“I look at everything differently now,” David Saxton of Jamestown Photo – Street Photography said. “I do a lot of walking, and before I just walked…but now I’m always looking for something. I just see a lot more than I used to see.”
It was only about six weeks ago that Saxton’s photos were noticed on the Jamestown, NY (city of Jamestown) page on Facebook and the idea of a photography business came into his head.
“I woke up one morning and looked out my bedroom window, and it was really, really purple outside. It was the night of the first major snow, and you could see everybody
’s lights on in the houses,” Saxton reminisced. “So I put the window up, stuck my camera out there and took the shot. That shot hit the website and I started getting reactions right away…and the thing just blew up.”
Saxton is a Jamestown native whose family dates back to great grandparents in a nearby part of Pennsylvania who had 20 children. “I’m probably related to a lot of people in this part of the country. His childhood memories of the city inspire his artwork. His pictures are often reminiscent of days gone by, when the downtown bustled with people and businesses.
“Another interesting thing about this is that it’s brought a lot of my childhood back…Like when I posted the viaduct shot of the Arcade, somebody mentioned the Arcade Shoe Store,” Saxton said. “Then it dawned on me, that’s where I got my first pair of Allstar Converses.”
He has come a long way from the little 5-year-old boy in the shoe store. As a child, he liked to draw, but Saxton never worked much with the visual arts until about a year ago. He has worked at many jobs around Jamestown, most recently as a DJ for the past 5 years. He bought a camera to photograph some of his setups.
One year, and countless Google searches and Youtube videos later, Saxton has a pretty good idea of how the camera works. And how to edit his photos. But mostly, he and the world have discovered an artist’s eye behind his camera.
“When you look at other photos, mine look different. They’ve just got more ‘pop’ to them.” Saxton credits the ‘pop’ to an editing technique he initially learned from a Youtube video back when he was first learning about photography. He has since mastered many more special techniques for bringing out particular and subtle qualities of light, shadow, form and patterns.
It’s not just the editing process that makes Saxton’s photographs grab attention, though. It’s the subject matter.
“I shoot anything, even what people would consider ugly,” he said. “I have a way of making it acceptable to the eye.”
Among his many subjects are the members of the Jamestown-born band, 10,000 Maniacs.
“I was sitting there, just doing my thing and then the message popped up, ‘Hey, this is Steve from the 10,000 Maniacs,’” Saxton explained. “I didn’t know what to say at first, I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’”
Saxton took some holiday photos for the band, and is scheduled to take more photos in the spring before their new album is released.
The future seems bright with plans to partner with Steven Trapani, Saxton’s fellow DJ and owner of 38 North Main Street where Saxton has his studio set up.
Watch for his website which will include downloadable versions of his images is set to launch under the domain: 38northmain.com. He also plans to put together a wedding package for hiring both a DJ and a photographer.
“I’m just getting started,” Saxton said.
Amidst his busy schedule of photographing bands and setting up a website, Saxton still finds time to take pictures for himself. He is mounting photos of his hometown in the panes of old windows he procured from Trapani’s store.
“I call this ‘Window of Jamestown,’” he said, holding up a partially filled frame. His studio, once filled with antiques in the back of the store, will soon be decorated with Saxton’s images and set up for work. More is yet to come.