David Miller

David H. Miller

Photographer's Statement

My photographic identity emerged while living in Afghanistan. There I was driven to capture the impressions the exotic street scenes made upon me; in the process I became a “street photographer”.

By photographing on the streets of the many countries that my life and work subsequently took me to, I slowly realized that my camera was primarily a means of interacting with the people I met and the camera my notebook to record aspects of my travels. My initial work as a street photographer was very much in the tradition of capturing subjects unawares in their everyday life, attempting to show the beauty and importance of these scenes by isolating elements of daily life. But I found that there was a richer experience and, ironically, better photographs, to be gained by being more visible to and more engaged with the people I wanted to photograph.

My portfolios of photographs such as “The Faces of Russia,” or “Mongolia: Where Kazakhs Hunt with Eagles” are one expression of my style of street photography. In these portfolios I have mostly turned away from the attempt to capture photographs without my subjects being aware of my presence (the tradition of Cartier-Bresson) and engaged with the subjects at a very personal level while attempting to capture them within their normal environment.

For most of these subjects there is a story that I know, tales of their life, their interests, their concerns and problems, and in a few instances this has continued through later correspondence.

By engaging with my subjects in a direct way (I speak Russian well, have lived there for three years and have graduate degrees related to its language and history, and the language was useful in Russia and Mongolia), I have moved away from the tradition of being a “flaneur” in Baudelaire’s sense, to being a more involved participant in the life of my subjects. While I still recognize that I am “in but not of” a situation in the markets and streets of Moscow, for example, in the tradition of the “flaneur”, I delight in conveying to the people I photograph that they are important, interesting and beautiful, ergo worthy of being photographed and preserved through my photographs.

An ancillary effect if not initially a goal of my work is that I preserve a moment in time of a culture through my photography. The people, the environment, the way they dress, even the character of the shops, stalls and stands that they operate changes rapidly in many places, and my photographs preserve this moment.

Whether these are documentary photographs which is how I primarily conceive of my work, or “art” which my selection of elements of daily life helps create, is of less importance to me than the process by which they are made, the interaction, the discussion, the exchange of points of view and experiences, and the human contact which the camera helps make possible.

On another note, I have also done a series of panoramic photographs in the course of travel to the Arctic, Antarctica, and most recently in Mongolia and Cambodia. These landscapes are intended to capture the beauty and grandeur of these locations.

My photographs have been published in Time magazine and The New York Times, and I have exhibited in regional photographic shows at the Phillips Mill juried exhibit, Montgomery Center for the Arts, and with the Princeton Photography Club in a variety of other locations, as well as a series of exhibits at Gallery 14. Other examples of my work may also be seen at www.photosgallery014.com.

Brief Biography
David H. Miller

David H. Miller has long been active as a photographer. During his professional life and travels he has done “street photography” as a notebook of his experiences, working mostly in black and white. His photographs of Afghanistan were among his earliest “street photography”, beginning a series of street portraits that he continues today in a variety of countries. Afghans at the time were not particularly camera shy, and since Mr. Miller could converse with them in Dari, he began to develop a characteristic style of street photography that was and has remained quite “up close and personal”. Using wide-angle lenses Mr. Miller photographed life on the streets and in the bazaars and markets of Kabul and other towns, and in a variety of countries during his travel on business and pleasure.

His career as an international banker in Africa, Russia and other international travel has taken him to many parts of the world where he recorded his experiences with his cameras. He lived in Liberia, the Soviet Union and Russia as well as in Afghanistan, and has traveled widely in Asia and Europe, most recently in Egypt, Mongolia, Burma and Cambodia, now mostly for trout fishing and pleasure.In his photographic work he most often works with M model Leicas, lenses of 25-35mm and black and white film, or with swing lens panoramic cameras such as the Noblex for his landscape work... His current photographic interests include large format panoramic photography in black and white and infrared photographs in both panoramic and medium format sizes. A co-founder of Gallery 14, a cooperative photography gallery in Hopewell, N.J., (www.photogallery14.com), David has exhibited at the Gallery as well as with the Princeton Photography Club at the Montgomery Center for the Arts, the Educational Testing Service, the Nassau Club, and the Mercer Hospital. He has also shown in the Phillips Mill juried photographic exhibition, and has had work published in Time magazine and The New York Times. He lectures about his travels including Afghanistan and mostly recently Mongolia, Kamchatka and Slovenia. In summer of 2007 David presented a workshop at the Photographers’ Formulary workshops, “People and Places: Travel Portraits and Landscapes” (www.photoformulary.com).

He continues his street photography today, using his camera as his notebook to record the scenes of everyday life passing before him. His on-going long-term project is a series of street photographs in Russia where he lived for 3 years, part of which were exhibited in his “Faces of Russia” exhibit primarily based on photographs from 2004. He is currently also working on a series of large scale panoramic landscape photographs from the Antarctica, the Arctic, the Galapagos, Russia, China, and Mongolia.

Membership in Photography Galleries:

SoHo Photogallery, NY
SOHO PHOTO | 15 White Street | New York, NY 10013 | 212.226.8571 | Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 1 – 6 pm

Gallery 14, NJ
14 Mercer Street, Hopewell NJ 08525 | Phone: 609-333-8511

For further information or to purchase copies of these photographs, see the contact information below:

E-mail: Leicadave@gmail.com
Telephone: 646-783-9098