Jonathan Moore is a Portland-based photographer whose work is all about capturing amazing sights and inspiring people. He stepped into the world of photography because he was always fascinated with different types of art media. In this interview, Jonathan reveals why he started doing landscape photography as well as what motivates him to shoot on film.
Hey Jonathan! Welcome to our Magazine! How did you get involved with photography?
I’m so glad to contribute! I didn’t really have a lot of friends that were into photography growing up so I was mostly inspired by photographs I saw online that ran alongside the graphic design community. When I got my first camera, I started taking pictures of everything. I knew that portraits and landscapes were the things that I wanted to photograph the most, so I practiced that.
I then went to school for graphic design in 2011 but changed my studies to photography after taking a photo class my first semester. I attended a couple of lectures by Alec Soth and David Hilliard and they really sparked my interest and inspired me to take my photography to the next level.
What attracted you specifically to landscape photography?
I really like exploring and hiking locations that aren’t so common. Every sunset and sunrise are different. Every season has something new to offer. Being detached from my day job and society is a rare thing for me, so I like to capture those moments before they’re gone.
How much your life changed since you stepped into the world of photography?
Whether it was drawing, painting, or design, I’ve always been involved with some medium of art. Photography is part of that, but it also allows me to document the story of my life and others in a way that works for me. I’m not always operating at my best in real time, so composing what I see and visiting the photos later is very special. It’s really taught me a lot about communication and vision.
What sparks your inspiration the most?
I get the most inspiration from watching movies. I grew up in front of the tv, so I’m naturally drawn to movie stills. I think my more recent work resembles that. There’s also the element of storytelling. I’m a sucker for photography that has a narrative. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t always have to be a story that’s visually happening in the photograph, but part of a larger picture of the photographer’s life story and where they’ve been.
I understand you moved to Vancouver in 2015. What do you miss the most about your hometown? How old were you when you made your very first photograph?
The thing I miss most are my friends and how simple things used to be. I wish I could have photographed them in the way I photograph now. We had all the time in the world. I went on an art club trip in 2002 to New York City. My mother was a chaperone and she brought the family camera (a Minolta SLR) and actually let me use it. I remember taking a lot of pictures from that trip but the ones that stood out the most were a few that I took on top of the Empire State Building and a few of the seemingly endless streets during sunset.
What made the biggest impact on your photographic style?
When my colleagues would ask me “Why?” during critiques, it really motivated me to get serious about my photography. I also studied my favorite photographers and practiced their techniques and views. The bigger push was selling my digital cameras. I shoot mostly film now and it’s been a game changer. My work is more cinematic now. It’s what I’ve always wanted.
In this digital era, what is it that motivates you to shoot on film?
For me, it really depends on the format. If I’m shooting 35mm, it’s usually on a point-and-shoot camera and I’ll have a carefree attitude about it. Every picture comes out amazing, even if it’s out of focus. To me, they look more like memories than pictures.
When I’m shooting a larger format, it’s purely looking through the viewfinder and seeing the “bigger picture” if you will. I also love the many different types of film out there ( huge thanks to you guys) to experiment with. I’ll never stop trying new films as long as they’re coming out. Also, the dynamic range and color of the film definitely don't hurt.
What is it that you want to communicate throughout your photography?
It really depends on what I’m shooting. With my more narrative work, I’m usually trying to create a scene that doesn’t quite tell the full story, so the viewer is left with mystery and the want for more. When I’m shooting landscapes, I try to keep it simple by photographing my personal favorite places to share with the rest of the world that maybe don’t have access to them.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I’m currently working on a photo series that’s based around “restlessness” in different scenarios. It’s really a study of where boredom or anxiety can lead to certain strange or bewildering situations. I would really like to make a book out of it. I’m also working on an online print shop with a collective of artists.