Interview & Jono Madison
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
I’m actually an LA native and was born in raised in Los Angeles, California. So I did not have to travel too far since my backyard was my industry.
GIVE ME A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR CAREER TRAJECTORY – PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED OR NOT, OPPORTUNITIES THAT LED TO BREAKTHROUGHS.
At a young age, I got into drawing and acrylic painting, that still is something that I enjoy doing but at that young age, I found myself so frustrated with trying to find the right medium. I then got into makeup and found that I’m a people person and really enjoy working with a subject. I then found this little program called Adobe Photoshop, in high school I spent my summer infatuated with the program and taught myself how to use it! Mind you, this is years before the age of YouTube tutorials (don’t do the math), but I found myself in yahoo forums of how to use each tool within the program.
I saved some money my first year in college and bought a reasonably priced digital camera, wasn't a professional camera either and started to fabricate my own photo shoots. Since I didn’t have the type of portfolio I have now, I had nobody that wanted to trust me to produce any type of content. So I took some inspiration of Cindy Sherman and started to take self-portraits, cast myself in some early ideas I had that I thought would make a good photo. I must say I had the best photos on MySpace and Model Mayhem, lol, just totally dated myself!
I then started to take things very seriously, when a very close friend of mine suggested that this could be a great career move for me. During that time I received an academic calendar from East Los Angeles College and noticed that they had the highest tech digital photography department, which still does. I enrolled and absolutely fell in love with it, from there I was able to work with actual working professionals in the field who saw potential in me, who helped push me into the direction where I’m at now.
SINCE THE PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES AND EQUIPMENT CHANGE QUICKLY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO STAY UP-TO-DATE. WHAT DO YOU DO TO ALWAYS KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES?
I think it’s very important to stay up-to-date with what is current and what can help you escalate your craft. However, if you do invest in something make sure that it’s something that something you need and is going to better you.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL TIES YOU IN PERSONALLY TO YOUR WORK?
I think what actually ties me and physically is the ability to be my own subject in my own work. Being able to be on both ends of the spectrum and delivering it, whether it is a series or a short story ability to be part of that is what ties me in.
HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN SHOOTING?
I have been shooting for over 10 years now, from the very beginning to my style now and professionally my company just had it’s 5 year anniversary! It’s my baby, now there has been a lot I have done to be where I’m at today, with a lot sacrifice, some people I don’t talk to anymore and many struggles. However, Rome was not built in a day, and I am extremely happy to watch this baby grow.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DEPTHS THAT YOU NEED TO GO TO IN ORDER TO STAY IN A CONSTANT MODE OF INNOVATIVE CREATION?
Keep shooting, keep those creative juices flowing. Doesn’t matter if your shooting for practice and probably never going to share the images that your shooting, but to consistently grow and manage your style.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO SHOOT MEN?
Yes and no, actual when I was building my portfolio, I originally started doing women’s fashion and beauty. There was a television show on the E! Network, it was called the Girls Next Door, and part of show was I see a behind-the-scenes look of the Playboy mansion and the stuff that goes into the magazine, and I fell in love with the concepts in the beauty that went into that style of work. It is a very tender part of my heart to this day with the beautiful imagery that has come through the Magazine and is still to this day one of my dream clients. The boys came around because I really needed to start shooting subjects other than myself and was fortunate to have a lot of good looking guy friends that were willing to pose for me. And it kinda snowballed once I started to share the images on social media, my inbox was full of guys that wanted to shoot, agencies wanted me to shoot there top models, and I went with it.
WHAT MAKES AN IMAGE ICONIC?
It’s giving a lasting feel, that makes you question what’s going on in this scene, the power that makes you stop in your tracks and takes a moment to take it all in, and finding things hidden gems within the image. That’s what I feel makes an image iconic.