We catch up with Tyler Calleja Jackson, a 25-year old freelance photographer, who speaks to us about his work and upcoming projects. His interest in people is very evident in the heartwarming portraits he’s captured. We come to realise he’s all about the human connection.
AS A PHOTOGRAPHER, HOW DO YOU CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF SOMEONE’S LIFE/STORY IN A SINGLE PICTURE?
We all have things to deal with on a day-to-day basis. As a
result of the daily routines we accompany ourselves with, we all identify in our own specific way. The way we present ourselves is crucial to forming an identity, or rather, a personal identity in the busy society, which is enriched with multicultural people.
Portraits have always been something which I look to capture. I believe that everyone has a story to tell through
the clothes they wear and the poses they strike, when they’re faced with a camera.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH IMAGES TO CHOOSE FROM THE REST OF THE PHOTOGRAPHED IMAGES?
The images I choose differentiate from one another.
The specifically chosen images are a combination of the features and characteristics which, as a photographer, I feel vary from each other without being repetitive in content.
HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHOSEN SUBJECTS? Usually it begins with a friendly approach, primarily an individual who tends stands out from the norm. This comes with an ice-breaking offer of free coffee or a drink (sometimes even lunch), in order to establish the subject’s characteristics. I enjoy meeting new people, as it brings a certain excitement and adventurous aspect to the entire concept. The most important rule I keep in mind, is to not work with models. As much as it helps to have another professional working with me, certain models tend blur the lines of what it is to represent or pretend.
WHAT ARE THE DISTINGUISHABLE ELEMENTS IN YOUR WORK WHICH CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO YOU?
Many people have the common misconception that portraits are purely a representation of the subject in
the photo when, rather, it is a representation of how
the photographer sees you. With this in mind, no other
portrait will ever be the same. It may seem simple,
however, the work is quite complex. One needs to
also understand why certain colour tones were edited
in, and why sometimes, black and white wins over
anything else. The way I choose to work is to identify the emotional context of the time the photos were taken and illustrate them into the portrait of the chosen subject. I believe that this in return has assisted me in having a signature photographic style.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE PLANS WITH REGARDS TO PORTRAITURE?
Indeed! I am currently working on a project that tests the limits of how far we can go to represent ourselves in one single portrait. Do we incorporate elements which reflect who we are? Do we identify ourselves through materialism? Do we associate ourselves with anyone else? Eventually, the goal is to identify these subjects and photograph them whilst also emphasising the reflection of their mental state. I will be working within a very interesting niche and I am looking forward to discovering how this experience will elevate my practice.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR THEMES AND LOCATIONS?
Locations and themes tend to work themselves out for
me. Yes, I would work on having some sort of a concept, however I don’t emphasise too much on that. Location is key as it compliments the subjects intended style and pose. My most adventurous location was a beach. The sea all the way up to my chest so I could photograph Corinne’s portrait. I absolutely loved the colours and textures. One particular portrait was taken in the studio with one of my dearest friends, Justine. She was helping me out with an assignment at the time and she managed to make a stressful situation, fun and entertaining instead. She has always had a style which stands out from everyone else which is precisely why I chose her for my studio portraits. Her portrait emphasises strength in femininity, whilst also emphasising her rebellious side.
DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH WOMEN MORE THAN MEN?
I photograph men and women equally. However, my
ultimate favourite portraits are of the women I capture.
Women have a more expressive side and tend to not
worry about their poses and facial expressions too much
(at least the women I know). Whilst men, try to over
pose at times and try to reflect an air of masculinity,
when that was never what I was going for in the first
place. It is crucial for both men and women of any sexual
orientation to feel free to let go. There is a very thin line
between representing yourself and showing your own
original true qualities and then creating a persona you
feel others can relate to or rather, intimidate in order to
gain the attention you desire.
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