Richard Photo Lab

Richard's Photographer Spotlight: Dylan McDermott

With top billings in popular television & movies over the last 20 years and a Golden Globe under his belt, Dylan McDermott is no stranger to the spotlight. But, did you know that he's also a seasoned film photographer with an eye for the mysterious, eccentric, and unique corners of the world? That's why we're featuring him in a different kind of spotlight: Richard Photo Lab's Photog Spotlight!

Dylan is sharing the photographers that have influenced him, the subjects that inspire him, and the super hero he'd love to be, today on the blog.

Richard: What first sparked your passion for photography?

Dylan McDermott: My interest in photography was first piqued by a few black and white shots of my mother. They were just candid photos of her, but there was something captured in those photos that made me want to know her more.

I was always drawn to photography, but it wasn't until I saw my first image by Diane Arbus that I knew I was in the right place. She explained my entire reality with a single shot. I never understood that photography was art until that very moment. She inspired me like no other... I suppose that's why I love the idea of a photo so much. No words, just feeling.

Image by Dylan McDermott

R: What subjects do you focus on with your work?

DM: My subject matter is always a little disturbing. I like the outsider, the disenfranchised. You see, I really started shooting seriously in 1987. I was doing a war film in the Philippines and I took my camera with me. Our set photographer was Don McCullin, a famous photojournalist, who was friends with the director. I loved his stuff! The raw, gritty world he created really inspired me. I took my camera around Manilla one day and found these people who lived in garbage. I just started to photograph them and fell in love. Since that day, I take my camera wherever I go and seem to find the disenchanted everywhere I go.

Image by Dylan McDermott

R: Where do you find inspiration for your photography?

DM: Mostly, I get my inspiration from the streets. I just take my Leica and ask people if I can take their picture. Some easily say yes, others tell me to get lost. It's kind of amusing. Also, I am always inspired by other photographers—I find most of them to be very supportive. Mark Seliger had me on his show Capture with Platon. I was thrilled he had asked and taken me seriously as a photographer.

R: Do you shoot strictly for personal use, or are you involved in gallery shows, publications, etc?

DM: I always shoot for personal reasons. Even though I do photography shows, it always comes from a very personal place and experience. If a person wants to buy a photo of mine, cool. But, that's not why I'm in it. I think I'm just trying to express something I can't say in words.

Image by Dylan McDermott

R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?

DM: Savory.

R: Chocolate or vanilla?

DM: Chocolate.

R: Dogs or cats?

DM: Dogs.

R: Urban or rural?

DM: Urban.

R: Vintage or modern?

DM: Vintage.

R: Warm weather or cold weather?

DM: Warm weather.

R: Biggie or Tupac?

DM: Biggie.

R: Early bird or night owl?

DM: Both.

R: Crossword or Sudoku?

DM: Crossword.

R: Breakfast or dinner?

DM: Dinner.

R: Batman or Superman?

DM: Batman.

R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?

DM: Fantasy.

R: Comedy or Drama?

DM: Comedy.

R: Truth or dare?

DM: Truth.

Image by Dylan McDermott

R: What music do you listen to to get pumped up?

DM: Music always inspires me—some of my Pandora stations are Al Green, Miles Davis, and Led Zeppelin.

R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?

DM: I'd be Environmental Man! I'd spread the message that the planet is rapidly dying from over population, climate change, global warming, loss of biodiversity, pollution, overfishing, deforestation, waste disposal... I would finally wake people up and they would change their ways, so future generations could enjoy and thrive on this beautiful planet.

R: What is your favorite word, and why?

DM: "Faith". Without it I am doomed; it sustains me.