Natively New Orleans, Donovan Fannon grew up a troubled youth. After a forceful exit ending his high school freshman year, he was accepted into the visual art program at the (then Uptown) New Orleans Center for Creative Art. More likely than not, this shift “saved” his sanity and life, a statement (it seems) sha… Read More
Natively New Orleans, Donovan Fannon grew up a troubled youth. After a forceful exit ending his high school freshman year, he was accepted into the visual art program at the (then Uptown) New Orleans Center for Creative Art. More likely than not, this shift “saved” his sanity and life, a statement (it seems) shared by many of his classmates. It was here where he learned myriad visual disciplines, but most importantly, he was introduced to two things that would be his spiritual anchors up to the present day: Cameras and Photoshop.
His early anonymous work, in the form of flier design, would be passed around to kids in the street, pinned on bulletin boards, left in stacks at the doors to cafes and bars. Eventually, he would DJ at the same events he would design fliers for, and shifted focus on music (and less on design). An awkward youth, Donovan’s social anxieties were lessened whenever he felt a “role” to play at these events, so he decided that whenever he wasn’t performing at raves, he would have a camera and photograph them. This need to be productive (plus the purchase of a fisheye lens) would eventually lead to his current style of dynamic music performance photography, locally celebrated in the circles in which he covers.
Donovan’s work has been used in music industry publications through North America, focusing especially on the Gulf Coast, published in various magazines, newspapers, and websites, including Tiger Weekly, Rebel Ink Magazine, Antigravity, XLR8R, Time Out Chicago, SubSynthesis, and others.
A member of numerous professional photography organizations, he is also an organizer for the New Orleans Photography Experience, which helps nurture a thriving local social community of photographers, professional and amateur alike, in order to grow as artists and explore our vibrant city.
Prints of many of his works are available through his website donovanfannon.com. Read Less
Growing up in New Orleans in the mid 1990s, I discovered techno music while studying visual art at the New Orleans Center for Creative Art. The “rave” scene found me slipping out past curfew and deeply embedded among DJs playing rigid jackhammer beats, my eyes following rapidly twirling lights of shifting color … Read More
Growing up in New Orleans in the mid 1990s, I discovered techno music while studying visual art at the New Orleans Center for Creative Art. The “rave” scene found me slipping out past curfew and deeply embedded among DJs playing rigid jackhammer beats, my eyes following rapidly twirling lights of shifting color cutting through dark warehouses and smoky backrooms. On top of becoming a DJ (and still am to this day), my aesthetic sensibilities were massively influenced by this culture of early electronic excess. Futuristic typefaces and crude computer graphics were the visual standard, my world was communicated via rave mixtapes and 1/4 page fliers on cardstock.
While trained in many visual disciplines, the just-a-tad-too-early time period of my schooling unfortunately excluded me from the skills I would have to eventually teach myself. While working graveyard shifts at Kinko’s, Photoshop became my X-Acto knife, scanned photos became fuel for digital montage. I feverishly and secretly learned the digital tricks of the trade while I feverishly and secretly printed thousands of fliers on Kinko’s dime.
As years have passed, I have gradually shifted away from the design aspect of my musical exploits, and focused heavily on capturing the raw power on display at the events I DJ at (or cover strictly as a photographer). That said, digital art still resonates and informs my current work of photography. While non-scientifically measured, I’d safely wager that 95% of my photos are shot using a 10.5mm “fisheye” lens. The distortion, I find, not only isn’t a hindrance, but vastly informs the viewer of the moments in which I capture. More often than not, I the moment that the subject is experiencing is vitally linked to his/her environment, and being able to capture more of that (thanks to the ultra wide angle lens) is supremely edifying. The digital art influence comes into play via my editing workflow, which stems from years of working as a photo editor. I tend to oversaturate my images, and overcompensate the tonal range past what my camera can technically provide. Although this deviates from reality, viewers tend to find that the effect feels “real” but far more energizing than the untampered image.
In my commercial life, I shoot a range of subject matter, but my true love and focus, in its barest essence, is capturing glimpses of less-than-ordinary lives. Music is a link I revisit most often, but it’s really a take on hedonism that reliably oozes with this intangible quality, be it the drifter/street performer, or the adolescent experiencing that first taste of stolen freedom surrounded by dance beats. The experience of living through the times and lives of my subjects gives me a further understanding of why we need these experiences in order to feel whole. Read Less