The Photography of Dave Dobbyn


Dave Dobbyn has long been associated with rock music but the singer-songwriter has revealed another string to his bow: photography.

Dobbyn has been a happy snapper for years, but his interest in the medium was heightened when lens legend Kerry Brown--who was working the lights on a DD Smash tour way back in 1982-- gave him a book of actor Dennis Hopper's photography.

Dave recalls "Kerry said: go forth and shoot. That's when I got passionate about photography. The language of light is the same as that of sound. It's about textures and layers."

Dobbyn and Brown's photos were featured in a retrospective exhibition called Lost and Found in Auckland's Gow Langsford Gallery over Christmas 1996. Also featured were works by Greg Semu and Darryl Ward. Semu and Ward both work in the filmmaking industry and have, along with Brown, created videos for Dobbyn's songs Language and Don't Hold Your Breath.

To complete the tie-in, the gallery owner, Gary Langsford was actually a member of DD Smash during the early 1980's.

Dave comments on the whole idea behind displaying his photography to the public; "It's totally frivilous for me this whole thing, so I don't put any currency on it." That statement, along with his remark (spoken in a mock art-critic voice), "You can't put a value on art can you?", is rather ironic considering the hefty $450 to $600 price tags slapped to each of his pictures.

But, perhaps thankfully, when asked if he took the whole thing seriously, he exclaimed, "No, not at all. Some people take my photographs seriously, and some people take my songs seriously, so what the hell- you know... at least it's out there."

Dave says he tends to stumble across images, never actually going out and looking for them, they just turn up. He cannot pinpoint just what it is he likes taking photographs of. He'd love to take photographs of his family, but by his own admission, they won't sit still for a minute. His favourite medium is black and white because, "It's a graphic thing. You can leave a lot to the audience- the audience can fill in the colour. It's a bit like a three piece band (laughs)..."

As well as on the occasional gallery wall, some of Dobbyn's photographs can be seen gracing the liner booklet of his 1993 Album "Lament for the Numb". Some great candid snaps he took of the Finn brothers performing at the Union Chapel in London were published in the New Zealand Listener in December 1995.

(Author: Jon-Paul Hansen . Sources of information for this web-article include the NZ Sunday Star-Times, TV3 Nightline & the NZ Listener.)

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