04 August, 2007

Interview with my Flickr friend Jake ( Ojisanjake )

One day in Marrakesh5165

1. How did you first get interested in photography? And are you self taught?

I first started using a camera as a 17 year old art student. We were taught darkroom techniques, but given no instruction in actually taking pictures, so I guess that would make me self-taught, but I would hesitate to call myself a photographer, as I know nothing of lenses or f-stops etc. I used the camera as a kind of “sketch book” of visual materials that informed my painting. Interestingly, some of my most recent photos now look like my earlier paintings, and I rarely paint anymore. I completely stopped taking photos about 30 years ago. I didn’t like that everywhere I went I spent my whole time looking for things to photograph. It interfered with my life. I only started again a few years ago.

2. Do you have a favorite walk around lens? If so, what is it?

I only have one camera and one lens! I pick up the camera about once a week. I don’t carry it with me constantly, for the reason given above.

3. What equipment and software do you use?

My new camera is a Sony cybershot with 12x zoom and 7 megapixels. I really like it, especially the zoom, and though a wide-angle lens would sometimes be nice, I have no immediate plans to buy a DSLR. For software I just use an 8-year old version of Corel Photopaint. Generally I prefer old versions of software… they are smaller, leaner, faster, and bug-free. Mostly I just crop, and maybe tweak the tone-curve a little. I take a lot of photos, so don’t have a lot of time to spend processing them.

4. Which one item of equipment is the most important for you?

Spare batteries!!!!

5. How do you decide on locations and subjects?

Mostly my photos are taken when I am visiting somewhere new. I spend a lot of time walking the back-country of Japan, visiting shrines, so that is often the location and subject. Seeing something for the first time….with few expectations….. a kind of innocence of vision….. I think that is important to me.

6. What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

In the simplest sense, I take photos of what my eyes are attracted to. I take a lot of pictures, very quickly. I would liken my process to “automatic writing” or “action painting” in that it is improvised and intuitive. All the insightful comments I have gotten on my photos have really taught me about what it is I take photos of. I’m not sure I can add anything to what other people see, though I would suggest composition, elegance, essence. For me, the individual photo is not so important. It’s the sequence, the series of photos that is more important. The space between the photos, the continuity and the jumps, the movement in time and space as I follow my eyes….

7. What continues to inspire you as a photographic artist?

Getting up every day!

8. What is the one thing that you have not captured on camera you feel you need to express?

I would like to do better landscape photography….. I guess I need a wide angle lens for that…..

9. What other artists have influenced your work?

In my youth I was a great fan of Op Art. Victor Vasareley and Bridget Riley were my heroes. From there I got into the Constructivists, Mondrian, the Minimalists, and so on. Let’s not forget all the photographers on flickr and ipernity! I am greatly influenced by so many of them…. It’s hard to find anyone’s page that doesn’t have something that I learn from.

10. What other talents do you possess besides photography? And is there another area of talent you would like to explore?

I have dabbled in most media and mediums over the years, though I would not say I was talented in any of them. Most recently I’ve learned how to do stained glass, something I’ve wanted to learn for many years, and for the past year I have been enthralled with mask-making…What I like about ipernity is that it allows me to imtegrate my photos with my words, my music, etc.

11. Have you met other flick rites in person, and how was the experience?

I’ve met 4 flickerites here in Japan recently. My Cinco de Mayo set were taken while Ionushi and lamonse were visiting us, and my most recent set were taken the day we met Chucho and his daughter Anita in Fukuoka. Strangely, or not, they are all Mexican photographers. How was the experience? Very Mexican!

12. Any words of advice for those who would like to dig deeper into photography?

Study great art. Paintings, prints, sculpture, great movies, dance, music, poetry, novels. They are all about the same thing. I would also suggest forgetting the rules. Rules can be useful, but slavishly adhering to them is limiting. Learn and make your own rules!

13. Of all the photos you've taken, what is your favorite and why?

Usually I would say one of my most recent photos is my “best”, but on a personal level I really like this portrait of my wife as I managed to catch some of her “essence”. It was pure luck though, as is a lot of photography. www.flickr.com/photos/ojisanjake/436570037/in/set-72157600030109235/

14. If you could change anything on flickr, what would it be?
I would simply get rid of Explore. I dislike the way it is seen as a benchmark of quality, which it blatantly is not, and I dislike the competitiveness it causes.

These are the three photos that Jake want to show us in this interview:


Before Breakfast 14 of 120


Before Breakfast 61 of 120



Thanks to Jake for sharing a little of himself, a lot of great views and for reminding us that beauty can be in every spot.

We invite you to take a look also in his new "home" on Ipernity

angie_real aka Angela Lobefaro


piblokto^2 said...

Very great interview. Thanks for sharing (as we say on Flickr)!

I completely share Jake's view on photography I must say. I especially liked the notion that intuition is one of our best tools when creating art.


nkaramya said...

what an interview! so sincere, telling about the essence of the arts! enjoyed reading it! thank you! the part about the rules is great:)

contramowly said...

WHAAAAAAAAAAAATTTT?????? Mr. Natural confessing playing with tone curve!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it!!!!

Well done, Angie! Proposing you to change the name of the blog for "The pentotal experience" (:D)