Hi, I’m Dave Moser.
I shoot people and absolutely love the portrait! People are endlessly fascinating and at times erratic-the ultimate puzzle and mirror. Our work is featured in ads, brochures, magazines, annuals, and websites worldwide! After two decades of doing this I am still thrilled to drive by a billboard with my work on it!
I’m located in the Fairmount section of Philly and work out of my home studio. Although based in Philly, we spend most of our time on the road-not to say I wouldn’t love to do more local work!
I live with my beautiful wife Loretta, my exuberant daughter Ruby and lil’ Stevie our dog.
We haven’t had a TV in more than a decade; my family and I don’t like sitting still so we are out and about – hiking, rock climbing, going to live shows, eating at the many ethnic restaurants across the city, and visiting museums. When at home, my wife and I both love to cook, and although we’ve currently been eating more vegan, it’s certainly not exclusive. Additionally I try to meditate every morning.
I’ve got a very eclectic taste in music. I recently held my 17th annual “mix brunch” gathering where I invite a group of people to dine at my house and we trade mix CDs over brunch. It’s always interesting to see what everyone brings and to be introduced to new genres and styles. This year I walked away with 15 new mixes that I am currently enjoying.
I’m honored to have received top awards in the past several years including: Graphis Photography Annual, International Photography Awards, Px3 Prix de Photographie Paris, Communication Arts, ASMP, and more. In the past year, I’ve also had a solo exhibition at Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery, and am now represented in the Fine Art world by Santa Bannon. I am proud to recently have a photograph selected by Karen Marks of Howard Greenberg Gallery for the Center for Fine Art Photography Portrait 2017 exhibition.
Dave is principal of Dave Moser Photography. Contact him at:
And now, the 12 Questions:
1. What kind of kid were you?
I was a big kid and really shy up until 7th grade when I made a conscious decision to change my shyness. By the 9th grade, I stopped caring so much about what others thought and it was so empowering for me. It allowed me to befriend a mix of kids from different groups and in a way eliminated the social barriers that exist within high school. I believe this helped shape my philosophy and ability to connect with individuals later on in photography.
2. What influences have shaped you?
Experiences and travel.
So many artists:
Painters: The German Expressionists, Andrew Wyeth, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly
Photographers: Nadav Kandar, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Eugene Meatyard, Josef Kouldelka, Dan Winters, Marco Grob, and Sandro
Musicians: John Zorn, Mark Ribot, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Krishna Das, Ludovico Einaudi, The Black Angels, Gabor Szabo, Dr. Dre, Ryley Walker, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Laswell and Burning Spear.
3. Ever done anything really dumb?
Yes! How else does one learn?
4. How’d you learn to do what you do?
By doing it – taking thousands upon thousands of pictures – Put your camera on M, go take pictures, and I guarantee you’ll learn a ton.
Growing up, my father and other members of my family were serious amateur photographers- so I always had access to cameras. I distinctly remember being in Maine at a young age and waiting for the perfect wave to hit the shore with camera in hand. Just being present in the moment transported me, it was the first time that I was fully aware of, feeling with all senses without internal dialogue. This place of timelessness, of transcendence, is something that still occurs while I’m shooting.
In high school, I did an internship with a father and son business who were family photographers. They were laughing all the time, taking naps sitting up at lunch, and just all around had a mellow environment. It made me idealize photography a bit. Years later, I realized that it was more a byproduct of the individuals that made the environment rather than the profession itself, a youthful oversight. I wasn’t wired the same way, but my need to stay active and focused actually benefited me and really shaped a dedication to the craft.
There were only three programs that offered degrees in Fine Art for Photography at the time I chose to go to college, and the instructors at the University of Dayton really connected with me. I received my BFA in Fine Art Photography with a minor in Art History there.
After graduating top of my class, I discovered commercial photography through assisting- a whole world opened and I loved it. It entailed problem solving, being active, and gaining access to places and people you normally wouldn’t have access to-different people and places everyday with no predictability-perfect!
