As we countdown to the launch of the 2015 Australian’s Annual, with the associated group Gallery Exhibition, we wanted to give all those fans of fashion and fine art photography something to tease their creative appetites. Over the next 10 weeks we will be giving viewers of FIB.com a chance to see interviews and some of the work that will be in the MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Vol 13 Australians Book and Show.
Jake weisz is a Sydney based emerging freelance photographer and film director. He is self- trained and has a passion for capturing nature and beauty. He spent two years in New York building his portfolio and getting lost in the lights and lives of the bustling city.
Jakes images are a burgeoning love affair between bewildered photojournalism and upbeat modern day culture. His wondrous style captivates admirers by offering a rare glare of youth, fashion and freedom. Solitude is a noticeable inspiration for jake, as his images take audience’s on a whimsical adventure of self-exploration and travel.
We recently sat down with Jake for an interview.
With the evolution of photography today, the rise of the “selfie”, the boom of image publishing sites like Instagram, and the use of Photoshop and other beginner level image Filtering effects, it could be said that there has been a Democratisation of imaging making, and that anyone with an iPhone is now a photographer. How has this changed the industry? What does it mean for the professional photographer? And where do you see it going?
With the introduction of social media platforms like Instagram and the accessibility of camera equipment and post-production softwares, the photography industry has vastly evolved into a globally appreciated and celebrated art form. Although it introduces greater competition, I think these developments have only benefitted professional photographers. With their experience, expertise and skill-set, they are now even more appreciated and internationally acknowledged. Photography got a grander scale and a much larger audience. As technology advances and new social media and hardware become available, it will only further the success and celebration of professional photographers and photography as a form of expression and creativity.
Fashion photography, in the past has been seen as a prestigious almost exclusive club, do you think things have changed in that regard?
Fashion photography certainly fulfills that prestigious almost exclusive collective on a Global level, but I think this has undoubtedly evolved, and I’m a perfect example of that. I’m a self-trained, freelance photographer based in Sydney. The original and elite photographers, whose work has had continued international success are a very small society and are still at the top of the list; but social media, as well as the availability of education, technology and appreciation allow anyone to work in the fashion photography industry. Whether you’re shooting an international campaign for a French fashion house, or photographing for an independent local magazine, working in this industry has become much more accessible.
The late great Corinne Day refused to retouch her models, thus producing raw & sometimes gritty natural images, which stand in stark contrast to the kinds of heavily adjusted kinds of images created by people like the fashion duo; Mert & Marcus, whose end result is nearly 80 percent retouching and post production. Where do you stand on post photo manipulation?
Post-photo manipulation requires such care and focus on fine-detail that it should be considered as an art form itself. Personally, my photographic style is more concerned with capturing the natural and raw then post-producing the narrative. I do use editing softwares to almost polish and add that auteuristic veneer that identifies my aesthetic, but I try and capture the beauty from reality.
Nick Knight the British photography has been quoted as saying his favourite camera is his iPhone 6 not his Hasselblads. What do you say to that comment, and that “The best camera is the one you have with you at all times”.
Although it’s quite a controversial statement coming from such an influential fashion photographer, I tend to agree. The inherent convenience that comes with having a good-quality camera on you at all times could potentially become that vital key in capturing something spontaneously beautiful. Those rare moments you don’t usually have your camera to capture, are now feasible.
The likes of photographers Nick Knight & Rankin have become media brands in their own right. Not only are they photographers but also media publishers, editors, journalists & writers. How important is innovation and the addition of new skills today? Is it enough to be a pure play photographer or do you need to add other elements to keep at the top of the game?
I think innovation and the addition of new skills can be very important in the fashion photography industry, especially if you’re dreaming of creating a more branded image for yourself. Even though I do think it is enough to solely work as a photographer. You’re being booked as a photographer, thus those other abilities and talents may never come into affect. It all depends on what position you’re after in the industry, and which hats other than “photographer” you are wanting to wear.
