Interview with David Nienow

Interview with David Nienow

MonoVisions Black & White Photo Contest 2023

David “Glamour Dave” Nienow is a photographer, TV Producer, & Show Host based in Medford, Oregon. David “Glamour Dave” Nienow started photography in high school photographing BMX races for his cousins. David was both webmaster & site photographer for fitness models Tara Caballero, Erin Ellington, Melissa Budreau, and Brandy Maddron. David’s fashion, glamour has been published in French fashion magazines Fienfh, Moevir, and Malvie, Spanish fashion magazines Dolce, and Vous, Selin Magazine in the Netherlands, and Vigour Magazine and Mob Journal magazine in Canada, Spellbound Magazine in Great Britain, and Style Cruze Magazine in the United States. Fitness and muscle magazines MuscleMag International, American Curves for Men magazine, and Planet Muscle magazine have showcased David’s fitness photography. David’s fashion, glamour and portrait photography has been selected and showcased on 21 magazine covers. David has had his photography showcased in a group exhibition in 2005 at Echo Gallery in Chicago, and in 2010 exhibited in a group exhibition at Flash Gallery in Lakewood, Colorado for The Pinup Show. Published books of his photography can be found on Amazon.com. In 2022 David has published his first new portfolio book in 11 years with his Masterworks: Image Stories, Creation Process and Career Retrospective. In 2010 David retired from his photography work to care for his father full time after he had strokes. In early 2017, prior to the passing of his father David become a certified studio and field producer for RVTV in Ashland, Oregon. David produced and hosted 5 different active series until COVID brought his show productions to an end. David is a 14x winner of the Southern Oregon Television Awards and has earned 35 film festival awards from festivals around the world from his many show productions. In August 0f 2021 David signed a lease for his first commercial photography studio. The Glamour Dave Photography Studio is located in the historic Woolworth Building of downtown Medford, Oregon. David has earned 11 awards for his portraiture work from the Portrait Masters photo competition

How and when did you become interested in photography?

My first phase of exploring photography occurred when I was in high school. I was always exploring art as a kid and thru my teenage years. For Christmas my parents found a used Nikon FM camera kit for sale and bought it for me as my Christmas gift. When I was a Senior I got diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have brain surgery for removal of the tumor. The photography was something I did before and after the surgery. I would photograph my cousin’s BMX bike races. And other events around town. After my brain surgeries and after at the end of my cousin’s season of BMX bike racing, I was given my first photography award. I was given a trophy for photographer of the year by the BMX bike race organizers. It was in part for my making it to all the races and my dealing with my recovery from my brain surgeries. It was a nice gesture and I appreciated it. But then after my surgeries I began college and we had to sell my camera gear to cover college expenses. That brought my photography to an end. It would not begin again until nearly 20 years later when after the creation of the World Wide Web I decided to learn HTML and how to create websites. And I had created a website devoted to a favorite fitness model that was then popular in the fitness and bodybuilding magazines. That model was Tara Caballero. Tara found my website devoted to her, was impressed and asked me if I would be interested in designing her official website. We worked out a deal and after the launch of her website I helped with setting up a photo shoot in Las Vegas with my best friend who was a professional photographer and had graduated from Brooks Photography Institute. During the course of directing that photo shoot Tara encouraged me to buy a camera so I could photograph her. I did that. And the results of our first shoot together made Tara make me her official website photographer. From that I was able to connect with other fitness models and thus was the launch of my 2nd phase of photography and my work as professional photographer. I did that work for about 10 years until I had to retire to care for my father full time after he had strokes. I care gave for my father for 7 ½ years until he passed away in 2017. After my father’s passing, I became a certified public access producer with my local public access television station, RVTV. So, for just over 3 years I stayed busy producing and hosting local television shows. With just doing the occasional photography project. Once COVID brought my TV work to a close I decided to begin planning for a new 3rd phase of my professional photography work. COVID allowed me to save money and get me an SBA EIDL loan that helped me open my first commercial photography studio. I opened that in August of 2021. With my studio I can offer professional headshots, fine art contemporary portraits, and unique fantasy portraits.

Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?

I have a wide range of inspiration sources that drive my work. Fantasy artist Boris Vallejo is a major source of inspiration for fantasy ideas that I try to develop photographically. I have been a fan of his art since before he had his first fantasy calendar published. I am inspired by my studies of art history and the works of renaissance artists and impressionist artists such as Van Gogh and Monet. With my studio I am able to develop and produce the occasional still life idea and various fashion and fantasy concepts. I am also influenced by fashion photographers such as Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, and David LaChapelle. Also, a lifetime of watching sci-fi, fantasy and adventure films and tv shows serve as a source of inspiration. Along with a lifetime of reading and collecting comic books. So yeah, I have a huge amount of source material that fuels my photography ideas.

