Interview: Jonathan Moore

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Jonathan Moore

Landscape/Wedding Photographer

Tell us a little about yourself (who you are, where you are based, what you shoot, etc.)

I grew up in a small town called Athens, TN. I graduated high school in ’07 and after that I toured in a couple of hardcore bands in the South.

I eventually worked a construction job for two years, so I’ve met quite a few interesting people along the way.

I somehow landed myself in college studying photography where I felt like I was paying tuition just to get critiqued. That didn’t last long, but I do cherish the friendships I made during that time.

I was shooting a lot of everything back then, but I mostly liked shooting live shows and portraits of my friends. When I moved to Portland, OR three years ago I focused on shooting mostly large format and medium format film.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

How and why did you get into landscape photography?

Hiking is a big part of my life. I’ve been into the outdoors ever since I can remember. I think 90% of getting a good landscape shot is actually getting to the location. Nature will do the rest.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography is another artform of communication. It’s the best way I can show people my vision and expression.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

What’s your favorite camera/lens setup? Why?

It would have to be the Pentax 67 and the 105mm 2.4. The combo mimics the large format look and it’s super simple to shoot and operate.

Tell us about your photography techniques and the post processing of your photos.

I shoot a lot of Ektar 100, so naturally my camera is on a tripod most of the time.

I manage a theatrical lighting warehouse as my day job and have access to a lot of lighting and effects equipment, so I try to utilize that whenever I can to make my photos look more interesting.

I typically shoot about 2-3 rolls since I can only get 10 frames from one roll.

If it’s black and white, I’ll develop it myself and scan. If it’s color, I drop it off at my local lab and get develop only so I can scan myself.

I scan everything through my Epson V500 that I bought from a Goodwill for $10. It’s a trooper. Although I like scanning everything myself, it takes so much time removing dust that sometimes I pay the lab to do it if I want a quick turnaround.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

Should artists sell prints?

Absolutely!

I print all of my work at least 11x14.

I always say print bigger for everything; especially landscapes. It really gives the photograph a new perspective.

Do you derive any income from landscape photography? In what ways?

I’ve sold two small prints in all the years I’ve been shooting. I don’t market myself at all. I’ve made a lot more money doing the usual wedding and commercial work.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

Do you feel social media has a positive or negative effect on (new) photographers? Please elaborate.

I would say it generally has a long-term negative effect on people.

Instant gratification feels good and posting your work right away is great and all, but it’s really making me lazy. I understand that it can lead to good opportunities, but it destroys the value of images in my opinion.

Where do you find inspiration to keep going, even when things get tough?

I recently took a three-month hiatus, so I definitely know what that’s like. It took someone on Instagram hitting me up that was really interested in shooting with me to get me out of the rut. Even though I was reluctant, I just said yes, and the shoot was amazing.

Looking up some of my favorite photographers every now and then to see what they’re up to works, too. I also like to look at printed work, so I’ll swing by the local book stores and look at their books/magazines.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

Who are some of your biggest inspirations? What is it about their work that inspires you?

Paul Thomas Anderson, David Hilliard, Alec Soth, Greg Miller, Erika Larsen, Daniel Cronin, Stanley Kubrick, Daniel Naude, Zeb Andrews, Gregory Crewdson, and Sally Mann.

Each one of those people have very different styles of work, but they have collectively built my style and inspiration.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could turn back time?

I would stop trying to act cool for other people and focus more on myself.

What message do you wish to send with your imagery? How do you make sure your images convey this properly?

If anything, I want the viewer left questioning and wanting more from my images. I try to portray a narrative or story of some kind, but not knowing exactly what that story may be.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

If you could only take one more picture, what do you think it would be of? How would you begin to make that decision?

My mom tells me stories of the little market we used to live above and work at when I was a baby in a very small town called Canal Point, FL.

I’m not sure if it’s still standing, but I would love to photograph the very beginnings of my life and where I lived.

What goals do you have for your photography/work?

My number one goal is to start working on a larger scale.

When I usually do a shoot, I’ll bring a couple of lights and maybe a fog machine and make things up as I go. I’d like to start using a lot more lights and plan my shoots out better for a clearer storyline.

I want my work to have a story behind the image but have the viewer questioning what that story actually is.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com

What is an average day like for you?

I would love to say that my photography reflects my lifestyle, but it doesn’t. This plays a lot into what social media can falsely portray among others; seeming like I’m really active when I’m not.

I work an 8-5 job through the week and I mostly hang out with friends after work.

I try to plan my weekends to have at least one photography project but living in Portland is pretty distracting because there’s a lot of fun to be had.

With all that being said, I love watching movies and documentaries.

 Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer -  www.jontakesphotos.com

Jonathan Moore - Landscape Photographer - www.jontakesphotos.com


If you have enjoyed this interview, be sure to check out Jonathan's website and go buy one of his beautiful prints!

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