Artistic Statement

My portraits quietly depict character and are inspired by the suggestion that personality exists as an artifact of the human condition, disconnected from culture and time.

While I employ the use of contemporary mediums like digital photography and engineered lighting, I draw on posing and lighting techniques that have developed with the art of portraiture.  Specifically, my posing is often inspired by Greco/Roman sculptures.  Both my lighting patterns and posing are often inspired by my interest in early Medieval Renaissance paintings, especially the Dutch Masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer.  Drawing on ancient techniques helps me imagine the character of subjects as unanchored to their (sub)cultural and historical circumstances.

A unifying aesthetic of my portraits is the use of a muted colour pallate to isolate allow the raw elements of character to emerge, as well as a subtle facial expression.


John David is a portraitist who uses photography as a medium.  He first studied people academically as an anthropologist and sociologist while obtaining his Bachelor of Anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University.  After completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Auckland, he taught photography and fine-art as a high school teacher in Halifax, Toronto and Ottawa.  In 2009, John David’s portraits were discovered by a curator representing Getty Images, and he began licensing commercial portraits in nearly every continent to leading companies, organizations and media outlets including:

The New York Times + Reader’s Digest + MSNBC + Microsoft + Shaw Media Pacific + Google + British Broadcasting Corporation + La Presse + Der Spiegel + American Girl Magazine + Rosetta Stone Publishing + Refinery Marketing + ACP Magazines + Eurobank + Titleist & Footjoy Worldwide + Daily Mail + Anderson DDB + Time Magazine + Loyd’s Bank + PhotoLife

John David currently creates environmental, character, family, formal graduation, wedding, editorial and commercial portraits around Atlantic Canada and at his studio in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.