Here at RVA Mag, we’ve always been captivated by the possibilities inherent in the photographic art form. And luckily for us, there are many amazing photographers all around us. They capture their own unique look at culture, music, art, and history, both here in Richmond and far beyond the city’s borders. Through their eye on the world, the photographers of RVA share emotions, tell stories, and capture moments in time. They amaze and inspire us.
This is the latest in a series of posts that we’re calling RVA Photogs. In each post, we’ll highlight one of our favorite photographers from the region. We’ll learn what drives them, what they love, and what inspires them to create their art.
Specializing in event photography, Dave Parrish “thrives on challenging situations” and “loves nothing more than capturing a special moment or a beautiful landscape.”
How did photography become your choice of visual storytelling?
I took up photography as a hobby during a super toxic relationship as a way of getting away. It soon became an overwhelming passion. I really didn’t set out with a plan to become a serious photographer, it just became more and more important to my life. The visual storytelling aspect slowly became more of the focus of my work, and people seemed to enjoy what I was doing.
How would you describe your photography and style to someone?
I’ve been told I have a “look” that’s easy to recognize, but I’m still not sure what that is. I tend to shoot many different genres, and am not a photographer that specializes in one or two areas. I guess my photos tend to make you feel like you are experiencing being there, or feeling the energy. I tend to not do a lot of editing, other than on some of the more artsy stuff, so it’s more of a real-life feel.
What is your process in creating an image that represents your style?
I really am not a heavy editor; I have a few filters I tend to stick with in post-processing, so that probably is why my style is recognizable. I tend to want things to look as realistic as possible.
What is your favorite photography you have taken and why?
Music and concert photography is by far my favorite. I’ve always been a music junkie, and my first big break in photography was becoming the staff photog for Friday Cheers and the Richmond Folk Festival. I absolutely love capturing live performances, where there are no second chances to get that killer shot, to be totally in the moment with just the camera and the performers. The rest of the world just fades away in those instances.
Why is photography important to you?
It’s my only real creative outlet, and my most enjoyable escape from reality. I love capturing that one microsecond in time that people will be able to enjoy for years to come. I love the creative process; it exercises parts of my brain that weren’t really used much during my 35 years as an electrician.
What do you hope to achieve?
I’d like to create amazing images of subjects that most people never get to experience, to create a visual record for the future, to share my own personal experiences for others to enjoy, to travel more and show the beauty of the world.
What is your best memory as a photographer?
There have been more than a few. I got to shoot a major rocket launch at Cape Canaveral; being in the press room and feeling all the history was pretty amazing. Shooting my favorite musicians is always a thrill, and being able to document all of the protests around RVA in 2020 was really intense and I was amazed to be in the middle of such a transformative time in our city.
What photographers influenced you, and who recently do you follow for inspiration?
Honestly, while I do look at other people’s work, I try not to follow other photographers a lot, mainly because I don’t want it to influence me to try and copy their work. Not that mine is groundbreaking or anything, but I feel like it’s better to try to develop your own eye more than anything. There are a lot of local and nationally known photographers that I love, but I look to their work for enjoyment more than inspiration.
Now for a loaded question: what makes for a successful photograph?
That one is simple. It has to make you feel something: an emotion, or a connection, a sense of awe. Photos that don’t stir something inside of you are just documentation.
All Photos by Dave Parrish