Based in London, he creates his own personal portrait photography series, with his Hanoi images winning a gold Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3) award last year, as well as being nominated for the Sony World Photography Awards this year. Keep reading for more about Jon’s method to the art.
How did you get into photography?
My first steps into photography were actually when I was in my first year at university. I had just moved to Sheffield to begin a degree in geography and, during the first few weeks I was there, I entered a competition in HMV and promptly forgot all about it.
A couple of weeks later, a PR agency rang me and told me that I'd won a free trip around the world, with all flights and expenses paid for. I spoke to my tutors who all agreed that this was an opportunity I couldn't turn down and that I could defer my course for a year.
I bought myself a small point and shoot camera so I could document my travels, and that was how I developed my love of photography. It all started from there really. I knew from then on that I wanted to be a photographer.
I went back to university and completed my degree, after which I got my NCTJ qualification in news photography at Sheffield College. I then got a job at a local newspaper and moved onto a news agency before moving to London and working for The Times.
While working at The Times I quite quickly ended up shooting a lot of their more high-profile portraits. That, in turn, opened the door to some big magazine commissions and the advertising work started from there.
How would you describe your style?
I always describe my approach as being bold and uncomplicated. I love playing with light and how that affects the mood and personality of the end result.
I began my career as a news photographer, where you have to get the right shot very quickly. It’s a skill that has served me well. Pressure doesn't really affect me. I’m pretty unflappable and decisive which are skills worth having.
What inspires you?
I can take inspiration from absolutely anywhere, from people and places. I live in South-East London so just living in the city pushes you up against all sorts of stimulus. Music, films, art - you name it, it all bleeds into the mix.
I am inspired by the technical challenges involving locations and lighting and then turning that into a creative and compelling image that evokes emotion.
What kind of equipment do you use?
I use Canon bodies and a range of prime lenses. Lighting is Profoto.
Why do you choose Direct Digital? How has your experience been?
I have been using Direct Digital for many years now as they have anything that I might need for a shoot.
If we need a last-minute piece of equipment, then I can get the equipment biked over to me anywhere in London...fast.
The staff are always really helpful and polite so, overall, it's just a brilliant service. I really couldn't do without them.
What is your most memorable shoot?
From 2019, I'd say it was definitely the Hanoi photoshoot. Obviously, it was fairly complex in terms of planning it all out in advance with just one chance to get the right shots, and then add to that the difficulties of working in the heat and with the nighttime lighting situation. We flew that kit out with us.
2020 is looking pretty busy already. I have a number of advertising campaigns lined up as well as another personal project on the horizon.
I was out in Dubai and Athens shooting just before Christmas. One of the best things about my job is that you never know what's around the corner.