Please welcome Jill Coleman, our week 6 featured photographer.
1) Why black and white?
I actually like both color and Black and White. It depends on my mood, right now its B&W. I grew up looking at pictures in Life magazine etc and love the Magnum type style but then again I love National Geographic images too. Dorothea Lange has to be my greatest influence and I love the work of the South African photographer , Obie Oberholzer.
2) Where do you live and what effect does it have on your
I live in South Africa, in the Western Cape in an area called The Klein Karoo. I move around quite often and wherever I am I adapt for my photography. There is also great light here. The people I photograph are my neighbors and I am mostly in walking distance of my subjects.
3) Tell us about this set you have of people from Klein Karoo.
Probably the best way to describe the series, is by reading this article published in Issue 13 of JPG Magazine.
4) I noticed that you have many images with 2 or 3 people, how is the dynamic different for you as compared to shooting a single subject portrait?
When I stared I only used to only shoot one person but then I wanted to include families, siblings etc but I always notice one special expression in my group shots and the viewer normally is drawn to that person. I always talk while I am shooting and it distracts the person and then they feel more at ease.
5) Any influences on flickr or streams you love to watch?
I would have to say Rui Palha, Junku – Newcleus and lately Carf.
6) Are there any subjects you won't photograph?
Yes, violent images and there is a lot of alcoholism here and I will not show people losing their dignity. Cruelty to animals or children, cruelty to anyone. I will try and stop it but I won’t photograph it.
7) How personally involved do you get with your subjects?
I get quite personally involved but at the same time I respect people’s cultures and way of life and I will not interfere in that. Some become friends, some prefer to keep me at a distance and I respect that. I always try to give folks I shoot the photographs, and most families here have them in their homes.
8) What camera is on your wish list?
I would like to upgrade eventually but I am happy with the 350D, I certainly need some more lenses as I only have two and one is broken. I supposed I would love to try the Leica digital one day but I make do with what I have.
9) Out of the 10 photos chosen for Spotlight Seven, which one is your favorite? tell us something about it.
I like the untitled one of Trish, the close up of the woman, her hand and rings and bangles the one false nail missing, I took it in Australia when I spent some time there last year and to me, it captures her perfectly, a fascinating and real woman. Of all my photographs I like Sophia the best. The two little boys boys playing the home made guitar.
10) What are your goals in regards to your photography in the near future?
I don’t really set goals, I take my life day by day, as long as I enjoy what I do with my photography I am content. I am not at all competitive in photography and while I will enter a few competitions a year, I do not get involved much in the “you click mine, I will click yours” as it really does not make much sense to me but I try to answer every single person who writes to me and I do have a really bad internet line so I can’t look at others work as much as I would like to. I will be traveling to the U.S.A in March this year so I would love to meet other photographers and learn from them and of course just to shoot in a different setting is incredibly exciting. I certainly want to exhibit and feel as if I am almost ready to, I think in photography , you need to “pay your dues”…and not just expect everything to fall into your lap. I do not make a living from photography, I work for my family business, I am a very simple person and while photography is my passion I also am very grounded and realize that other things in life are just as important like family, friends etc. I think photography is a wonderful creative outlet and it is great that so many people have access to it now via the internet, digital etc and anything that promotes creativity is good. Yes there is a lot of crap too but at least people try and it should be available to everyone, not be an “exclusive club”. ! Some will be better than others and have more success but that is the same with everything in life, I am grateful for what I have achieved and most of all I suppose I strive for reality in my work and am thankful to everyone it may inspire.