Featured Street Photographer – Jackson Thomas

“I think people always get the tip of “just go shoot” or “shoot shoot shoot” but don’t actually stop to think that knowledge is power and having knowledge gives you different ideas creatively in my opinion.”

My favourite quote from our next photographer, Jackson Thomas.

Why Street Photography?

I built a love for street photography before I even held a camera. I used to want to be a musician for many years but as that dream slowly faded I wanted something that was the “next best thing” creatively, so I chose photography especially because there was more of a freelance job market available. I used to walk around and say to myself “hey that would make a good photo”, not actually thinking of getting a camera but one day it clicked and I haven’t stopped shooting the streets since.

What Got You “Into” Street Photography?

The one thing that I can remember inspiring me into shooting street photography was when I downloaded Henri Cartier-Bresson’s : The Impassioned Eye. I watched this with my dad just days after he bought me my first camera for Xmas 2012. Before that I didn’t understand how objects and people can relate in such a way that makes for a beautiful composition.

Best Tip

My best tip is a tip that I have gotten off Sebastian Salgado where he was asked the same question and he replied saying

“If you’re young and have the time, go and study. Study anthropology, sociology, economy, geopolitics. Study so that you’re actually able to understand what you’re photographing. What you can photograph and what you should photograph.”

I think people always get the tip of “just go shoot” or “shoot shoot shoot” but don’t actually stop to think that knowledge is power and having knowledge gives you different ideas creatively in my opinion.

Favourite “Go To” Spot 

I don’t like to give away too many secrets but a place I enjoy going back to is the NGV. It changes all the time with new installations indoors and outdoors. And you get tourists from all around the globe go there to view art.

Gear  

I’m a big fan of the mirrorless system. I like it for its compactness and speed. It seems incognito at times on the street which is what you want. I’m currently using FujiFilm and Ricoh Gr.

My preferred focal lengths are 28 mm and 35 mm. When I bought my fuji XE2s I was using it with the 40mm pancake lens which worked really well on the streets for its size except I did find from time to time it was too tight and I wasn’t able to fit what I wanted in the frame. I’m back to using 28mm on both my Fuji and my Ricoh Gr. One thing I love on the fuji is the classic chrome film simulation, It has a very smooth colour palette which I’ve grown to appreciate.

Anything Else?

Follow me on Instagram while I do my 365 project: @jacksonthomasphoto

Here’s a very inspiring collective to follow: http://www.observecollective.com

 You can find Jackson on the interwebs here :

http://www.jacksonthomasphoto.com

Let’s check out some of his best images…

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I love this particular image – it is simple, striking, and a bit surreal. I asked Jackson about how the image came to life…

I was viewing some art at the NGV one day and stumbled upon this sound installation. The sound was being produced by plates that were put to float on a pool of water. I found this very interesting so I proceeded to stay a little while and listen to the meditative sound. I had on me at the time my Ricoh Gr. The first thing that caught my eye in this place was the colour of the the walls (yellow and golden) and the security guard (who was of African descent). The two colours contrasted each other really nicely. So I proceeded to frame this photo, I chose a low angle because it gave the best effect.

The kids happened to be roaming around the area oblivious to what I was going on because I did not have the camera to my eye. I worked the scene for about 5 minutes taking around 20 frames I had realised I struck gold when the kids parted and left a perfect amount of space between each other. This shot could have not been done with any other focal length other than 28 mm because of the space that was required to fit those subjects in.

This photo was shot on such high ISO that it was nearly impossible to blow up too large. I shot using TAv mode which is auto ISO therefore it was so high. After looking at this image several times I realised that the grain actually adds something fascinating to the image of which I can’t describe. These type of photos can’t be recreated it was definitely an in the moment type of shot.

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The first image is a great use of silhouetted shapes. The profile of the person and umbrella is completely anonymous, reducing the visual information the viewer has to process. It also adds to the crushing, glum feel of the big city image – start concrete, rain, and monochromatic colours.

The stair rail gives a nice leading line in the image, suggesting the path forward of the subject. The unorthodox crop of the subject is yet another example of rules not really mattering.

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Fantastic use of multiple planes of interest in the image, with all three subject groups balancing across the entire image. Three always seem to be an interesting number in street photography. The three groups of people (well, one is just a single guy on his phone… so please don’t get confused!) all contrast. The business suits, the younger casual guy, and the kids are all very, very different. The kids add a lot of visual interest as they are very active, again contrasting with the relative calm of the other groups.

Both the younger guy, and the suits are wonderfully framed – I intend to keep an eye out more often for natural frames… There is a nice circular line on the ground, mirroring the sculpture. A great mix of clashing lines that gives a dynamic feel to the image.

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And finally, here is one I picked out to talk about. Simple themes and compositions are often the strongest. I just love the image for it’s complete lack of clutter. Images like this annoy me, somewhat, as they are a reminder that I must “miss” opportunities all the time through a lack of imagination. I probably walked past ten similar potential compositions when I was out this week, without seeing them.

 

 

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  1. Walk Slower – Could It Get Any More Genius? | Inconspicuosity - December 29, 2016

    […] thought about my walking style as a separate technique that contributes to the images. Recent Featured Street Photographer Jackson Thomas talked about it […]

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