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The Work That Made Me: David Black

The Work That Made Me 121 Add to collection

Giant Artists' photographer and director on working with Daft Punk and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and why Nirvana has always stayed with him

The Work That Made Me: David Black

David Black is a Los Angeles–based photographer/director who has shot campaigns for worldwide brands including Netflix, Spotify, Lexus, Google, Apple, and Coca-Cola. He's directed short films for Rodarte and Shinola, as well as a collaboration with the band the Black Lips and Gucci. David is known for his portraits of iconic musicians, from Christina Aguilera to Daft Punk and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, for whom he shot stills and directed promo videos for their first new album in nine years.  

As an artist, David has developed a genre he calls Western Noir, which he has explored in his three monographs: Cerro Gordo, The Days Change at Night, and Candy Mountain, which was published last month. An exhibition of Candy Mountain images opened in Los Angeles in May at One Trick Pony Gallery, and Ofr. Galerie in Paris will be mounting a solo show of the work June 23rd-30th. 


LBB> The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

David> Anything by Nirvana. It was the gateway drug to all the music and culture that influenced me. 


LBB> The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

David> MTV’s 120 Minutes. 


LBB> The creative work that I keep revisiting…

David> Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth.


LBB> My first professional project…

David> My publisher ran a magazine in the early 2000s. My first ‘job’ was to take album shots of a Spiritualized compact disc. My first paying job was a portrait of the French band Air.


LBB> The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

David> Nothing I can think of. I have definitely made lots of embarrassing work over the years, but that’s part of survival. Lessons are learned in even the most horrible experiences, so it’s all part of the process…


LBB> The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

David> Mainstream American music was so terrible in the late ’90s. In the early 2000s, there was suddenly this incredible wave of art and music. So I guess I really admire the generation right above who I ended up working with later: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Daft Punk. The 'Maps' video by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is so perfect, it makes me melt.

Daft Punk 


LBB> The creative project that changed my career…

David> I’m not sure any one thing changes one’s career, but instead an accumulation of projects and events shifts your path. Pivotal to me was working with Cat Power as a kid and the years I worked with Daft Punk.

Cat Power


LBB> The work that I’m proudest of…

David> The three monographs I made over five years: Cerro Gordo, The Days Change at Night, and Candy Mountain.


LBB> The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

David> The most exciting thing to me is when artists I admire reach out. So currently, the most exciting project for me is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new album—I provided photos and video for it. 

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Giant Artists, Thu, 09 Jun 2022 08:37:14 GMT