Facebook Pixel Canon Explorers of Light – Q&A with Photographer Bruce Dorn

Canon Explorers of Light – Q&A with Photographer Bruce Dorn

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Featured Image

In this Canon Explorers of Light Q&A series, we interview several professional photographers who are a part of Canon’s Explorers of Light program.

The Explorers of Light Program, running since 1995, boasts some incredibly talented photographers. These photographers have spent years honing their craft, and influence and educate other photographers of all levels – something, we at dPS, can respect and relate to.

In this piece, we interview fashion, editorial and all-round photographer, Bruce Dorn.

Photographer Bruce Dorn

Bruce Dorn has been a professional photographer/cinematographer for 45 years and a member of the Directors Guild of America for 35 years.

Bruce is a Canon Explorer Light, an ARRI Ambassador, a SanDisk Extreme Pro, Western Digital Creative Master, Westcott Top Pro, Light & Motion Ambassador, Tiffen Steadicam Pro, Corel Painter Master, and a Member of the Adobe Dream Team. Bruce seems nice but Chuck Norris trembles at the mere sound of his name.

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Portrait of Bruce Dorn with an eagle sitting on his canon lenses.

How did you get into photography?

In July of 1969, just after I turned 18, my brother-in-law loaned me a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm Takumar lens. I had just seen “Easy Rider” and was inspired to take my own road trip through the American Southwest.

I shot a ton of Kodachrome, had a crazy good time, and returned home to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communications with a minor in photography.

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Fashion Image

While in my last year in college, I entered and won a creativity competition staged by Conde Nast, the publishers of Vogue Magazine and several other fashion titles.

After graduation, I joined Mademoiselle Magazine as a guest editor, and I began art directing and shooting fashion spreads in NYC, Reykjavik, Paris, and Rome.

Within weeks of receiving my diploma, I signed the lease on a 4,000 sq ft penthouse loft on 5th Avenue in Manhattan and got to work. I’ve stayed busy ever since. A bit of a dream career, really.

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Photographs of Woman beside an aircraft in afternoon light

What was your first camera setup?

The first camera setup I bought was an inexpensive 35mm Mamiya-Sekor DTL 500 with a 50mm lens. The second piece of kit I acquired was a 500W, 3200K incandescent floodlight. The camera is long lost in the mists of time, but I still have that light. It’s a novelty keepsake at this point, but it serves as a reminder that creative lighting has always defined my shooting style – and kept me gainfully employed.

What camera gear do you use now and why?

I’ve shot everything from 35mm to 8”x10” film cameras for stills and 16mm to 70mm VistaVision cinema cameras, but now I’m 100% digital.

Canon is my platform of choice for both stills and cine, and I always use the latest versions. Currently, I’m really high on the Canon EOS 1Dx MKIII and excited about the upcoming mirrorless EOS R5.

Canon cameras always deliver amazing color, and Canon Professional Services are unequaled. And the lenses? I have a very large collection, from extreme wide-angle to super-telephoto.

The photography gear that Bruce Dorn has in the back of his car. Who wouldn't want that?
Yes, who wouldn’t love this to be the back of their car?

People frequently ask me how much such a huge assortment of gear costs, and I always point out that it isn’t about how much gear costs me – it’s about how much it earns for me.

Just like a championship-winning race car mechanic, full-service professional photographers must eventually possess a very large toolbox. It pays for itself.

What area of photography do you specialize in, and why did you move into that field?

I get bored very easily, so over the years, I’ve worked to become a specialist in a lot of different categories.

I shoot editorial, fashion, beauty, automotive, nature, adventure, travel, extreme sports, underwater, environmental portraiture, aerial, and advertising – in both stills and cinema.

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – An example of his fashion photography
Bruce Dorn's fashion shoot with models in the desert

Are you working on any exciting projects you’d like to share?

Always! Unfortunately, the bulk of my commercial work is under a non-disclosure agreement, so I can’t be specific. Follow my Instagram feed, and you’ll see lots of cool stuff posted there – once I’m out from under the NDAs and able to freely share. My Instagram handle is: @dorn.bruce

Between professional gigs, I try to do as much mentoring as I can. I’m currently working with a fourteen-year-old Hopi Indian girl who simply loves landscape photography. We get together for shooting adventures around Arizona whenever our schedules allow!

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Young woman on a motorcycle

If you could share any photography tips with our readers, what would they be?

Great photography is all about where you stand, both literally and philosophically. Work on discovering and polishing your own unique point-of-view.

With so much information instantly available online, it’s super-easy to mimic the work of others but don’t – that’s ultimately a dead-end journey. Focus, instead, on shooting a lot, and eventually, your own unique path will be revealed. Own it.

Oh, and light that faint little path…learning to illuminate your world with great lighting is the smartest thing you will ever do. Invest in quality lighting instruments and learn how to use them. I suggest looking at color-correct and dimmable LED units for the greatest versatility. Shine bright!

Bruce Dorn photography – a shot of the studio set up for his marionette shoot.
Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Marionette shoot

Bruce Dorn Biography

Bruce Dorn has been a professional photographer/cinematographer for 45 years and a member of the Directors Guild of America for 35 years.

Bruce is a Canon Explorer Light, an ARRI Ambassador, a SanDisk Extreme Pro, Western Digital Creative Master, Westcott Top Pro, Light & Motion Ambassador, Tiffen Steadicam Pro, Corel Painter Master, and a Member of the Adobe Dream Team. Bruce seems nice but Chuck Norris trembles at the mere sound of his name.

See more of photographer, Bruce Dorn’s work here:

Instagram: @dorn.bruce
Facebook: bruce.dorn
Website: www.brucedorn.com

Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Portraits
Bruce Dorn photograph of 3 Zebras in Black and White
Canon Explorers of Light Series Q&A with photographer Bruce Dorn – Image of a woman on the edge of a red plane wing
Bruce Dorn Photography, shows a woman against a purple background with red lights
Bruce Dorn photography, shows cars driving across a sandy desert from a high perspective.

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Caz Nowaczyk
Caz Nowaczyk

– the dPS Managing Editor, lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management, and Editorial Design. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer – the other stuff came as a surprise!