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INTERVIEW

February 27, 2020

THE STREET FILES

Photography by John St.
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Meet John, an incredibly talented photographer from South Australia who fell in love with the art of capturing moments through his lens. John was born in South Shields, a town in the north-east of England. He migrated with his family to Australia and now resides with his wife in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. He considers himself fortunate to live in such a wonderful country.

John's passion for photography started with his love for good coffee, which he would capture with his mobile phone. This passion quickly grew, and John found himself exploring the beauty of architecture in and around Adelaide before discovering his true passion for street photography. John's work has been exhibited in a solo exhibition and several group shows, and he has been recognized for his talent with multiple photography awards. His dedication to street photography has opened up new doors and opportunities that he never thought possible. Living in such a wonderful country, John considers himself fortunate to be able to capture and share the beauty of Australia through his lens.

"I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with photography. It’s a one-eyed man looking through a little ‘ole. Now, how much reality can there be in that?"

David Hockney

IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN ST.

THE PICTORIAL LIST: Hello John, when did you first become interested in photography?

JOHN ST.: I’ve always been interested in taking pictures but it was only whenever we went on holiday or for that 'special occasion'. But June 2018 is when the interest became a passion.

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?

JS: My inspiration comes from a number of sources. Mainly from the beauty of everyday things, light and shadow, other famous photographers and many not so famous photographers that I follow on Instagram and Facebook.

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

JS: Fan Ho, Garry Winogrand, Saul Leiter, Trent Parke, Elliott Erwitt, and Sean Tucker

Some because of how I see the world and others because of their immense ability to see it differently.

TPL: Has your style of photographing changed since you first started?

JS: Yes, I started by taking pictures of coffee with my phone and images of buildings with no human elements in the frame! So I would certainly say that my style has changed and developed since I first started.

TPL: Where is your favourite place to shoot?

JS: Anywhere and everywhere and at any given time of the day or night. If I have my camera with me then that’s the time to shoot. So pretty much all of the time as I have my camera with me a lot!

Photography has taken me down a road that I never knew was there, and for that I’m truly grateful.

TPL: What characteristics do you think you need to become a better photographer? What’s your tips ?

JS: Passion/Patience/Tenacity/Eye/Creativity/Belief in yourself...but most of all have your camera with you all of the time. All the technical skills will come from taking shots or be learned…YouTube is your friend!

TPL: Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?

JS: No. If you were to ask me 20 months ago if I was artistic or creative then I would have said No Way Jose! It’s not that I didn’t want to be but more to do with not knowing where to look. Thankfully photography has taken me down a road that I never knew was there and for that I’m truly grateful.

TPL: Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?

JS: They say the best camera to use is the one you have on you! That might even be the one on your phone. Mark Fearnley is a street photographer from London. He’s taken some amazing images on the streets of Japan. I just watched a recent interview where he said some of his best shots that he’s ever taken were using his phone as that was all he had on him at the time. I had no idea that the shots he was referring to were taken using a phone!

I bought a cheapish Nikon D3400 when I decided to take the plunge June 2018 and buy my first ever DSLR camera. I had no idea how to use it so I just twiddled the knobs until I got a half decent image and watched a lot of YouTube for hints and tips. I then bought a 35mm prime lens which was difficult to master at first as I was forced to learn how to frame my shots instead of just zooming in with my 18-55 kit lens. The quality was far better too but that’s because I was forced to get closer to my subjects.

No matter the camera the principles are the same. If you can master those principles first before shopping for a more expensive camera then you’re onto a winner. In saying that I did end up buying an Fujifilm XT3 which I just love! Love! Love! But I don’t use it too anywhere near it’s full capabilities! But I do love the feel of it, the manner in which the exposure triangle (SS/ISO/A) are set out etc. The Fuji colour science is also stunning in my honest opinion too.