The chances are good that if you’ve seen a photo of Fargo lately, Dan Francis took it. Aside from his business, Dan Francis Photography, and his duties as an instructor in photography and Photoshop at MState, Francis tends to keep his eye and lens on Fargo, grabbing images of community happenings like Alley Fair and TEDxFargo and blending the recent with the historical in his project Fargo: Past and Present. His work is currently on display at Babb’s Coffee House and Wood ‘N’ Shutters, a joint exhibition with his wood turning brother, Bryan, is on view at the Spirit Room through July 10.
What music/movie/artwork really gets you going? Why?
From the age of 12, I went to the movies or rented movies with my childhood friends two to three times a month, and that went on until I was 25. I love all kinds of movies and since I learned how to train my eyes for composition, leading lines, and storytelling, I love them even more. I love Tim Burton movies such as Big Fish, and I’m a big fan of the Rocky and Back to the Future movies, if they are on TV. I tend to really enjoy the movies that really make you think and see differently such as Memento or Inception, or even last year’s Life of Pi.
What artist, musician, etc., inspires you the most? Why?
For music, I’ve been a fan of Sigur Ros for almost ten years. Ever since I heard their song at the end of the movie Vanilla Sky. Their music is usually what I listen to if I’m editing a photo session or just at the studio. For art, I enjoy Edward Hopper and Salvador Dali. The Persistence of Memory was a painting that I enjoyed seeing and it got me interested in art in High School.
What’s something you saw or heard recently that you would recommend to others?
TED talks: The most clicked categories include: Inspiration, funny, and rated jaw-dropping. I watched a few on Netflix, but since I photographed the first TEDxFargo event two years ago I’ve been hooked watching them at TED.com.
What local artist, musician, writer, etc., do you admire, and why?
For musicians, Mark Proulx from the F-M area, he’s a singer that I would go out and listen to. Also, the San Haven Chuckle is a group that I tend to go out with a group of friends and listen too.
Even though I love photography, I got into photography through graphic design, and prior to graphic design I took four years of art classes in high school, so I’ve jumped around in anything from drawing to painting to digital art. It’s always good to find art in different mediums, and I try to find inspiration from all the artists in the F-M area.
Image: Dan Francis in his downtown Fargo studio. Courtesy of Dan Francis.