I am David Allan Barker, a Toronto-based photographer, who takes inspirational photos that lift the spirit and blah blah blah shit. Here on my web site, I use the portfolio space to present a selection of these images, and I use the blog space to document my love/hate S/M relationship with digital imaging.

The journey

finger in front of the lensI got my start in photography when, at the tender age of five, my dad gave me a Kodak Instamatic, three rolls of film, and my first piece of photography advice. “Son,” he said, “when you’re taking a picture, try not to get your finger in front of the lens.” As you can see from the photo at right, I had trouble with that one. But I kept at it and got better. And as I got better, my Dad’s advice got more advanced. For instance, he taught me that you can’t get a good picture if you’ve left your camera at home. He taught me that a picture of people posing for a picture makes a boring picture. And he taught me not to use a flash when I’m shooting a sunset. Although those bits of wisdom seem obvious now, it’s important to remind myself that they were once things I didn’t know, and had to learn. The trick is to keep learning. The only way that will keep happening is if I think of photography as a craft and of myself as a perpetual apprentice. I have to approach both my craft and my world with humility.

The focus

Sometimes, when I shoot, I try to capture awe or natural beauty or stuff like that, but creating commercial photo art isn’t exactly my thing. The fact is: all images are constructed. And in our postmodern world, almost all environments are constructed too. I’m more interested in documenting constructedness than in capturing beauty. Sometimes the two coincide. But not always. Besides being beautiful, images have a lot of other important functions too. They document the state of our world. They pose questions. Enrage us. Move us to act. Afflict our consciousness. I rarely achieve any of this. But it’s something I aspire to.

The hardware

Although not terribly important, my gear seems to matter to some people. Right now, I enjoy shooting with a Canon EOS 5DS. However, because its weight threatens to reshape my spine, I’ve recently picked up a mirrorless system from Sony, the Alpha 7II, perfect for street photography and easy on the neck. As for lenses, I shoot almost exclusively with primes. With the Sony, I use a 35mm F2.8 Zeiss lens. With the Canon I use the following: Sigma (Art) 24mm F1.4, Sigma (Art) 50mm F1.4, Canon 85mm F1.2, and Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro. Zooms: Canon 17-40mm F4.0 and Canon 70-200mm F2.8L.

David On Back