Telefon Booth and Motorcycle, 1997, David J. Carol
David J. Carol is a reviewer for the 2014 Filter Photo Festival. He attended the School of Visual Arts and The New School for Social Research where he studied under Lisette Model. He was the first assignment photographer for The Image Bank photo agency (now part of Getty Images) at the age of 26. He currently works daily in the real world of commercial photography as the Director of Photography at CBS Outdoor. Yet he also loves giving other photographers a platform to share and discuss their work with the photographic community. He is able to do this as a contributing writer for Rangefinder Magazine with his monthly column Photo Finish and with his weekly articles for PDN’s Emerging Photographer Magazine. He also serves on the Board of Advisers for the Center for Alternative Photography.
Interview by W. Tanner Young
W. Tanner Young: Let’s start with a little bit about your background, education and initial interest in the art of photography.
David Carol: I started taking pictures at 18 because my friend, Frank Russo, got a camera for his 21st birthday. I wanted one too, it looked so cool and seemed very precise. I ended up taking pictures of pretty much everything and thought this could be a great excuse to travel the world. I ended up applying to SVA in NYC. During my interview, I was asked what type of photography I wanted to do. I was such a photographic neophyte, I didn’t even know what that meant so I said “Fashion.” The interviewer said, “thats great, we don’t get many people interested in fashion here.” I Guess thats why they took me. Anyway, I dropped out after two years and went to Paris.
WTY: As a juror, writer, and photographer yourself, you hold a very unique position in the photo world. Do you find that these positions all inform each other, and has this had an effect on the way you view other’s work?
DC: I look at all photography the same way whether its editorial, journalism, personal work, etc. Is this an interesting, organized and compelling picture? If it’s not, I figure out what the photographer missed or failed to convey in the image. Its really not very complicated. In my opinion, too many people in the “photo industry” don’t know enough about photography. They write about it and they critique it, but they don’t have a clue how to make a good photograph.