In this edition of Conversing Cameras, we share close friends of Camera West's photography and story as we talk photography, gear, life, and the nexus connecting all of these particulars. Danny Bligh and I talk cameras nearly every day, it seems. Danny is one of those people who loves shooting pictures every day, everywhere, and of almost everything. I still have yet to see a Leica M10-P reporter as well worn and well used as his. If anyone made the M10-P "Reporter" work for its name, it would be Danny. Over the past couple of years, I've deeply enjoyed Danny's reportage of day-to-day through his Instagram, and fellow camera/watch geekery and discussions. But, enough from me, let's chat with Danny...
About Danny Bligh:
Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: I'm born and raised in Nebraska. The midwest is very much my home. I grew up playing guitar in punk rock bands and taking photographs. Both of those things have carried with me to adulthood!
Q: What first sparked your interest in photography and Cameras?
A: I had a job in communications over 20 years ago where I was working a lot in Adobe Photoshop. Our department purchased a Sony 3.3 megapixel digital camera that wrote images onto these little CD's. I remember being astonished by the quality of the images. From there I purchased for myself a tiny little 1.2 megapixel Fuji digital camera, and I haven't put a camera down since!
Q: Tell us about your work. What kind of photography do you do and enjoy?
A: I often hear that I photograph "nothing" and make it look like "something" - so I guess the quiet midwest and that life, in general, has inspired my photography. I've never found myself drawn to the epic or grand scenes of life. What has always spoken to me creatively are the small, quiet, mysterious scenes. That's also the kind of photography that I enjoy. Photographers like Larry Clark with his extremely raw documentation of people, or Glen Friedman's documentation of Fugazi on tour. That's what speaks to me the most in photography. I like real life!
Q: What's the most fascinating thing to you about photography?
A: I love photography that doesn't tell you the entire scene in one frame. I like to be able to fill in the blanks myself. That's probably why my own photography usually focuses on a small scene or element. I think I like to let the viewer fill in the blanks about a given place. I'm very much drawn to that element of mystery.
Q: Do you like to shoot film or digital?
A: I've had my time with film back when I was shooting a Leica M6. I was developing the 35mm color negatives myself in my basement - but I found through that process that I'm a very impatient photographer when it comes to my own work. I hated having to wait to see the images - so that's when I switched over entirely to digital.
Q: Who is your favorite photographer?
A: I have MANY. Saul Leiter, Andres Serrano, Larry Clark. I love Vivian Maier's black and white work. Glen Friedman's work with Fugazi. Gordon Parks early crime photography. I've recently discovered Wolfgang Tillman's abstract photography and I've been enjoying that a lot also.
Q: Who are some of your favorite Instagram photographers:
I've got a great community of photographers through that platform. Some of my personal friends in that community are Bobby George, Bret Curry, Edgar Corona, Payman Hazheer. They're all great people doing great work!.
Q What’s your favorite camera?
A: The Leica M10, or in my case, The leica M10-P Reporter as I love the silent shutter. The M240 was a great camera, but the M10 fixed every complaint imaginable and refined that system perfectly.
Q: You’re heading on an adventure for a week and can only take one camera & one lens. What is it?
Easy! My M10-P Reporter and 35 APO Summicron M. That lens with it's close focus capabilities (on a rangefinder) have given me everything I've never needed in a system.
Q: What next? Will you be adding anything new to your camera bag and why?
A: One of my personal favorite lenses in terms of character and rendering was always the Leica 35 f2 ASPH version 1. I've been missing that lens lately and will likely add it to my rig again at some point!