Do you know of any rising new stars from here or abroad that you predict big things for in the industry?
There are many incredibly talented rising stars I’m predicting big things from; Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis, Weronika Izdebska, Rob Mulally, Sophia Devries, the list could go on and on.
What skills aside from the technical image making set do you need to learn & master to make it to the top level in photography?
I think in the top level of photography you become more than just the technical photo-taker; you become the director. You are art directing the motion and narrative playing out in front of the lens, pulling emotional discourse out of the model or muse, preparing and designing the photograph’s mise-en-scène, and a lot of the time you get involved in the styling of the image as well. The photographer can become the infinite creative author of the work, and that sort of control requires learning and mastering.
What the leading magazines, websites on the art of photography that you look to and respect above all others?
The fashion bibles, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, are always good sources of current trends and inspiration. But as far as I’m concerned, I love admiring the more off-beat publications; Wonderland magazine, Russh, CR Fashion Book, Dansk, Hunger, Mr Porter, W Magazine, Lula Magazine and online publications like Hypebeast, The Fashionisto and Fashion Gone Rogue.
What kinds of things do you do to promote your work these days? What kinds of things do you do to get new contracts and commissions?
The most important networking device I have at the moment is social media. The ability to connect with so many creatives from across the globe on Instagram, facebook, pinterest, etc. has become a vital piece of the professional puzzle for me. It has ultimately given me so much more opportunity to share and exhibit my work to a large audience, introduce people into my creative lifestyle and the way I work. It simply gives a freelance photographer more of a chance up against some of the big guns.
Where do you ideally need to be based to be an internationally successful photographer?
If you asked me this question when I was living in New York City (2012-2013) I would’ve very promptly answered ‘New York City’ or listed off one of the bigger fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, London, LA, etc. I think since returning to Sydney, I’ve been far more inundated with work then ever before. Perhaps it’s because of the work I was doing in New York, or perhaps it’s a reputation thing. Either way, I don’t think one needs a specific destination to be considered an internationally successful photographer.
How do you describe your style & technique? How do you keep it fresh in such a rapidly paced industry?
To describe my style and technique in a few words would be difficult but I think creatively in the attempts at defining my aesthetic. I’ve captured my own insight into a polished reality. I endeavor to create timeless and mature imagery that evokes a more classic style whilst keeping a fresh point of view. My photographs have a cinematic element to them, because rather than simply capturing beauty, I aim to capture a story behind the beauty, whether ambiguous or rather obvious.
Are you loyal to a certain camera/s? How do you keep up with ever changing technology?
I think if you’ve somewhat defined your aesthetic, whilst allowing yourself and your style to evolve, then failing to keep up with the rather chaotically paced technological advances isn’t that detrimental. I’m a fond user of the Canon 5DMii and 5DMiii. I’m quite content with that at this point.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have a muse, have you in the past? Why do you think you did that?
I find inspiration all over the place; from my travels and trips abroad, to the narratives in cinema. If you do not limit yourself from finding inspiration, then anything and everything can simply inspire you.
I once had a muse in the past; an actress and model I consecutively worked with over a few years. We had built such a strong chemistry that working together became effortless; it lost the ‘work’ undertone and became more about capturing beauty in different contexts. I believe the creative connection between artists and their muse is very powerful.
What has been your career highlight so far?
My career highlight so far would be the creation, design and publication of my first book releasing presently. I feel so honoured to have the opportunity to create a large body of work that collectively creates an unspoken narrative of New York City. It’s been such a learning experience, beyond the photography side of things, and I find myself constantly gaining such great insight.
The above is a partial excerpt from the MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY “Australians 2015″
To contact Jake Weisz check out his website here
MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY Vol 13 Australians Annual will be a massive 400 page Hard Cover art book, and will be launched in conjunction with a major group exhibition at Sun Studios in Sydney on the 2nd of September. The Exhibition will run for 2 weeks and will then Tour to Melbourne.You can buy the Hard Cover book at the event and on Amazon books.