This week we're highlighting the work of Darren Playle (@darrenplayle). His macro work is crisp and clean and truly a delightful viewing experience. We had a fantastic time interviewing him for this article and learned a great deal about him personally and professionally as well as discovering more about his Mextures use. Keep reading to learn along with us!
My name is Darren and I’m originally from Hertfordshire in the UK. Having moved from place to place over the years, I’m now settled in Norfolk with my wife and two daughters.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
I’d say I was a fairly quiet kid at school but was always happy. I was at school during the 80’s, when computers (albeit very early ones!) were becoming common place in schools and home, so I kinda got into that.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
From a young age, I always wanted to do something creative. So after leaving school, I became a graphic designer. I did this for almost twenty years before taking a few different career paths. I no longer design but still love any form of art, especially photography... which has led me to this surreal experience of an interview with Mextures!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
This is an easy one... curry! The hotter the better. My wife thinks I’m mad though!
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
I’ve never been asked that question before but I’d probably say penguin. They’re so elegant and majestic.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
I’m not really into celebrities, so any will do, as long as they do as good a job as what my own parents have.
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM?
This was a really tricky question and I’m not sure my answer is interesting but here goes!
Since my days as a graphic designer, I’ve cared for people with learning difficulties and learnt to drive a truck and a forklift. Oh... and I have purple hair! There, told you it wasn’t interesting!
WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE CHORE?
Does anyone have a favourite? I guess it would have to be just work in general, I’d much rather be out taking photos!
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
I’ve always been interested in photography but never really got serious about it until I joined Instagram. Then I started to use my old DSLR camera and kinda went from there. I get all my inspiration from the amazing shots I see everyday on Instagram. Although I still do a lot of point and shoot photography, I’m slowly experimenting with the different settings. Practice makes perfect eh!
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Without a doubt, Instagram definitely has. A friend of mine got me into it as he knew I liked photography. I don’t really use Facebook for personal stuff anymore but I guess I probably should for my photography!
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
My shots have kinda got to where they are largely down to Mextures. I stumbled across a moody formula one day and loved it, ever since then I’ve tried to tone down any bright colours to create an kind of earthy feel to my work. My camera is 10 years old and the rest of my equipment is cheap and basic but you gotta make the best of what you’ve got eh!
HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH?
I keep things simple when it comes to editing my shots. I know I should spent more time using things like Photoshop and Lightroom but I tend to edit on the go. So all editing is done on my phone, first by cropping then straight into Mextures.
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
I’ve only got a few formulas saved, they’re nothing fancy, just a few simple overlays. I like to dull the colours done a bit to give them a more moody feel. I’ve had all sorts of photo editing apps before but Mextures does everything that I need to create my final shot. I’m terrible for even numbers so it can take some time to get every layer just right!
CAN YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR FORMULAS?
My original shots were already moody but the colours were too bright for what I wanted. These simple formulas gave them a more dark, sombre feel.
AUTUMN MOOD / YUFXPFT
COLD DAY / NIJKAJQ
GLASS / RDDIFXF
TWIST N’ FERN / XKSTPLM
SHROOMS / ILZUXQV
WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEXTURES THAT MAKES IT A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Mextures has helped me create ‘my style’. For me, it’s the perfect app to help create the shot that I can see when I press the shutter button on my camera.
PICK TWO OF YOUR FAVORITES PHOTOGRAPHS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THESE TWO THAT MAKE THEM STAND OUT TO YOU?
Here are two of shots that I’ve taken recently. Both have the warm earthy feel that I mentioned earlier. It was difficult to choose any favourites, but maybe you can drop by my Instagram page and see which ones you like!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
My inspiration comes from all of the amazing shots I see on my Instagram feed every day. There are so many great photographers out there and I’ll see a shot and think, hmmm that gives me an idea! Just wish I could get out there more often to shoot but unfortunately work seems to get in the way!
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
There are far too many people who inspire me but if I had to name one, it would have to be the very talented Emilia (@emiliaarabella). I’ve followed her work pretty much ever since I joined Instagram. She takes some amazing shots, I’ve always loved the mood and tone of her page. Be sure to go look at her shots!
Check out more of Darren's work here!