Travel & adventure
An interview with adventure photographer Jack Watson - Part 1
As we continue our quest for constant inspiration, we look to a recent Instagram find of ours—Jack Watson. The second we discovered his beautiful feed, we knew we had to get in touch and find out more about the man behind the lens.
The stunning portfolio sees a mixture of outdoor adventure imagery, epic drone scenes and atmospheric surf shots, spanning the British coast and beyond.
Well that takes me back! In 2010 I bought a Fujifilm S2000, it took stills and video and was great for carrying around in a bag and having fun snapping away. It was perfect for what I wanted to shoot. It’s funny, as everything evolves, even in 8 years, it isn’t even half as good as what you find in an iPhone these days; but it was great first camera. Although I don’t have it anymore I think some embarrassing films are still floating around online, hopefully lost forever!
Drone or DSLR?
At first I thought this was going to be a hard choice as they are both great tools, especially now that these drones are so small with such fantastic quality imagery—you can take them anywhere and capture amazing scenes you just can’t see from the ground.
I have to say the DSLR takes it for me; I have travelled the world with my Sony in my hand and it was perfect. Shooting with completely manual professional lenses and being able to frame the image just as you want it; it is so hands on and really feels like your piece of work.
DSLRs can also work in almost every environment and/or conditions, unlike a drone which needs rather specific conditions and is limited to safe zones.
Surf or landscape photography?
I love going out and capturing incredible landscapes, but in a way these shots are quite readily available (light depending!).
I think this is why I prefer shooting surfing; it’s a game of odds and it’s actually hard to get the shot you want. There are so many factors at play: wind, swell, weather, tide, time of day and the luck of knowing which spot is on that day. Getting the ultimate shot is always a challenge, and a very rewarding one.
I also love featuring people in my photography. Whether it is portraits or sport, having a clear subject that draws the eye can really tell fantastic stories.
Probably no surprises for anyone that knows his work! Chris Burkard’s photography and the adventures he undertakes to get his shots look like so much fun.
Always travelling to crazy unknown locations, his images are beautifully curated stories of adventure and really inspire me to get out there and capture the world. He also seems like a great guy which is always very important to me.
I feel like ‘toy’ can relate to a lot of things for me, I have always been on a board or wheels—skateboarding, longboarding, skimboarding, surfing, cycling and skiing.
Right now though I have my mind set on a new ‘toy’—a Land Rover Defender. I’m on a mission to snatch a second hand one I can do up and use as my adventure vehicle. I was lucky enough to drive one recently and they are great. Simple, powerful and timeless pieces of history designed to go anywhere.
We can tell you’ve been in the industry for a little while now, how did it all start?
Both my parents worked in the photo and TV industries all of their lives. I was filming and editing my skate films for fun back in 2010 and one day it dawned on me that my parents were doing exactly the same thing. I think catching that bug was inevitable, and it is 100% the best bug I ever caught.
What are some of the best/most fun jobs you’ve taken on so far?
I think being flown to New Zealand for a two-day shoot on the south island is always a great memory but I have to say the most fun I’ve had was in San José del Cabo, Mexico. Before we started working there I had two days off with a couple of mates, a Jeep Wrangler and three surfboards.
We surfed, explored, took photos and ate shrimp tacos; not quite work but the photos I took there are some of my all-time favourite. A great trip…
Do you have a favourite photograph (yours or someone else’s), and how did it inspire you in the work that you do?
I have many favourite images of all different genres but one that really stuck in my mind is an odd one. There was a photo pinned on the wall of my art class when I first found my desire to take photos. It was shot by Alec Soth, and was a surreal full body portrait of a man holding a toy plane; it really drew me in with its unusual style and surroundings.
The way the man is looking straight to camera with his beloved possessions tells a fantastic story of a man and his inner child. I have taken a few shots like this, but have not been able to get the same feel just yet. This photo always pushes me to capture in new ways.
Join us on Monday 12th March for part 2 of our interview with Jack, where we find out more about his working environment, what inspires him as an outdoors lover and his aspirations going forward.
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