Interview with photographer Jonathan Minster

I previously posted about JonathanI was very impressed by his works but now, that he replied to my questions, I am even more impressed: discover here the story of a talented kid that did not had the chance to love drawing because of his teacher, but still, he found a way to express himself: the photography.


When did you start doing photography? Do you have some artwork since you were a child?

The train picture was taken when I was 10, my Godparents bought the camera for my birthday. I had cameras before that, that I used to buy from jumble sales but I never had any film for them. I just played around with them.

Why did you choose this medium to express yourself?

I believe I can not draw, I could be wrong but that’s what I have in my head. My art teacher at school was dreadful and removed any sense of fun or enthusiasm for drawing and painting and I suppose being given a camera at such a young age I thought well I can do this and I do not need any of your help.


When and how did you find your style?

I’m still looking I kind of have it but I am never happy with my book I still feel it’s a little disjointed, but a lot of people seem to like it. Maybe I have a feel rather than a distinct look.
How do you work?

I prefer getting ideas on paper and then doing probably to much research into what is needed prop wise and then just get on with it, if I have an idea I get really excited about I need to act quick otherwise I will over analyze the whole thing and move on and it will never get shot. When I am commissioned I try and work through every scenario possible and then decide what I want to do but on the day it usually changes. I do not have certain way of lighting, every shot is individual and it often feels like I am starting out for the first time. I usually feel sick until the first shot is starting to fall into place then I relax.


What inspires you?

Inspiration comes from anything at all my family, pictures, books, magazines you name it. It does not seem to come for along time and the harder I try the less it comes so often it’s best to forget about it and do something completely different and then wham it comes and there is never a sketch book to hand.
What themes do you pursue?

Humor mainly I like looking at things in a different way if I can. I went through a phase of religion and death but I think  I was working things out of my system a kind of self imposed art therapy.
What’s your favorite art work?
Favorite art work? A book called Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, Cholesterol’s Revenge by Irving Penn this image by Stephen Gill from the Hackney Flowers series and any image of his from The Invisible series. I think it’s the humor in the shot or the title that I like in the enclosed images and the book everyone with any sense of imagination should read. I love the freedom expressed by Gill I find his work so removed from mine and I am pretty jealous of his bravery in ideas, look and framing


Do you make any difference between a work on a brief and you personal work?

No difference what so ever if you do not apply the same attention to detail and effort to your commissioned work as you do to your own personal work then no one will want to employ you. Most of my portfolio is personal work people like what they see and want/expect the same standard and as long as you are given the time and freedom you can achieve this
How important are awards?
My agent loves awards and I can understand why. I like them when I get in or win. Recently though I have come to realize that a lot are just pure money spinners why extend the deadline if it’s not just to get more entries and more money? A deadline should be met if your competition does not generate enough entries it’s either not well respected or well publicized. I know lots of photographers that are successful and do not enter awards and are not members of Photographic organizations and that is slowly the way I am headed. There is an argument that the best work does not often get selected as the selection process is by committee and we all know what happens when things are done by committee, what ever is being discussed or chosen gets weaker and weaker just to please every one.


To know more about Jonathan Minster, you can find his site here and his blog here. His twitter here: @jonathanminster. Vues site here.


Pictures, in the order of appearance:

The other two shots here are to illustrate his favorite works: Cholesterol’s Revenge by Irving Penn and the lorry is by Stephen Gill from The Hackney Flowers series.
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