15 CENTS: NESRIN DANAN
Nesrin Danan: I got into photography on accident actually. My freshman year of high school I was put into a film photo class and I thought it was gonna be a total drag having to develop all my own photos and stuff. But once I met the teacher (shoutout to Mr. Minyard) he really opened my eyes to how incredible photography was. That class was where I learned everything I know about composition, developing, printing, and how to use a film camera. I took film photo for two years (they didn’t offer digital photo classes at my school) and then taught myself how to use a DSLR. I joined my high school yearbook and worked on that my last two years of high school, and basically being the only one who really knew how to take decent photos, I showed a lot of yearbook rookies the ropes.TI: What was the first show you shot?
ND: First show I shot was Macklemore at Flat Tail Music Festival 2012. This sounds huge now, but it was back before The Heist, before all of his awards, before he was famous. It was a free show at Oregon State in Corvallis which is where I grew up. There were about 1,000 people there that night – it was such an amazing show. When I met him, he was the chillest guy. So humble and friendly. That’s the kind of people I love working with.
TI: What kind of camera do you use?
ND: I currently shoot on a Canon 6D, with an adapter so I can use a really old Nikkor 85mm film lens on it. It’s a rare setup – it gives my photos a unique quality that can’t be achieved with other lenses. I also have two other primes, a 50mm and a 35mm. Since I just transitioned from Nikon to canon I’ve had to get all new camera equipment. Sometimes for shows I’ll rent zoom lenses – that’s what I’m saving for now.
TI: What is your favorite type of photography?
ND: I shoot a lot of portraits and headshot stuff to make money and because it’s easy, but my favorite type of photography is concert photos. Mostly because it’s not easy. I admire people who work in the music photography business so much because it’s constant work – if you miss a single shot you’re screwed. You have to get it perfect or no one even cares. But when you do get the perfect shot, it’s incredible.
TI: What inspires you and your work?
ND: My biggest inspirations are other music photographers. I love Matt Miggz’s photos – so I hit him up this past summer when I was back out in NYC and we got coffee. It was so cool to talk photography with someone I respected so much. I first realized this is what I wanted to do when I saw Grady Brannan on the Must Be Nice tour with G-Eazy, and OHDAGYO on tour with Dirtyphonics.
TI: Is it tough to be working at such a young age?
ND: Actually, no. People love that I’m so young and already doing things with my life. My age is definitely a benefit when it comes to marketing myself. Also, people usually think I’m 20 or 21 and then everyone is shocked when I admit I’m only 18. The only age-related issues I’ve had are my parents not wanting me to go on tour and stuff, because they think I’m too young.
TI: Who has been your favorite person to shoot?
ND: My favorite person to work with has to be D-WHY. He’s been there for me from the beginning, and I really could not have gotten where I am today without him and his crew. I look up to him like a brother, and this makes being on the road with him and the guys so much fun, it’s like a big family. He’s also incredibly photogenic, and so is DJ ETrayn. It’s really nice to have a friendship with people I shoot for – often I only meet artists for a night or two, exchange some emails and that’s it, but these guys text me regularly, and we always look forward to seeing each other. Definitely my favorites.
TI: What is your favorite shot you have taken? Your “Mona Lisa”?
ND: My favorite shot I’ve ever taken.. that’s a tough one. Probably between my photo of Hoodie Allen mid-jump on stage in Seattle, Drake walking the platform with an amazing lens flare at the Moda Center, or a double exposure I got of Skizzy Mars.
TI: Where do you hope to take your photography career?
ND: After college, I hope to be doing music photography full time – probably at a major publication like Billboard or Rolling Stone. Or working at a freelance creative agency.
TI: Favorite things to do in PDX?
ND: Hang out with Chad and Marcus, go to shows, people-watch at Starbucks, and find cool places to explore with my friends.
TI: Favorite places to eat in PDX?
ND: Screen Door, Baan Thai, Santeria, Koji. Also, Cacao is definitely my guilty pleasure
TI: Who would be your dream subject to shoot?
ND: Dream subjects to shoot are Childish Gambino and Logic. They’re my biggest music inspirations. They’re also two of the most elusive people in the industry, and shooting for either of them would be so rare.
Photo credits: 1 & 2 by the Incorporated. 3 & 4 by Nesrin Danan