Dante Marshall


Los Angeles, California

How did you get your start in photography?

I started in 2010. My dad used to take pictures, so I would go to his photo shoots and play around with his camera. One day I asked if I could use his camera to take pictures of a young lady I was dating at the time who was into modeling. I took a few pictures of her and people loved the way they came out. I got a good vibe from that experience, so I kept it going.

How would you describe your photography style?

It's weird trying to describe my style.  I would say minimal, timeless, organic, authentic, and classic. A lot of my work depends on my mood. Whether I'm happy or sad, etc. I'm from Detroit, and in the past few years, a lot of work was black and white or had very saturated muted tones. Over the past months, a lot of my work has been super vibrant with poppy tones.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

I live in downtown Los Angeles, and there are so many interesting places and people here. California has so much to take in. The barber shops, the old motels with the big neon signs, the strip clubs, and tarot card reading signs. There is so much character in the buildings here.

On memorable projects:

I've worked on campaigns, but the most fun I've had on shoots are typically when I get a chance to work with friends or when I'm working on passion projects. There is no pressure to make something for a client. We just go out and make dope shit. Those pictures make clients go "That is so cool do something like that for me."

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influence shaped your craft?

My dad taught me the technical side of things. He was still a student of the craft. Back then, you picked up a camera and you went to school for it. Today, some of the Instagram guys can pick up a camera or phone and every shot is going to be good. Having someone learning while I was beginning to learn as well helped me a lot.

There are a few fashion photographers I look up to like Richard Avedon, Steven Klein, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, and Craig McDean. They are photographers I have studied to find their work outside of the fashion magazines. Also, I love Gordon Parks, he is a legend.

 What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

Two words. Time and lines.

There are times when I'm doing shoots; I will have another photographer there, and I will have the model look at the other photographer a lot of the time. While the model is doing the straightforward "eyes to camera" pictures with them, I'm off to the side capturing the moment from the right or the left. That is a secret way to get the juice. I think the behind-the-scenes photos look better than the actual pictures, so a lot of my photos look like behind-the-scenes of someone's life.

What's your favorite lens to use?

24 to 70 is a cool, all around, all purpose, go to lens. I will use a 50 for most of my film cameras.

What particular technology or software do you use to help with your photographic process?

I use Lightroom and Photoshop.  For film stock, I use Portrait 400.

You recently began shooting videos, tell us about that experience?                   

Yes, I'm just getting into to film. It's a different process; you have to pay attention to various things than you would with photos, so I'm learning a different way to create.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

The challenges I have faced are mostly internally. Things a lot of artists go through. I get tired of the photos I shoot fast. I'm never satisfied with my work. Keeping relationships and dating is hard. I shoot a lot of models, and even though I'm a faithful guy, these are some of the most beautiful women in the world. That can bring certain insecurities and energies into play. These are the realities that come into play with being a human in the industry.

Do you have any bizarre or tragic moments that occurred during one of your shoots?

I did a cool campaign for TGI Fridays. For 12 weeks I drove to different cities and states to shoot various locations. In Houston, someone stole all my equipment from a rental car while I was getting lunch. I was in the middle of the campaign, I didn't have insurance, and they took everything. My laptop, audio gear, lens kit, 2 or 3 cameras and I lost it all. That was crucial; I was in a position to bounce back, but it sucked. I have insurance now.

On upcoming projects:

I plan to do a lot of personal projects this year. I may even start vlogging even though I'm weird about being on camera. I'm definitely doing more studio work and would like to work on a few photo series.

 What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

If you build it they will come.

Keep going.

People are always starting things and then they stop. If you stop you never know what could happen. Keep going.

For more on this artist, please visit dantemarshall.com and follow on social media at @dantedigital