Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eight year old girl running on a dirt road in Nagongera, Uganda


There are times when you capture something you see and other times when you know what you’d like to see. David Sacks told us how this image came about.

“The truth is that I composed this image in my mind while on my way to Nagongera, Uganda.  I knew that I wanted to photograph a young girl in a white dress running away from the camera.  Once I found the right girl, I asked her if I could photograph her running.  She said yes, and I ran behind her with my camera held low, shooting dozens of frames.  She was only about 7 years old, but was incredible fast…I was out of breath in no time.”



David Sacks

David Sacks

Eighth grade was full of ups and downs for David Sacks. Up because he got his first girlfriend that year. Down because her name was Buffy. Up because she kissed him. Down because it happened to be the day that he got braces on his teeth. Up because she had braces, too. Down because she abruptly dumped him the following month. Up because he received a used 35mm camera for his birthday.

With no girlfriend around to lock braces with, David took pictures. He photographed neighborhood cats, flowers, bugs, relatives, and the family dog. A lot. Any money he made from mowing lawns or shoveling snow went towards one of two things: film or processing.

He went to Lehigh University for architecture in 1986, and was thinking about grad school in Hawaii when a friend with dreads and sandals suggested he take a photography course to fulfill a necessary elective. “Dude,” he said, “you have to take a photo class! It’s awesome! There are no tests or papers to write, you just take pictures, dude! Everything looks like art when it’s in black and white!”

David followed his friend’s brilliant advice, and watched his architecture grades begin to slide as he spent days and nights in the darkroom when he wasn’t out shooting. He just couldn’t help it. Photography was all that he wanted to do with his time. He soon discovered that not every black and white photograph was art.

Thanks to his wise and shoeless photo professor, Doug Mason, David decided that he probably would make a pretty mediocre architect, and decided to pursue a career in photography immediately after graduation in 1990.

Success came quickly with an 8-page assignment in New York Magazine, which lead to more magazine work. In 1984, he made the transition to advertising photography, and has never looked back. Campaigns for companies like Merck, Bank of America, GlaxoSmithKline, Delta Airlines, and Epson just kept coming in.

He has won photography competitions sponsored by Nikon, Photo District News, Communication Arts, Graphis, and others. He continues to shoot all over the world for advertising agencies, design firms, and companies of all sizes.

Now in his 40s, he has shot in 27 countries and uses frequent flier miles to travel with his wife and 3 children and also to shoot for philanthropic organizations. He loves his job, and does not expect that he will ever retire. He also enjoys writing about himself in the third person from time to time, even though it feels a little strange.

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In memory of Kurt Brown

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