David Miller was coming to grips with the limitations of his drawing ability when he saw an exhibit by social-documentary photographer Sebastio Salgado.
It influenced Miller toward photography as his means of self expression. He got a degree in photography from Arizona State University and continued to photograph life as he saw it while working other jobs.
“About 10 years had passed since I started this, and it wasn’t getting anywhere, really,” said Miller, of Chandler. “That late, I figured out people like pictures of people and, more than that, they like pretty-girl pictures. That sort of elaborate, art-fashion-style photography is something I had never tried. It took a while to get some traction, but I have to say that’s when things started taking off.”
Miller’s fashion and pop-art photography have been featured in magazines and exhibits throughout the country.
Friday, an exhibition of his work, “The Fine Art Photography of David Miller,” begins a five-week run in Chandler. An artist’s reception will be at the gallery, Chicago Street and Arizona Avenue adjacent to City Hall.
Miller says his imagery is not a betrayal of his early desire to tell a story via photography. Even when he was studying drawing growing up in Omaha, Neb., he was most interested in images that might appear in cartoons and comic books.
His current work is influenced by science fiction, vintage horror films, and the movies and television shows he grew up with in the 1980s. His work also reflects his interests in mythology and history and a continuing desire to tell the stories of others.
His storytelling includes photographing indigenous people in Australia, exploring downtown Detroit and a Texas cattle-calling contest.
Miller finds adventure in photography, whether he’s recreating historic images at a Civil War battle re-enactment at Picacho Peak or shooting fashion in town.
He recalled the reaction of a mail carrier during a recent shoot at the home of a model who creates elaborate headdresses.
“Her jaw dropped,” Miller said. “It was like just seeing Lady Gaga show up in front of you. … That minor adventure was a lot of fun. You can do that with photography.”