David Lazar is a photographer from Brisbane, Australia. If you haven’t yet heard of him, I’m sure you will recognise his amazing work; capturing those special everyday moments in the lives of culturally rich countries across the globe!
We were lucky enough that we caught him at home, editing the photos from his last assignment to Vietnam. Besides retouching his latest work, he is working on his first solo printed book. It will be a coffee table book filled with photographs of his travels to Myanmar. (We’ll keep an eye out, as it will be available for purchase later this year).
“I’m not motivated by gear and equipment”
Another distinguished photographer that truly believes it’s not about what kit, equipment or gear you have, “but rather the creative vision and final piece of artwork.” He goes on to state that to create beautiful works of art it’s going to have to come from within, so that means from an individual’s mind, heart and soul. The camera is simply the tool to get you there. He travels light and since he doesn’t like hauling around heavy cameras when exploring a new country, he likes to keep it to a minimum. His Nikon D800 and a Nikon 24-85mm zoom lens works perfectly well for the style of photography he enjoys. He does however have an exception to the rule and that is when he’s shooting wildlife photography. David says that it’s easy staying motivated in life taking into account what he does for a living.
Confidence and Communication
Facial expressions, confidence, respect and having a sense of humour are all things that don’t require words. That is how he communicates. “Once a friendly connection has been made, I can be more specific with the explanation of my photographic ideas.” He also says that he’ll demonstrate the pose himself to help them understand.
The Process of Creating
“I don’t label myself as a documentary photographer, I create personal works of art that faithfully represent a scene or people and their culture.” He likes being organized ahead of time so a lot of extensive planning goes into his shoots. From checking scenes and locations before hand to sometimes even sketching exactly what he has planned to help visual the composition. When it comes to editing, it’s the complete opposite. He doesn’t plan; it’s all done in the moment. He usually takes a few months because he works slowly and gradually makes all the necessary adjustments to improve the image. He’ll tweak specific areas to get the photo looking how he sees it in his mind’s eye:
- Brightening certain areas to enhance the light already captured and have some very bright points especially on the subject
- Darkening certain areas to take away attention such as a background, and also to enhance contrast such as on shadows or lines on the face
- Boosting certain colours while reducing others
- Cleaning up small distractions
- Trying different crops
Pursuit of Happiness
Travelling all over the world to the most remote destinations, disconnected from technology, fast foods and luxuries he has seen first hand that some of the happiest people on this earth may not be the ones with the most monetary wealth. “When you really witness this for yourself, it is humbling and your mind is opened to be more tolerant, accepting diversity.” He has met friendly, down-to-earth locals who have embraced him, instantly wanting to help him and become his friend. “These are the most touching and memorable moments I’ve had in my travels.” David continues to say that he has learnt to really appreciate the natural beauty of this world by experiencing some of the awe inspiring locations the earth has to offer while learning to have more respect for the environment.
If you happen to travel as much as David Lazar, you are sure to know that sticky situations are inevitable! One such moment happened when he was photographing in a monastery in southern Myanmar. He was getting quite enthusiastic about a shot idea near a lake and thought he’d walk into the mud to get closer to the subject… The next moment he fell in waist deep into very soft mud just holding the camera above his head. Bystanders helped him out and he had to buy a wraparound *longyi to wear, replacing his black mud stained trousers. “I also didn’t get a good shot out of it which otherwise would have made this moment more redeemable.”
*A longyi is a sheet of cloth widely worn in Burma. It is approximately 2 metres long and 80 centimetres wide. The cloth is often sewn into a cylindrical shape. It is worn around the waist, running to the feet.
Tuly – the Girl with the Green Eyes
The photograph he took of the young Bangladeshi girl with the captivating green eyes made the front pages of plenty magazines and newspapers. He hasn’t seen Tuly again given that he hasn’t returned to Bangladesh since 2011. He has however heard from Bangladeshi Facebook users that the media paid her a visit, did an interview with her and published some stories after which she’s become quite famous.
In 10 years David Lazar has come a long way and created a successful career in an industry that he loves. His hopes and dreams for the next 10 years are to continue travelling to interesting and culturally rich places, creating beautiful, artistic and informative photographs about those places. He will continue to lead photo tours in South East Asia for Luminous Journeys and bringing out more books are also planned for the future. The next two books will be focusing on Vietnam and Indonesia. “I would also love to return to Africa soon and do some more safaris there, take a trip to Antarctica as well as visiting more tribes in South America.”
We truly hope to see those books out on shelves soon!!!