What sticks out to us about John Brock’s (aka @rockinbrock) photography is the vivid way he captures everyday life living in Baltimore. Architecture, clouds and people are recurring subjects for the adventurous father of two.
The Darkroom caught up with Brock about how he edits his images, what he loves about Baltimore and where he found his love of photography.
FULL NAME: John David Brock
@RockinBrock. The name dates back to my youth where I always wanted to be a radio disc jockey (my radio handle was Rockin Brock). Growing up in the city of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it only seemed fitting.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:
Born and raised in Cleveland, I moved south after my father got a new job. I attended Western Kentucky University, earning a B.A. in advertising and graphic design. After college I landed in Louisville, Ky., where I worked design, advertising and marketing collateral for Papa Johns and traveled through the ranks of an advertising agency. But I always felt I needed something more.
A beautiful woman from Baltimore caught my eye in a chance meeting and the next thing I knew, it was Charm City or bust. After living in Federal Hill for a while, I knew Baltimore was my home. The atmosphere in the city can only be described as electric. There is always something happening, the Baltimore sports organizations are strong and each individual neighborhood has a unique charm. In Baltimore you know your neighbors and sometimes even know your neighbor’s neighbor — Smalltimore. To me, Baltimore is home. Today I work in health care marketing and creative services.
IN ONE SENTENCE, DESCRIBE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED?
I think my feed description describes it best: “Little squares of life in Baltimore, Md. or wherever the wind happens to carry me.”
TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT SETUP (PHONE TYPE, ANY LENSES USED, DSLR/ANALOG CAMERA TO PHONE, FAVORITE FILTERS, APPS I.E.)?
I mostly shoot with my iPhone 4s because I always have it with me. I have a few album pictures that were shot with a Canon 7D. Shooting with a DSLR is always best but it is all about having your camera with you.
For my iPhone I occasionally use an Olloclip, an attachment that offers an all in one Fisheye, Wide angle and Macro lens. I would suggest them to anyone, as it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Most of my images are edited with Instagram, Snapseed, Camera+, PhotoToaster or Hipstamatic. In some cases, it may be a mash up of several editing app, depending on the mood or effect that I am trying to create.
A LOT OF YOUR PHOTOS FEATURE DRAMATIC CLOUDS. HOW DO YOU CAPTURE THESE PHOTOS? WHAT DRAWS YOU TO CLOUDS?
I do love the sky and clouds (#cloudporn). This fondness goes back to my parents challenging me and my siblings to pick out shapes and faces in the billows above. Ever since, I am eternally looking up at the sky. I always purposefully accentuate them in app edits. Snapseed offers a filter named DRAMA that makes clouds almost come alive.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO SHOOT?
Beyond the sky, clouds and architecture I love to shoot my children. They are just now reaching that age where you can witness the light bulbs going off in their heads as they explore the world. They both now have an iPod Touch that keeps them busy snapping pictures. Going forward I plan to feature some shots that my kids take in my Instagram feed. Be on the lookout!
HOW DO YOU SELECT WHICH PHOTOS YOU TAKE TO PUT ON INSTAGRAM? DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF OVERARCHING THEME OR STANDARD?
Having a graphics background, I usually gravitate towards pictures that illustrate something. I like images that almost appear to be a design, and not a photo. I like using negative space to make the viewer pause before really understanding what they are viewing.
SAY I JUST GOT MY FIRST SMARTPHONE. WHAT IS INSTAGRAM FOR? WHAT ISN’T IT FOR?
I don’t think I would ever put Instgram in a certain box. I really feel that everyone has his or her own level of knowledge of how to leverage the photo-sharing site. My whole philosophy is to just snap away, try shooting things you are passionate about, download multiple apps, follow people you feel inspired by and really learn what comes naturally to you. After a few weeks your feed will begin to fill in all the blanks and bring on a life of its own.
WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY TO BEGIN WITH?
A huge part of what has driven my passion for visual arts and photography has been my father. I will forever remember helping my dad create enlargements in his basement darkroom where I helped him also process black and white prints. I look back now and understand why he always had his camera, why he would pull off the road almost anywhere to snap that moment in time. Like father, like son.
NAME 5 NEED-TO-KNOW INSTAGRAMMERS THAT YOU FOLLOW AND WHY THEY’RE FAVORITES:
@baltoaaron – His feed is very colorful, intriguing and very inspirational. He too is a father and resides right here in Baltimore.
@johnnyrev – His feed is very fun, playful and captures little snippets of his everyday comings and goings. He is also a new father that also resides right here in Baltimore.
@hoops4533 – His feed is a perfect representation of shooting various things he comes into contact with every day in and about Baltimore. His style and edits run very deep.
@danamarieku – Her feed is graceful and very striking. Her eye for unique things in her surroundings really resonates in her photos.
@_primus_ – His feed is just awesome. His pictures are very stunning and visually pleasing to the eye. Many of his shots feel as if you can reach out and touch.
@alexfitz1 – Her feed is a perfect example of trying new apps and photo edits. As I have followed, this is something of immense importance that I have learned