Photographer Profile: Dara Oke
Updated: Apr 2
CA: What made you get into photography? DO: I got into photography when I was pretty young, around the age of 13. I was pretty good with Photoshop and started out taking photos of my friends and then editing them. I got my first DSLR about a year later and things just went from there. Photography and design have become mediums through which I can express myself and my creativity. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting the perfect shot.
CA: How does photography make you see the world differently? DO: I think I see people and situations differently if anything. Photography has allowed me to see even the smallest, and seemingly insignificant elements that make our world beautiful.
CA: What is the perfect picture to you? DO: I think there are so many variations of the perfect picture. A perfect picture to me usually occurs when photography elements like lighting and framing reinforce the human expression. A perfect picture makes you feel.
CA: What helps you get in the mindset to shoot something? DO: It depends on the shoot, but I can usually draw inspiration from many different things, especially music.
CA: How long have you been doing photography? DO: Around 7 years
CA: Do you have a favorite moment with working with your camera? DO: I was doing a shoot with a gentleman and we were downtown in a crowded area. We were taking pictures and it led to conversation with people around us wanting to talk. It led to a conversation on creativity and life. Although that is not directly related to photography, I think photography has helped me connect with people in ways that I might not have been able to without.
CA: Nikon or Canon? DO: I use Canon. To me, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, people can do dope things with an iPhone.
CA: What are your interest outside of photography? DO: I’m a programmer, designer, and lifestyle blogger!
CA: Internships at Intel, Twitter, and Microsoft. What did you learn from this major corporations and did they make you grow as a person? DO: When I was in Intel, I was really young. I just finished freshman year in college and I didn’t know much about my major yet. I am so glad they gave me the opportunity. I just finished freshman year in college and even though I didn’t know much, I gained so much from the opportunity. Intel helped me learn what to expect from the corporate environment. It truly helped build character. Microsoft and Twitter helped me grow in my craft, I was able to work on high-impact products and features that affect millions of people. Both companies challenged me to the core and helped me to be more confident in my skills.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for? DO: I’m not sure on this one, because my work and style is ever changing and evolving. I guess only time will tell what my work is remembered for.
CA: What got you into graphic design and programming? DO: It all started with Neopets actually, which I feel it got a lot of people into graphic design/programming. Recently I was at a dinner with five programmers and they surprisingly said Neopets was how they got started as well. For me, shops and guilds was my focal point. I started running my own guilds and making the layouts using Photoshop. I have to say, my first few layouts were ridiculously tacky but they eventually got better. People used to have these graphic design resource sites where you could get photoshop brushes and guild templates. So I started one, creating resources that others could download and use. In a nutshell, that is the surprising story of how I got into design and programming. Once that Neopets phase was over, I started doing freelance design for small business and organizations, and the rest is history.
CA: What is the best advice you can give someone with a strong desire to do photography/graphic design/programming? DO: As cliche as it is, practice really does make perfect. The more you shoot, the better you’ll be. The more you code, the better you’ll be. And so on. I think people are always waiting for the right time, or formal education, or whatever their excuses might be. Just start, dedicate hours to your craft, and see where it takes you.