Jed, 29, works as a designer in an architectural office in Fort Langley, BC. In his time away from work he pursues his passion for photography. He shoots and prints his own black and white photographs as an art form, and also provides photographic services, such as portraits and commissioned art projects, to others. Jed originally aspired to become an architect, and spent over two years in the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) program before he chose to change directions. He is now studying part-time at Langara College in the Commercial Photography program. He is currently preparing a body of work to show in a solo exhibition in 2003.
Stephanie: What made you decide to become a photographer? How did you become a photographer?
Jed: I don't know what exactly made me become a photographer. I did get inspired by some architectural photography that I saw in an online portfolio and I began to pursue that, but I have since found there are so many different avenues in photography. Since I bought my SLR (single lens reflex) camera in 1998, I have gradually gotten more and more passionate about photography, and in the process have found many different opportunities. I would call myself a semi-professional since I do photography part-time, in addition to my full-time job as an architectural designer.
I am pursuing both the practical and artistic directions of photography. I have been doing some portraits and weddings recently. In these situations, word of mouth is worth a lot. As far as the artistic direction, I have placed some work in local shops on consignment. I have also shown work in three different galleries this past year. I plan on doing more galleries next year and focusing more on the artistic aspect of photography. I have to mention that encouragement from others is valuable. Finally, taking opportunities as they come has put me where I am photographically - and there are so many opportunities out there.
Stephanie: What do you like about your job?
Jed: One, being able to let the creative juices flow. Two, the challenge. Sometimes trying to be creative is challenging in a certain project, but I love that. A lot of people think photography is simple - point, and shoot. There's a LOT more to it than that. I think photography is quite underrated as an art form - I don't see why it shouldn't have the same respect as painting or sketching. Film is my sketchpad, and light is the charcoal and I love it that way.
Stephanie: What is your least favourite part of the job?
Jed: Un-user-friendly equipment, or equipment that is not suited for the job. There is probably no way to be perfectly prepared. I still think tripods are not made with an average human in mind!
Stephanie: What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a photographer?
Jed: Be prepared to spend a good chunk of money on equipment - but do it piece by piece. Take evening photography courses when they are offered. Even if they don't teach you something new, they can still be a good refresher.
There are plenty of photographers out there - get creative with your marketing and target a specific untapped market. Be organized. I am glad to have an organized wife to help me with that. Nothing will come without a bit of hard work and a ton of exposed film. I still enjoy it.
Stephanie: Do you need to go through post-secondary education to do what you do? What kind of education did you get?
Jed: What I do is not a direct result of going to any school, but school/courses has helped in a lot of ways.
It depends on what area of photography you would like to specialize in. If one were to become a commercial/advertising photographer, I am pretty sure that post-secondary schooling at a recognized institution would be an asset. However, there are probably some people out there who had the skills and the right connections, and thus got into their desired field - with hard work of course. To go into fine art photography, I think that a good understanding of art history, including photographic art would be helpful.
It all comes down to getting out there and making the right connections. I started on the pathway to become an architect, so that included a couple design/drafting courses, and then I spent a few years in an architectural correspondence program as an alternative to going to university. In total that was about four and a half years of architectural-related schooling. I'm sure it has helped my photography in some ways.
Right now I am studying commercial photography part-time at Langara College in Vancouver, BC. I am probably about half-way through the program, and I love it so far.
Stephanie: What is your favourite subject to photograph?
Jed: I love to photograph people because of the intrigue they bring to a photo ... people just are interesting. I also love still life - it's a close second. Still life for me covers a large gamut, anything from architecture to a studio set-up to any objects in their existing surroundings with existing light. Still life has a tendency to not be concerned with camera set-up time and it holds nice and still.
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