David Alan Harvey was born in San Francisco in 1944 and raised in Virginia. He is a member of Magnum Photos and editor of Burn Magazine. Harvey’s books include “Cuba,” “Divided Soul,” and “Living Proof,” among others. His work “BeachGames” is being exhibited at Paris Photo LA through Sunday, March 3 at Leica’s booth (soundstage 32, stand 2).
Q: What camera equipment do you use?
A: I started with the Leica IIIF when I was 14. I bought it myself with my paper route money! For 25 years I used an M6 and Kodachrome and Velvia. After digital revolutionized things, I tried many different cameras and now I’m using a Monochrom. I only use a 35 mm lens.
Q: How would you describe your photography?
A: My work is pretty straightforward, no tricks. I want viewers to feel the work rather than just see it. I want them to connect the way I connected.
Q: Can you provide some background information on these images?
A: This work is all from my upcoming book “BeachGames.” It was shot in Rio, yet not a documentary about Rio. Not my intent. Rio is like a Shakespearean stage – physically looks like a stage. A wide demographic lives on the beach. The beach is like a town center in many cities, not just a place to go visit. The beach is where they live. I use this as grist, not as fact. BeachGames is my diary, nothing more.
Q: How would you characterize the images in this portfolio?
Q: When did you first become interested in photography?
A: From day one, at 12, I knew immediately that THIS was it … done deal.
Q: Did you have any formal education in photography? What inspires you? Was there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
A: I’m self-taught. I would have welcomed a mentor or a workshop but there were none. Books were it. I fell in love right away with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. They did not need a war, or a movie star, or a famous person in their photos. They just needed an eye. I loved that simplicity, as I did with the French Impressionist painters. I liked the idea of making something out of nothing.
Q: What genre are your photos?
A: Documentary, mostly. Although now I am very interested in fiction. Some writers write non-fiction and fiction. I want to do the same. For sure I do not think of myself as a photojournalist at all, yet I do bear witness. Sometimes what I witness is in my imagination.
Q: How did you first become interested in Leica?
A: When I was 14, and already a very serious photographer, my local camera shop guy showed me a Leica and gave me a photo magazine to look at. I could see that the smaller Leica was going to be it for me as opposed to the larger format film cameras most used at the time. I wanted to be invisible. That camera shop guy let me walk out with a used Leica if I promised to bring him $10 per week, which I did. I think he could tell I was pretty fanatical so he gave me a break!
Q: What approach do you take with your photography or what does photography mean to you?
A: Photography is the way I live my life. Cameras mean nothing to me, nor does “photography” as technique. It is THE way I see the world. The world is a different and more exciting place when I am looking through a viewfinder.
Thank you for your time, David!
– Leica Internet Team
Connect with David on Instagram and on Burn Magazine. In conjunction with Leica Camera’s presence at Paris Photo LA, a live Twitter chat will be held today at 5:30 PM with François Fontaine. Use the hashtag #LeicaChat to participate. See more of David’s work in the latest issue of the M Magazine, on sale now.