trip with our dog. We are driving from Amsterdam; to the Northern coast of Spain so hopefully, some interesting images come from that!
Anything extra you would like to share? If you have read through this entire interview, or even just scrolled through to look at the pictures, then thank you very much for taking the time to do so, it really means a lot. If you like any of my photos then thank you and feel free to check out all of my others on my Instagram page too - @t0pzz. If you didn’t like them, then thanks for having an opinion at least! I also have an Instagram for my graphic design and illustration stuff, if you want to check it out: @verymuchhello.