Emerging: Danny Macdonald

This is our first feature from emerging photographer Danny Macdonald – and hopefully not our last as we love his perspective on the world…


Tell us a bit about yourself; how long have you been shooting and why do you photograph?
I’ve been taking photos since I was about 14. I like the idea of photo-taking as a compulsory action, like I never had a choice of whether I was going to photograph something. I also like the idea of regurgitated light, like the image is a simulacra and I’m just part of a larger system supporting this translation.

I’ve always thought of my approach as studying the mysticism of the everyday…

Looking at the images on your Instagram account, your style strikes me as very documentary – is this how you see yourself? How would you describe your style?
I’ve always thought of my approach as studying the mysticism of the everyday, so I guess in that way I can see myself as a documentary photographer. What comes to mind is the principle of semantic satiation, which is when words you look at lose their meaning and context until they seem unrecognizable. I approach objects and views with a similar concerted gaze, finding elements that can be scrutinized until they lose context and seem to exist exclusively within the photo. My favorite feeling is eeriness, but a really warm eeriness, and I think there are hints of that in most of the work I make.

Who or what are your main sources of inspiration for your photography?
I’m inspired equally by artificial and organic things. I think moments when they intersect are most interesting, probably. Most photographers have a strong preference towards one or the other, but it’s important to acknowledge the influence of artificiality in things at all times.

I’m interested in detachment and moments when people feel most ambivalent about their surroundings…

Are you currently working on any projects that you can tell us about?
Lately I’ve been into going to consumeristic spaces, really bleak spaces, like the refrigerator aisle of a department store. I’m interested in detachment and moments when people feel most ambivalent about their surroundings, because I think pinpointing the dissociation of those moments is really valuable.

What is next for you? Where do you want your photography to take you?
I’m not really sure – I’m looking to move to a bigger city soon. Right now I’m just based outside of Washington DC. I want to photograph people more – it’s something that really intimidates me, which is why I use self-portraits as a fallback sometimes.

See more of Danny’s work at:


All images copyright Danny Macdonald.









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