Social media has its ups and downs. On the one hand, it’s basically destroyed society and turned numerous people who are otherwise relatively normal into either hate-filled asshole cyber-stalkers or brainless posters of endless kitten memes whose sole reason for existence is the ability to count the total “likes” they accumulate each day.
On the other hand, it allows you to connect with artists from all over the world at total random. This could be good or bad of course, depending on whether one of you falls into either of the above categories…
I first saw Dan Genuario’s photos on a Facebook group (Abandoned and Neglected Vehicles), and soon found myself digging through his portfolios. From the beginning I had assumed that he was a professional photographer: his compositions are near perfect and he has an astonishing talent for capturing natural lighting in what appear to be far from ideal circumstances. I was surprised to discover that he’s a business major and considers photography as a hobby.
Speaking personally as a “starving artist”, I suppose that would make him a realist.
If his business career is as well suited to him as his hobbies are, I see an article in Forbes in his future…
So tell us a bit about yourself…
I am currently a student at Temple University. I am a business major, not photography which everyone assumes. Some things that I am interested in are cars, music, art, movies…the usual. Just trying to finish up college, taking way too long now…and move on with my life.
What originally spurred your interest in photography?
I have always been interested in photography but within the last year I got a DSLR camera and taught myself how to use it. I had no prior experience to using a camera. Before that all I took all my pictures with a cell phone. Ever since I started using a camera I haven’t been able to put it down and it has become this obsessive hobby I now have.
Your work is heavily inspired by abandoned machinery and environments. Is that primarily metaphorical, are you driven by the excitement of “urban exploration” and/or are other factors at work there?
Urban exploration (Urbex) photography is my favorite. I love going into places where so few have been in and see how these forgotten places look after being abandoned so long. I always try to find the beauty in decay. Its also just a sheer thrill of going out exploring. I really enjoy all aspects of it from researching new places to going out and doing it. There are huge risks involved with urban exploring but despite the risks its something I love doing.
Philadelphia seems ideally suited for post-urban landscapes.
Philadelphia was a great industrial power back in its day. Massive amounts of production were done here in huge factories. Now a majority of these factories are derelict but still to this day remind us of their glorious history. Philadelphia itself is so rich in history. I love my city!
Tell us about your equipment choices.
I shoot with a Nikon D5100. I have 3 lens for it an 18-55mm, 55-300mm, and a 50mm. I am looking on getting a wide angle lens because its best suited for the type of photography I do. There’s a couple other things I would like to get too but it is an expensive hobby.
What program(s) do you prefer for editing/postwork?
Well since I do not have Photoshop I use a program called Photomatix on my computer and snapseed on my tablet for final adjustments and fine tuning.
Tell us about the train yard.
A buddy of mine took a friend and I to the train yard. We got there right at dusk which was the perfect lighting, giving the pictures I took a certain eeriness about them. There were old locomotives, passenger train cars, a dining car, and some box cars. We spent about an hour and a half there, we left just after it got dark.
The shot with the bus looks like it was pretty difficult to setup…
It was difficult, for one the 1948 clipper bus is in the basement of an abandoned factory so it is pitch black down there. I assume it has been sitting down there since the 1970s. Lighting was a must in order to set up your shot, for it to be in focus. The inside of the bus is completely gutted, the only seat in there is the driver seat. Scrappers cut off sheets of metal from the roof of the bus. Safety is also an issue when spinning steel wool, the last thing you want to do is start a fire. Even though we were in a concrete building and an all metal bus we were still prepared with fire extinguishers. This shoot took about 2 hours when all said and done but I am really happy with how the pictures turned out.
Looking through your portfolio, I’m really impressed by both the compositional strength of the images and the intense textures. What are you focusing on most, mentally, when you frame the shot?
I am focusing on what I want to draw you in to the picture, and how your eye travels looking at it. Giving it some sort of perception or depth to it. Abandoned places and rusty things are the best for the use of textures, whether it is peeling paint or just a build up of grime and dirt- it always makes for great textures.
You seem to rely heavily on natural light, I know how tricky that can be. Do you put a lot of planning into your imagery, or do you pretty much just let the light determine the shot?
In my opinion natural lighting is the best, I feel like it gives off a lot more emotion than using a flash or artificial light. It gives the picture a whole different feel to it. Most places I explore are usually pretty dark so in some cases the light does determine the shot.
So where do you plan to go from here?
I plan on learning as much as I can about all different aspects of photography. I would like to go as far as I can with it, photography really is a passion of mine. My dream job would be getting paid to travel and take pictures. I plan on doing more art shows and opening an online store on etsy.com to sell my prints.