Why do you work in black and white rather than color?

I work in both color and black and white. But my studio work has led me to producing more black and white portraits than I ever did before. Before my studio I would shoot the occasional roll of black and white film for a fashion or glamour idea. But the issue of controlling lighting outdoors, and the pace at which we would shoot to produce content images for client websites meant that the black and white images were an occasional creation. My studio now allows me the opportunity to control lighting setups better. I have more time to plan and develop an idea for a studio concept shoot. And the software available now for black and white editing makes things both easier and more enjoyable than before. So, with many of shoot concepts I can envision a portion of images that will be finished as black and white. And the process of converting to black and white I find very enjoyable. I wind up losing time in the conversion process deciding how I want my finished image to look. And at the end of the process, I find a greater level of satisfaction from the black and white images than I do from most of my finished color images. I feel like color can hide details of an image at times. And b&w allows more detail to be seen and in a weird way make things more real while also offering a more artful view of the world.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?

For all my studio concept portrait shoots I put a great deal of time planning those shoots. From the initial concept idea, I spend lots of time searching for costume and prop elements that I want to be a part of the shoot. I do lots of searches on Amazon and Ebay looking for elements that helps to extend my concept idea further along. The smallest of props can serve to strengthen an overall image to make it what it becomes. There is also the budgeting of purchasing costumes and props. So, when a shoot idea winds up with expenses that will be several hundred dollars or more, then the timing of purchasing of all elements can take time when no one else is paying for everything. From initial concept idea to final shoot production can take a few weeks to a few months. Afterall, I still also must find the right model for a given shoot concept. And that can take time as well.

Tell something about your technique/creating process?

Once a shoot begins in my studio, I will have setup the basic staging of props. I used flexible LED light panels for my lighting. I have 2 1×2 size panels and 2 1×3 size panels. I shoot with the Canon EOS R mirrorless body. And I have a set of Sigma Art primes with EF mounts. I use the Canon EOS EF to EOS R Adapter to mount the lenses. My Sigma Art primes are the 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm F1.4 primes. And I have the 135mm F1.8 prime. I use the 105mm lens for all my headshots. I use the 35, 50 and 85mm for all my studio portraits. And the 135mm I use for outdoor portrait work. Once the model is ready in costume and she understands her place in the staging and what kind of poses I am going after then the shoot begins. Most of my concept shoots can take a couple of hours or more depending on what I am trying to achieve and get created.
After a shoot, I start off with doing some basic color adjustment edits in Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw. From there I will do some additional color editing in Nik Software Color Efex Pro. Once I am satisfied with those color edits, I then move the finished color file to Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro. That’s when I begin working on my B&W conversion work. I can easily get lost in the process figuring out how I want my finished image to look. On occasion If I am creating an image to support a story idea for like my Shade Fashion Project then I will do some additional editing in Exposure Software’s Exposure X6.

Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?

I feel like my portrait work is advancing quite a bit having my own studio space. The studio has allowed me to develop ideas that I have had in my head for years and get them out of my head into finished images. That has been a very fulfilling experience. My Shade Fashion Project has been a great springboard for letting me develop my fashion photography ideas and at the same create a unique fantasy story. The Shade is an original female adventurer/crime fighter that I have created. She comes out of the pulp world of The Shadow. Her story connects to his as she is a former romantic partner and disciple of The Shadow. She learned the skills and powers of The Shadow while also having her own mutant powers as well. The world and mythos of The Shade is continually evolving as I find additional models to model all the new characters I create in the world of The Shade. The Shade is being modeled by my friend Lia Dugal who is an actress and owner of Café Girl Thriving Artists, a local film production company in my region. And all the muse models for my Shade project are friends from my connections in the local acting community. Which all comes from my working relationship with Lia. It’s been fun to create these character portraits and to see much of the created work published in various magazines. I am still not done as I have many more characters to define with their own photo shoots. Where the Shade winds up in the future as the project develops more is hard to say. But I think it will be very positive for me and all my muse models. And in addition to all my Shade project shoots I still have a long list of shoot ideas based on my love of mythology, fantasy, adventure and science fiction.

Official Site: https://www.glamourdave.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glamourdavephotographystudio
Instagram: @glamourdavephotographystudio

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow

© David Nienow


MonoVisions Black & White Photo Contest 2023