Home #Hwoodtimes David Drebin—21st Century Artist/Photographer

David Drebin—21st Century Artist/Photographer

Story by Jimmy Steinfeldt

Palm Desert, California (The Hollywood Times) 08/16/2023

The Hollywood Times had the opportunity to speak with Artist/Photographer David Drebin.


Jimmy Steinfeldt (JS): How often do you clean your lens?

David Drebin (DD): Almost never. However, my contact lenses are my real lenses and I’m often putting drops in my eyes. My camera is my imagination.

JS: What photographers influenced you?

DD: It’s kind of cliché but I’ve always loved Guy Bourdin. He’s my number one biggest inspiration. He didn’t do any retouching of his work. He was a master at making the images in the camera. That’s how I started and I wish it was like that still. That takes real talent but you have to embrace change. Another great photographer I admire is David Seidner. He was a brilliant fashion and beauty photographer.

JS: Did you ever meet photographer Richard Avedon?

DD: I went to his show at the Met in 1994. Everyone was lining up to take his picture. When I got to the front of the line I said “Everyone is taking your picture I want you to take my picture.” Richard Avedon took my picture with my camera at the Met in 1994!

JS: Who else influenced your photography besides photographers?

DD: Great question. My mother. She has a way of putting people at ease and builds trust. She is a huge, huge, huge inspiration for me. It’s engrained in my subconscious. The way she interacts with other people. The ability to create trust with the people I’m photographing.

JS: What was your first camera?

DD: My first camera was a Pentax K1000.

JS: What camera are you shooting with these days?

DD: I only use Leica. An M11 as a Rangefinder camera. It requires me to think differently than when I use my Leica S2. The M11 has much more leeway for focus. The S2 is more for precision focus. I bought the M11 over a year ago and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it. I want to go around the world with it shooting landscapes. This however will probably have to wait because I’m concentrating on my next book project. But I continue to look at that camera and dream of the time I will create new images.

JS: I’m a Leica ambassador and I have the Leica D Lux-6. It takes great photos and amazing video for a compact camera. David you have published incredible books. Tell me about the process of publishing your books.

DD: Someone told me years ago the four stages of an artist are: Creativity, Packaging, Distribution, and PR. I realized I needed to find the right publisher who could publish all my books so I could give my books to the people who collect my art all over the world. A lot of artists think about books that they can sell. I never thought about selling my books. My books are the ultimate calling card. My current book is called “Flirting With Danger.” I’ve made nine books with teNeues publishing in Germany. They sell copies of the books and I give copies to my collectors.

JS: How did Parsons School of Design draw out the artist in you?

DD: Parsons was a school I was very excited to go to in my early twenties. It showed me the possibility to come to New York. It gave me a landing place for my first couple years. It was a safe place where I found mentors and the facilities where I could do a deep dive into what I wanted to say. Those two years were spectacular. Then I started out as a commercial photographer who turned my career around to become an artist creating a product that is featured in galleries worldwide.

JS: Is there anyone you would like to photograph that you haven’t?

DD: Diana Ross! I saw her in concert at Radio City Music Hall. I listen to her music when I go to the gym, when I get up in the morning. I love everything about her. She’d be the number one, two and three person I would ever want to photograph.

JS: What advice would you give a young person who wanted to pursue photography as a career?

DD: Build yourself as a brand not a photographer. Also I would tell every photographer and every artist to read three books. First, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Second, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Third, The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin. These books are game changers.

JS: What’s next for David Drebin?

DD: I’m going on tour for my current book “Flirting With Danger.” I’m having events all over the world with galleries I’ve been working with for many years including Art Angels in Beverly Hills on September 14. They have embraced all of my art forms. It will be mainly my Diamond Dust Collection and I’ll be giving my book to collectors who have collected my work for the last twenty years.

JS: Is there a charity you support and feel strongly about?

DD: I’m in the charity of assisting wasted talent. Anybody I meet that has a talent I try to inspire them not to waste their talent. I do this all day every single day and all over the world.

JS: Where is the best place for our readers to learn more about you and your work?

DD: My website https://daviddrebin.com/  and Instagram @daviddrebin. Everything is there including what I call Drebinology. It’s the Madness behind the Magic. And the Magic behind the Madness.

Photos courtesy of David Drebin