David Brandon Geeting
DBG, as his friends call him, is a grown up 28 year old. Clearly, this ain’t his first time at the rodeo. If his work doesn’t win you over (impossible!), then his answers will.
What do your friends call you?
Dave or DBG.
What do your parents call you?
My dad calls me Dave, my mom died 4 years ago. I have dreams about her all the time though, and she stills calls me Dave.
How old are you?
I know you are based in Brooklyn, but where are you from originally?
I’m from Bethlehem, PA, which is an old steel town, but I grew up in the suburbs outside of it.
Are you a gum chewer? A soda drinker? A health nut? A junk food junkie?
I am not a gum chewer because I am an avid teeth-clencher and gum makes my jaw feel worse. I drink seltzer water all day every day. I’m not really a health nut, though I make sure to eat vegetables every day, otherwise I feel like a garbage can. I love junk food at heart, but it’s not a big part of my snack routine at the moment - I’m a big hummus guy.
Did you go to school for photography?
Yeah I got my BFA in Photography from SVA.
When necessary, who are your go-to people for styling, creative direction, etc and at what point do you find these people necessary or valuable in your process?
I collaborate with Priscilla Jeong, who is an artist that mainly works in sculpture, on many of my commissioned still life images. She is amazing at arranging and composing and paying attention to the balance of the image. But my personal work is always just made by me. I only like to take direction if I’m creating content for someone else. I consider myself a pretty social guy and I love the magic that comes out of collaboration, so I really enjoy working on commissions with other creatives. But at this point in my life, I would feel weird slapping my name on personal work that wasn’t fully mine.
What kind of shoes do you wear?
I wear the kind of Reeboks that dads wear when they mow the lawn.
Do or did you ever get nervous when shooting for a magazine, client or commission?
Yeah all the time, but that’s because I really care about everything I do. My stuff can be haphazard at times, so I think people might get the vibe that I’m all “whatever.” But it’s considered. It’s a considered mess.
It looks like you give very special attention to things that most would find mundane. You see the world differently. Like I think you photograph a potato like it is a human - giving it the same attention and beauty you would give to a human. I guess what I'm asking is: how do you approach a person or thing that needs its photo taken?
I try to shoot everything in a democratic way — a way in which everything looks really fucking special. I have no tolerance for boring pictures. The only difference between shooting objects and humans is that humans move around and change their expression, and it becomes more of a collaboration to get the vibe right. I say this all the time, but really I just have to be surprised by what’s going on in order for the final product to be interesting.
Are you a Disney World or Disney Land kind of guy?
I’ve never been to either, but growing up on the east coast, everyone I knew swore by Disney World in Florida. I’d probably go there first.
Fill in the blank: Make _______ Great Again
I will not fill in that blank because I don’t want to make light of a fucking nightmare.
Where have you traveled for work and where do you want to travel for work? What about for fun? Do you ever make a rule that you aren't allowed to take pictures when you go somewhere or does it feel like you are always mixing business and pleasure?
Domestically, I’ve traveled to the west coast, the pacific northwest, the midwest, the south, and the northeast. Internationally, I’ve travelled to the UK, South Korea, and China. For fun, I don’t travel much. I never make the rule that I’m not allowed to take pictures when traveling. I’m so anxious about photography, I never want to miss anything weird on the street. It’s the cause of headaches and panic attacks sometimes, and I feel like the audience is sometimes able to feel that nervous energy. As someone who tackles a lot of different genres in his practice, the nervous/desperate quality of my work really acts as the glue.
If you were given the choice to photograph the president of the USA for Playgirl Magazine OR moldy pancakes at McDonalds which would you choose?
McDonalds easily, I think the pancakes would be a beautiful image. In fact, I might steal the idea ;)
Images courtesy of DAVID BRANDON GEETING
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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