5. What are you working on now?
I have been giving talks on a recent personal project, The American Housewife. Last year I picked up representation in the fine art world with the gallery Santa Bannon Fine Art due to this project. We are currently showing in “Power to the Portrait” and have quite a bit of upcoming shows. It’s been exciting to return to my fine art roots and am now embarking on a new personal project that is still being defined – very exciting.
I am getting more commercial work based on my personal and fine art work. I find this immensely rewarding and am excited to be able to apply my vision to such endeavors.
We recently wrapped a dream job, a multi-year commissioned national portrait series called Love Story. Originally slated to be a book, it is now a permanent installation in a prominent local collection.
On the commercial side, we just photographed Megyn Kelly for our sixth cover of Success magazine, completed a large spread for NJ Monthly on Veterans, and a national consumer campaign for a drug company. For the national consumer campaign, I shot the stills and directed the video/motion. I am starting to work more and more in motion and it’s a very different animal. I’m diggin’ it.
6. Walk us through a typical day at work.
There is none! My days are not predictable and are dictated from an ever-changing list of priorities. If I have a shoot, I might be on location shooting all day. If I’m in the studio, I could be shooting as well or I’m behind the scenes doing the millions of things that need to get done from emails, phone calls, marketing, research, planning, etc. No day is the same, but I love what I do and I love that it’s different everyday. I am fortunate to have an understanding family- when they come home in the afternoon they may find a note saying, “Be back in 3 days, in LA.”
7. Who do you love?
First and foremost, I love my family. I also love people, but this sounds trite without explanation. As I am photographing someone, particularly a portrait, I work hard to connect with the subject. As I learn about the subject and see them loosen up, reveal themselves without self consciousness, I begin to feel love. I know this sounds odd but it’s about connection and understanding. The more you feel you understand someone, not necessarily agree with them but understand them, the closer you feel. Often, as the shooting continues, people appear “younger” to me. It’s nothing short of intoxicating.
8. What are you passionate about?
Being fully present. Seizing the day. Raising my daughter.
I am passionate about exploring and learning about female culture, and the self-image influenced by media and society. Exploring the culture of “housewife” is simply a springboard into the Female American Culture, where my daughter and wife are so heavily influenced. After seeing the documentary Ms. Representation, I too realized how much of the Kool-Aid I had drank.
All my work, even my commercial work, revolves around my desire to show and connect the audience with the dignity of the subject while creating understanding.
Travel – food – music – people – culture – nature – history – mythology – art – I’m generally just excited.
9. What are you proudest of?
My daughter Ruby – it’s fascinating and inspiring to watch her grow and cultivate her passions and interests. Our differences in passions have taken me to places I’ve never gone and her world has opened up an entirely new perspective that’s even trickled into my photography. It’s created a new way to relate to people – I can talk about unicycles, horseback riding, mythology, and even Justin Bieber. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in tea parties with American Girl dolls as well as learning about knitting, primitive weaponry and Apophis – the Egyptian God of Chaos.
10. Describe a great night out.
Taking a long walk to one of the many great restaurants in the city, ordering something I haven’t had before, seeing a show and then letting the night unfold before ending up somewhere and doing something that was not planned – a night full of surprises. Recently my wife and I closed an after hours club dancing, something we had not done in years, and I loved it.
11. So what’s next for you?
I’ve been itching to start a new personal series and when a week opened up a few months ago, I shot three subjects for it and am up to five now. There does not seem to be a unifying theme so far, but there is definitely a thread. I’m planning on including writing with this series, possibly from the subject point of view. Some of this work ended up on the walls of a gallery only weeks after being completed. It feels so fresh and new. It’s invigorating.
Trying to balance personal work with a busy commercial schedule can be challenging but never fails to create momentum.
12. What will your epitaph say?
My will states cremation so no gravestone here but in a broader sense: a seeker, artist, friend, father, and lover.