For the last profile in our music photography series, we spoke to Nesrin Danan—also known as @blackprints—about how her big break, her hidden talents (spoiler: training llamas), and who she looks to for inspiration. Read our full Q&A and see some of our favorite shots from Nesrin’s portfolio below.
Name: Nesrin Danan.
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon.
Last show you shot: Panic! At The Disco.
Go-to gear: The ONA Camps Bay bag, obviously! Canon 5D Mark IV, Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, Polaroid external flash, SanDisk Extreme 64GB memory cards, my dad’s super 90’s Kodak film camera, and Portra 400.
Nesrin Danan carries The Camps Bay backpack in black nylon
Describe your aesthetic in five or less words: Colorful. Like you were there.
“I first picked up a camera…” I got into photography in high school, taking film photo classes and working on my school’s yearbook. It made me love taking photos of everything. My film teacher and yearbook teacher were both so amazing and really let me be super creative and do whatever I wanted! They always encouraged me and taught me everything, from how to develop my own negatives and prints to how to be a Photoshop pro.
How (and why) did you start shooting music? I randomly took my camera to a free Macklemore show at the college in my hometown and somehow got away with that (it was before The Heist). Later I posted the photos to my Tumblr and got so much good feedback! From there, a rapper named D-Why invited me to shoot some of his shows and he ended up introducing me to Mod Sun, G-Eazy, and Hoodie Allen, who all ended up pushing my career to what it is today.
Biggest creative influences: I’m so inspired by all of my photographer friends, whether they shoot music or not. I think it’s so cool to see how other people view the world and I think it’s awesome that I have a whole network of creative people in my life. I really love the work of Brandon Woelfel, Greg Noire, Peter Don, Grady Brannan, and Daniel Prakopcyk. I’m also obsessed with the more moody/artsy portrait style Alessio Albi does!
Thing you can’t live without on the road: Okay this isn’t a photo thing but the first thing that came to mind is Emergen-C! Literally a life saver.
Your favorite photo you’ve taken this year, and the story behind it: It’s not a music photo, but I took this one of my friend Selena standing under a willow tree at sunset. I just like the lighting and her face and everything about it makes it literally the most perfect picture I’ve ever taken.
One piece of advice that stuck with you: “Talk less, listen more”.
Advice you would give to someone looking to get into music photography: I’m not gonna lie and say anyone can do it. But if you’re willing to put in the work, things will happen for you! Networking is a big part of it, but being REALLY good at what you do is the real key.
One thing most people wouldn’t expect about you? In my pre-Blackprints life I trained llamas. I also have a degree in Sociology with a minor in Advertising.
Mistake you’ve learned from: Taking jobs for less than my rate with people who don’t appreciate me. Know your worth and don’t allow yourself to get into situations where you’re unhappy all around.
Biggest challenge: Being taken seriously as a woman in the music industry.
Work you are most proud of: I love all my artist portrait work. I feel like my best photos come out when I’m able to fuse my shooting style with the subject’s personality.
Dream project: Shooting for Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, or Camila Cabello. Any female artists who are absolutely killing it and all about girl power.
Favorite album: My favorite album of all time is From Under The Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy. But more currently it’s either Voicenotes by Charlie Puth or Palo Santo by Years & Years. When I’m on flights I like to listen to albums all the way through and these are two I have on repeat.
Instruments you play: I used to play violin but I’m pretty sure that’s all gone.
Hidden talent: Interior design!
Your first concert: It was Usher with Ne-yo AND The Cataracs opening, so iconic.
Bucket list artist to see: Honestly I’ve kinda seen everyone.. Childish Gambino would be sick though!