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In Conversation: DB Captures

Ahead of the release of Daniel Oluwatobi's new editorial The Floor Mag sat down with the photographer/videographer and founder of music social club ThisChord  to reflect on his journey so far, creating music themed safe spaces and taking risks in your creative practice.  If you take a single thing away from this conversation it’s that Daniel is a lover of music. He doesn’t just consume in the same way others load up Spotify and hit shuffle, for him it’s an intentional act everytime. It's a journey he's poured into his new editorial 'Comfortably Numb'. For Daniel Oluwatobi, music photography wasn’t something he set out to do intentionally, it was a scene he fell into through helping his church as a camera operator and then later on his brother with weddings as a videographer and editor.  His ‘big break’ came after he’d called it quits in the videography scene but was asked to do one more job for a friend, “it was around the time I started to use social media a little bit more. His wedding entrance was Giggs’ ‘Whippin Excursion’. I basically chopped it up and I'm posting it on social media, that was the first time I'd ever gone viral before. Giggs loved it and reposted it too. Basically, after that, I ended up getting booked for about a year straight, like I was doing 20 to 25 weddings back to back just because of that.”  It was a steep learning curve for Daniel, who was still working his 9 to 5 while having to edit and deliver to clients, but yet another change occurred when Daniel was working a wedding alongside a friend, who was a photographer, and was asked to take a few shots. They ended up being pretty good, which came as a surprise to Daniel who’d, “never done photography, I've never even thought about it.”  He then took a massive creative risk - he embraced photography, abandoned videography and worked free for a year in the field. “This is when I'm starting to realise that..I’m taking really great photos and I was enjoying it, like it wasn't frustrating for me.”  He then was approached by a friend, Alex, (who in a very full circle moment is photographed in Daniel’s new editorial series) she needed a photographer for Ella Mai’s headline show; she championed Daniel.  “And so I've never ever in my life done a show before, like an actual concert….”  And as they say, from there the rest is history.  Daniel continued to book music gigs, from headline shows to festivals abroad. He’s become known on the circuit; a familiar face in the black UK photography scene. But editorially he’s shifted and his latest body of work, ‘Comfortably Numb’ he hopes will be the first in a series of works which showcase his art in a different perspective.  “I wanted to tell a story with emotion, you know? It’s a take on apathy…Kind of being in the storm, but still being able to, I guess, be aware that you're in the storm, but function in it and not show almost sadness or happiness, just showing a sense of being present.”  Daniel’s latest editorial is vulnerable, it features his friend Alex and musician Kwoli Black , who I interviewed in March of this year. There’s a sense of profound peace to be found in the imagery, a sense of stillness which combats the movement often found in his music photography.  It’s Daniel’s hope that this new editorial style will become just as signatured as his other bodies of work, “I know that I'm a storyteller and I think the gift that I've been given is through photography”.  Daniel wants to open up the lines of communication surrounding his work and the creative field through his photography, but has also been doing this via his music community platform, ThisChord.  It’s music that helps Daniel “paint a picture” and it’s the act of taking the time to digest and process new music that ThisChord is fighting for.  “I've always loved the idea of a book club, but I've never attended one... I think it's because I've spent so much time sitting in front of a computer, but I'm always reading stuff, or always watching documentaries… It might actually be connected to my religious upbringing, because I was in Bible study quite a lot, and  the space would always be for the most part very friendly. You could talk about things… As time has gone on, I speak about music quite a lot on Twitter, I’m very vocal, and I have opinions about music.”  ThisChord was created to house music in a safe space and to give fans a chance to revisit albums from yesteryear. Daniel’s staunch in his belief that  this is a physical group we’re lacking in the UK and that the in-person communal nature of these events are something he hope to continue to grow and host.  “It has probably been one of the most important things I've done in my entire career.” he says on the act of being able to bring people together for intimate evenings to discuss music no matter their attachment to the album.  “I want ThisChord to bridge the gap between artists and their fans.”

Daniel Oluwatobi aka DB Captures unpacks his photography journey and music social club ThisChord with The Floor Mag.

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