Featured Photographer – Jonny Edward

1. Tell us a bit about the image?

The featured image is a series of self-portraits that I recently created in my studio. I strongly believe that self-portraiture is an essential tool for creative-experimentation and defining one’s own visual voice. Beyond being a conduit for artistic evolution, self-portraiture essentially puts us in the position of our clients|subjects, whom we ask to step in front of the lens and be open, vulnerable, and receptive. To that end, recently, I’ve been pushing myself to be more creative and intriguing when producing self-portraits; plus, as a fashion photographer, I adore movement and imagery that feels dynamic. 

2. What inspired you to take the shot?

Well, recently, I commissioned a bespoke canvas backdrop from The Obsidian Studios–whom I am an ambassador for; full disclosure–and was anxiously awaiting its arrival. Once I had it in my hands, literally and figuratively, I felt inspired to put it through the creative-paces and knew that there was no better way to do so than shooting self-portraits. I really love juxtaposition, in photography, and thought that it might be unusually engaging to create movement with my body while retaining a relaxed, dapper demeanour both in my wardrobe and expression. Externally, I find myself most intrigued by, and inspired by, photographers of the bygone era–Philippe Halsman’s “Dali Atomicus” has always held a special place in my heart. I’m sure that his work, and that specific image, was a force of inspiration as well. 

3. What gear did you use for the shot including lighting?

The setups for my self-portraits tend to be quite basic, for the simple reason that it’s significantly easier to manage fewer moving parts; especially, when playing the dual role of photographer-subject. 

Recently, I made the jump from Pentax to Sony, and couldn’t be happier, so I decided to use my new(ish) Sony A7RIV paired to the Sigma 35 1.4 ART. Honestly, it’s my favourite combination and I adore the 35 focal range. Courtesy of Sigma, the 35 1.2 is on the way and I am beyond giddy! That’s a story for another time, however! 

I tethered that duo to my computer using a setup from Tether Tools. Whenever possible, I love to tether. For me, doing so is really important when I’m shooting self-portraits as I can deconstruct my timing, expression, posing, etc. without having to strain or guess. 

For lighting, I used a single Flashpoint XPLOR 600 combined with a 60” EZ-Lock Octabox from GLOW.  One, of many, thing(s) I love about the EZ series from GLOW is that the modifiers all include a beauty-dish-like diffuser disk. The disk ends up creating a pseudo-indirect setup that helps to further spread and soften the light. I set the light a tad high(er) than normal, to accommodate the jumping, angling it down a touch. With a bit of feathering, the setup produced a flattering, soft, wrapping light that allowed for a lot of levity in terms of movement and position. 

4. Tell us about the editing process?

Because, honestly, I’d rather be shooting than editing, my post-production workflow tends to be as efficient as possible. The vast majority of my processing tends to occur in Capture One. For me, C1 produces the best colours, and files that are sharper/cleaner than anything else on the market. Post C1, the files were opened in Photoshop only to polish the colours a bit – using the amazing Infinite Color Panel. Literally, 99% of editing was completed in C1. Recently, I’ve been diggin’ the 3D LUT profiles from PRO EDU. I find, at low(er) opacities, that the LUTS create rich, tonal harmonies that get my images to where I want them with the least amount of effort, before ever moving on to PS. Each image took less than 10 minutes–probably closer to 5–to edit. 

5. How does this piece reflect you as an artist?

I’d like to think that my work|art is narrative-driven. The imagery that I aspire to create is focused on whoever is in front of my lens; their respective stories and journeys. The greatest gift that photography has given me is the capacity to connect and to parlay that connection to help others share pieces of who they are. In that process of their revealing, I am afforded the chance to reveal a bit of who I am as well. I’m immensely honoured, whenever someone decides to step in front of my lens, and do my best to honour and empower them as individuals. In essence, my self-portraits are an ode both to the individuals I am fortunate enough to photograph and to myself as an individual. They’re an exercise in gratitude when all is said and done. Also, I like to have fun!  In my humble opinion, we’re so fortunate as artists, to be able to create, capture, and share; and, to me, life is too short to not enjoy every moment of the creative process, insofar as we can. The only thing louder than destruction is creation; let’s laugh and smile, while we create!

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