Meet Dragan Andic, a 19 year old photographer from just outside Toronto whose interest in photography has sky rocketed him into working with international superstars Roy Woods, Nav and Derek Wise. In a short amount of time, Andic has taken the city by a storm with his incredible portraiture and concert photography.
Want to know what it's like being in the presence of stardom and pursuing your passion? Scroll down and learn more about the young talented photographer.
1. Tell us about how you got into photography?
I began taking photos in high school, it was during a time in my life where very few people were branching out and trying something new for a change. I live in Oakville so everyday after school I would drive to Toronto to take photos. As months passed by I slowly started developing a love for portraiture and started to realize landscape photography wasn't for me. After a year of shooting I knew I wanted to take this seriously, I invested all my time and energy into becoming a professional photographer.
2. What’s it like working in the Toronto photography scene?
As a creative, I am very lucky to be from Toronto because of all the inspiring people I am surrounded by. In this city we have some of the most talented people in the world ranging from all different types of creative fields. Photography in Toronto has been gaining popularity for years now and it is great to see so many people getting inspired and starting to shoot in the city.
3. What is your biggest struggle as a photographer
Lately I've been thinking on how my photography will evolve over time. This is something that I usually don't worry about as it progresses naturally, but it’s only right to wonder how you are going to top yourself with each project. The only struggle for me is not remaining in the same place a week, month or even a year from now, progression and growth are key.
4. Tell us about how you started working with artists?
Everything happened very naturally. When I realized I wanted to focus on portraiture and get involved in the music scene, I started reaching out to people to shoot so I could build a good portfolio. I knew if I wanted to keep growing I had to keep shooting everyday to teach myself how to get better. My first big project was working behind the scenes for Kid. Studio on set of Roy Woods' video for 'Get You Good'. I want to thank Kid. Studio for helping me grow and for inspiring me to push myself as a creative. They have really helped me over the years and given me opportunities others would only dream of having. They've shown and proven to so many of us that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, and believe in your vision.
5. What’s the coolest part about working with artists?
The coolest part about working with these guys is the friendships you build with them. A lot of artists I work with are my close friends and I consider them family. Every artist I know in this city is focused on their craft and they are very humble, hardworking individuals who inspire me to push myself everyday. One of the first artists I started working with early on is Derek Wise. Derek is one of the most talented artists in Toronto and a close friend of mine. This year I travelled to Los Angeles with him to shoot his debut album cover 'Inglorious".
6. Do you have any tips or tricks for photographing artists or festivals?
Stay true to your style of photography no matter what environment you're in. Try and adapt your style into any setting that is thrown your way. I have had jobs where someone else has tried to manipulate my style and tell me how to do things and the end result was terrible. You should never let anyone use you or control your creativity. If you are shooting an artist, shoot them how you envision it and want it to turn out.
7. What is it like on set being with so many incredible artists? What’s the standard for professionalism?
Whether you are working with a new client or someone you already know, it is important to be professional and focused throughout the shoot regardless of who it is. I like to approach every project in a professional manner and a positive mindset.
8. How was it working with Nav?
The Nav shoot was definitely one of my favourites. I'm a big fan of his music and he is definitely one of the most talented artists I know. He hasn't really had a lot of curated photoshoots so it was cool to be one of the first to get to work with him on some visuals. I have to thank my good friend La Mar Taylor for coordinating the shoot.
9. What is it like working with up and coming Toronto artist, Roy Woods?
Roy is like family to me, he's like my brother. I love working with him because when we collaborate we're always focused on getting that right shot or creating some great content.
It's always an energetic and positive vibe with him and his team. We first shot together on set of his video for 'Get You Good' and ever since then we've been working and executing some great visuals together. Roy is a very humble individual and he is one of my favourite artists from Toronto. I owe it all to the UTU family for all of the opportunities they have given me.
10. What has been your favourite project to date to work on?
I have so many favourites it's hard to choose. One of my all-time favourites is definitely The Waking At Dawn promo pictures at East Room for Roy Woods. This photoshoot is very special to me because I feel like these photos are timeless, the aesthetic and style of this shoot was perfect. I worked alongside some great individuals to execute this shoot, shoutout to Niko Nice and Mu for making the vision come to life.
11. What was the best part about shooting The Legend of the Fall tour in Toronto?
The show was amazing start to finish. The Weeknd is my favourite artist so getting to shoot his show in his hometown was a blessing. I will never forget the atmosphere of the Air Canada Centre that night, It was overwhelming. It was great to shoot alongside one of my inspirations, Hyghly Alleyne. He takes some of the greatest photos I've ever seen so it was great to see him in action.
12. Any advice for up and coming photographers looking to start a professional career?
Believe in yourself when nobody else does. This is important because there is going to be a lot of people who doubt you and who hate on you for chasing your dreams. Stay true to yourself and build something from nothing. It is the little things you do along the way in your journey that add up to something more so keep grinding and eventually the patience and persistence will pay off. Most importantly keep everything on the low, don't talk about it, just do it and say less.
If you like what you see, you can check out his gallery show July 22nd at 2014 Dundas St W, in collaboration with Only Young Once.