INTERVIEW

June 25, 2021

ECCENTRI-CITY

IN CONVERSATION WITH DANNY JACKSON

Photography by Danny Jackson
Interview by Karin Svadlenak Gomez

Danny Jackson is a passionate street, event, wedding, and portrait photographer from Essex. He candidly captures quirky and beautiful moments around him and is especially interested in characteristically "British" moments. One of the reasons he loves photography is that it gives him the feeling that he can leave something meaningful behind. His photographs often include an element of humour and he tries to tell stories of moments in time.

TPL: Danny please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

DJ: I'm a street, portrait, and documentary photographer from Canvey Island, Essex. I like documenting Britishness, eccentric characters, and maybe attempting to inject some humour into the photos I take. I've always been a bit of a people watcher, people interest me, I suppose street photography is an extension of that interest. In 2019 I started working on a portrait series called 'Eccentric Essex', this project consisted of people of a eccentric nature photographed in their own homes. The Pandemic bought me the opportunity to go through my work, which in turn has lead to the development of the series 'This is Essex', and 'EccentriCity'. Both of these series focus on eccentric and interesting people. Why Eccentrics? I've asked myself that question quite a lot, and I suppose the main reason is eccentric people seem to live life a different way to the rest of us, they rebel against the established approach, and let their interests and passions consume their lives. In 2020, I won first place in the “Love your Friends” category in the “Love in London” photography competition, securing third place overall. This year I appeared in The Independent Online and The Mail Online as well as local papers showcasing my recent series 'This is Essex'.

My father died a few years ago and it had quite a profound effect on me, it made me feel the fugacity of life, and it changed me. It made me want to leave something behind.

TPL: How do you find inspiration?

DJ: Everyone tends to say ‘Instagram’ on this question, and that tends to be the same for me too, although inspiration can come from all kinds of different things, the way light shines on an object, a painting in an art gallery, I also have quite a collection of photo books that I like to look at.

TPL: What do you want to express through your photography? What are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?

DJ: Humour is something I’m always looking for in my photographs and that’s something that can be quite a challenge to pull off. I people watch all of the time, and if I see something that stirs something in me, whether it be a smile or a laugh, I believe if I can capture that in an image, it should stir up the same feeling in someone else. Storytelling is also something I try my best to do.

TPL: Do you have a favourite place to go photograph?

DJ: I like to search for eccentric and interesting people, so my favourite places are the places they dwell, which for me is Brick Lane, Camden, The Southbank, Soho and London's parks.

TPL: What happens when you go out with your camera? Do people respond positively to you, or do you sometimes get negative reactions? If yes, how do you handle it?

DJ: On the whole its very positive, I always make good eye contact with people who I want a portrait of, and with a big smile I approach. I've always been quite good at reading people and can normally tell if people are going to be easy going. If there ever is any problem my best advice would be to resolve the situation as quick as possible, forget about it and move on.

TPL: When you take pictures, do you usually have a concept in mind of what you want to shoot, or do you let the images just "come to you", or is it both?

DJ: With the portraits I usually do pretty much the same thing every time so that’s pretty easy, occasionally I'll try to focus on one idea with the street shots, or a theme, but, most of the time I’m just hunting.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?

DJ: In art, I really love portrait artists Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. I’m also a big fan of Salvador Dali (a wonderful eccentric). Also Banksy of course.

In photography, a lot of people believe my work to have a little of Martin Parr in it, and I’ll agree with that, I am a fan of his, but also Dougie Wallace, Bruce Gilden, Matt Stuart, Elliott Erwitt and Vivian Maier.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

DJ: I have a few Nikon cameras, a 7200, a 5400, and a 3200, and a load of prime lenses, I mostly have a 35mm or 50mm on the camera but also have a 70-300mm zoom, which are great for events where there’s tons going on around you or you don’t want to disturb the scene.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

DJ: I've always wanted to do a book, “The Eccentrics” series or the “This is Essex” series I think could work in book form. I would also like to have done a lot more portraits by then. An exhibition in London would also be a bit of a dream.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

DJ: I have an exhibition coming up at Mancave Antiques in Leigh on Sea with both series being shown in September, that’s part of The Leigh Art Trail.

Currently Todd Viser (@zoomento) and I have been doing interview/chats on @street_badass through Instagram TV. We have met a tonne of great photographers including your esteemed editor Karin (@in_publico), and doing that has been an amazing experience...it's like doing a masters in photography.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

DJ: Spend time with my family. I have a son, two daughters and a brilliant, pretty wife, oh and two dogs. We like to go out somewhere and do something every Sunday together."