If I was asked ‘what do I love most about shooting on film?’ It would be the anticipation of the processed roll arriving in the mail and that not quite knowing what you might have captured. Ryan Jones has allowed that memory to flood back, and not just because this young 24 year old selection of images is mainly shot in the old school ways, but because on opening his email the photos I found weren’t what I expected. Instead of the obvious blues and greens of our great southern continent I found a monochrome doorway into a home I recognise, but thoughtfully seen through the eyes of an individual. Ryan’s work has been published in many bodyboard magazines, and they show of his physical commitment to getting the shot, but I’m very grateful that today he has given us a view into something that seems more personal.
I asked Ryan about his journey so far, please read on to get a little more insight into his life.
ELE (Everybody Love Everybody)
Have you lived on the coast your entire life?
From when I can remember. I was 6 when my mum and I moved up to the coast from Brisbane. I am stoked to have grown up here around the ocean rather than the city.
What was your first introduction to photography?
I started off filming my mates surfing/bodyboarding but I soon found myself getting more excited about frame grabs than the video so I decided I wanted to take stills instead. I was most likely washing dishes at a restaurant at the time so as soon as I saved up enough I sold my video camera to buy a digital setup with a housing.
Do you remember your first photo that inspired you to continue this trigger happy existence?
Off the top of my head, No. Although I do have a pretty bad memory. Good thing I take photos huh?
A lot of the images you've chosen are shot on film. Digital is so easy and cheap! Why the film preference?
You said it yourself. It's so easy and cheap. I think there's a few reasons why I prefer film.
Digital I find is so lost in a sea of over edited photographs on the internet.
The process of editing I find painful spending hours on the computer deleting files and editing where as film you weigh the shot up more and think about it. I once lost a heap of raws off a hard drive so it's nice to hold something tangible. I love the grain and the imperfections film gives and there's no feeling like getting rolls back from the lab and seeing stuff you forgot you shot.
Bottom line I just have twice as much fun shooting film and thats why I take photographs and always will. Because I enjoy it.
Now I know for a fact that you have shot some pretty extraordinary body boarding images, this seems a very reflective collection. Is this more Ryan than your other work?
Thanks Keith. I still like bodyboarding but living on the Sunshine Coast where the waves struggle to get over 3/4ft it seems stupid to ride a bodyboard or shoot it. I'm lucky I live 15 minutes away from probably one of the best point breaks in the world. I figure I might aswell make the most of that. I guess as I grow older and change so do my interests. I think photography can be like a fashion sometimes the way shots and styles change. Working as a picture framer has opened me up to the artistic side of photography more. Treating it like an art and planning images more so than just shooting whatever.
What destinations has your photography taken you too?
And where else would you like to shoot?
I've been to Hawaii, Samoa and pretty much all around Australia a few times. So not that many places but I think there is so much to see in our own country. Some of the best waves in the world are here and I think a lot of people don't realise that. They're always heading overseas before even travelling interstate.
I would love to go shoot anywhere I haven't been. I get excited about going to new places not knowing what to expect.
What other creative outlets do you have???
'Do everything, excel at nothing.' Since I heard this quote I've tried to keep it simple and focus myself towards photography although I like to think picture framing can be quite creative at times.
What projects are you working on or would like to start?
I've got a few exhibitions in mind that I am planning for next year. A lot of it is still in my head but I know what I want to do. I just need to find the right space.
People or Landscapes?
For me it's people. Although I've always loved a good landscape.
Now I've met you a couple of times working in different framing studios. It must be great to have the skill to take your images all the way through to a hanging art piece. When did you start framing and are you still doing that now?
I love it. It's an art in itself and I love thinking of how I'm going to frame something before I've printed it or even photographed it. It definitely helps the look of the overall piece. I've been doing it now for maybe 4 years and first started by lending a hand stretching some canvas prints I had done.
You've had quite a few images published, has this afforded you a new life of riches and excess??
I wish. It can help fund a few minor things but usually your lucky to make your money back on a trip.
That's not why I do it though and never has been. I've always just been stoked to see my work in print and have something to share with people. The money is kinda just like a bonus.
Social media and photography. What are your feelings? Have you been able to make it work for you?
I think social media for marketing is a must. You can be an amazing artist yet if you can't market yourself it's going to make it hard to sell your work. I guess it's about finding that balance between the two. For me it definitly helps but I'm not the best at the whole social media thing. It kinda annoys me at times. I would much rather see a photograph in print than online.
What equipment are you shooting with these days?
And what is your go to piece of gear?
I have a digital body, a couple of 35mm slr's, mostly canon. A Nikon FM2 which I love and would recommend for anyone to get. They are like a brick and so simple. A polaroid, a contax 35mm point and shoot, and my newest; a hasselblad. At the moment my go to would be my hasselblad. I love the square format and it's just so fun to shoot with the waist level finder.
Which photographers inspire you? (Please attach any websites)
I really love the way this is shot
And this is just amazing about where we live
Outside of photography where do you find inspiration?
I definitely get inspiration from other artists on the sunshine coast (painters)
I work with a couple whether it's to do with framing or photographing. Also my girlfriend is a painter so it's cool thinking of ideas and working together with her.