I spent the definitive years of my life growing up in the wide open landscapes of the Namib Desert, Eastern Free State, Namaqualand and various other remote “dorpies” (villages) of Southern Africa. After receiving a first class degree in Cinematography in Cape Town I spent a number of years in commercial film making as a “spark” working on films such as “Blood Diamond” and “Lord or War” before finding my true passion in landscape and lifestyle photography. My style and inspiration stem from the beauty of the natural environment, forming narratives through the interaction of subject and surroundings. Favouring the manipulation of ambient light adds to the mood of my images, emphasising subtle details without drawing the viewer’s attention away from the narrative.
The most important thing for me is story telling and I’m able to express a greater tale through a collection of shots because of this sensibility for creating scenes and capturing “The moment”. I now live in London (for my sins) but dream golden fringed of alpine sunsets and crystal lakes in the not too distant future!
What websites/blogs/people do you draw inspiration from? Who do you follow on Instagram?
Being an outdoorsman myself, I guess I’m naturally drawn to the work of other outdoor lifestyle photographers like the legend Steve McCurry with his effortless portrayal of everyday life in parts of the world your average person would never see.
Also the likes of fellow South African Kelvin Trautman who relates the finest details of the gruelling life of elite athletes with their challenging environments. Those are just two of a long list but basically they make me want to get out the door and document!
Please can you take a photograph of your kitbag, highlighting your favourite item, why you like it and a time when it has saved you! #everydaycarry
- Back-up Camera Canon 5D mk3
- 1st Camera Canon 5D mk4
- Preferred lens. Canon 24-70mm F2.8
- Olympus OM10 35mm film with 50mm f1.8 lens.
- Hard drive (Favourite piece of kit!) If you speak to anyone who’s ever had a laptop stolen without a backup they will understand!
- Card reader
- 8 CF Cards (incase I get carried away and my digi is nowhere to be seen!)
- Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Lovely piece of kit especially for close-ups of distant landscapes.
- Canon 85mm f1.8
- Canon 50mm f1.4
- Canon Speedlight. My least favourite piece of kit but sometimes you just need that little pop at the end of the day!
- Apple MacBook Pro
- When off piste in the UK I always like to have a hard OS Map with me just to make sure when a farmer get’s his shotgun out you can show him the right of access path!
Do you have a visual diary of your adventures and/or a favourite shot?
I’d say the closest to a visual diary I have is either my instagram @jonoblackham or my local travels for my Tumblr page My Island in the Clouds which basically documents the natural beauty of the UK while hiking!
How do you engage audiences with your imagery, is there a narrative to how you shoot?
I like looking at a wider picture when the light is just right, usually early morning or just before sunset, “magic hour” as it were. It’s great to really experience the moment first before documenting it and slowly I move in on the details, which tell more of the story. For example when I’m on a hike and I see someone else on the trail in the distance approaching me, I’ll take a few wide landscapes with them as a minor detail, and when we cross I’ll have a quick chat with them and try nudge them for a portrait, and finish off with some close ups of their muddied boots or OS Map. So wide landscapes to establish the story then gradually moving in finishing off with close up personal details. In an ideal world that is! Normally the sun has set by the time I’ve finished chatting!
I’d like one day to take photography tours to some of the remote places I’ve lived, to see what it looks like through someone else’s lens and simply to sit around a campfire with new friends and discuss the days visual opportunities.