Interview: Photographer Jeremy Gibbs (Londen, England)
Interviews / Stories
Tell us something about yourself
I am a Feature Film Editor by trade, but my passion is now photography. Maybe I started too late, I started to really be interested in it in my mid-fifties, but at a younger age, when I had my first SLR I enjoyed taking photographs but lacked in confidence. I could never have taken pictures of beautiful women when I was their age.
How and when did you get into photography?
I was doing a foundation art course (which incorporated photography) in the mid-1970's and I spent the whole of the first terms grant on a Pentax Spotmatic. Then in 1976 along came the Punk explosion and I started to frequent the gigs in and around London and I used to take photographs at as many gigs as I could afford to go to. Life would never be the same again. I was sacked from my job in advertising, for not dressing well enough and having 'an attitude', but Fuck them! ;) ahahaha
What does photography mean to you?
Right now it is very important, I am passionate about it. But it started off as a hobby and now in the past 6 years I have compiled 6 photography books, four of them being my own pictures and only now am I starting to try to make it at least pay for itself. It gets expensive! I travel a lot, I drive through Europe with a van full of dresses and props and a head full of ideas.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I guess that's up to your readers to figure out. I was once told by a good friend that he didn't appreciate my pictures because he found them 'too dark', it was only after this conversation that I realised he was probably right. I have just self-published a book that shows mainly 'nude' models in abandoned and decaying buildings around the world. Now I hope to do more 'sexy' 'dark' fashion with attitude and concealed nudes but still in abandoned or the more unusual locations. To me the background is just as important as the foreground (the model), neither should stand out more than the other, they should become one.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
Yes of course. That's not to say it won't change completely once we are there on location but yes, I always visit the location the day before shooting to see where the light falls best and always send inspiration shots to the model beforehand just to give her an idea of the mood I hope to capture. Of course that all changes once we start shooting but that's usually how the best shots evolve.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Everywhere! We are surrounded by inspiring things. I try not to look at too many pictures of other contemporary photographers, though, but more into the past masters of the art. But I get much inspiration working with my amazing models that really push themselves to the limit to get that one great shot! One will notice on my FaceBook page that I very often use the same models again and again. It takes a long time to find the right model for the locations I already have in mind then when I find that I enjoy working with the model I look for other locations that will suit their style.
Studio, on location or both?
Location all the time! I use a quote from Helmut Newton on one of the opening pages of 'All is not lost' he says "It's not that I don't like white paper backgrounds. A woman does not live in front of white paper. She lives on the street, in a motor car, in a hotel room" That sums it up for me. I have done a couple studio shoots in the past but I just didn't feel at home in them. I don't use lights at all on my location work either, only ever just natural light.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Definitely a hobbyist. I would like to be a professional but it is so hard to make a living out of being a fine art photographer without having to do weddings or pictures of babies which I have no wish of doing.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I couldn't single out any one particular session. There are occasional times when you just know that you have just taken a wonderful picture, then you just want to embrace the model. You both know that some magic has just happened. But other times those moments come when you are working on the picture in post. There are far more times when you know the picture has really come alive in the post or simply by turning a picture on its side, which I do quite often.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The models are my inspiration. If you choose a great model then wonderful things can happen. It is always a collaboration with the models I work with, it takes two people to make the picture. Some of my very best shots are ideas my models have come up with.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Nikon D800 with a 24mm -70mm
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I don't have my own business so I'm not the ideal person to give that advice.
What do you think of our new magazine?
What I've seen so far has been very good. But maybe change the questions for each interview to make them more relevant to that person.