Interview: Jessie Barker

Jessie Barker is an aspiring portrait and advertisement photographer. Her work is unique, talented and her eye for analogue photography is dreamy. I was lucky enough to have an interview with her about her photography and what she has been up to. 

Hello Jessie! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Hey Rhiannon! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed. I'm good thank you!

I adore your work. What inspired you to start taking photographs?

Thank you so much! At the age of seven, I went on holiday to Scotland with my mum and dad. My dad handed me a disposable camera, and since then, I've never put them down! My school introduced A Level photography where we had a studio and a dark room, which was where I really began to understand the more technical side of photography.

Have you always been into photography?

I have! Like I said in my previous answer, I've been interested since a child. I used to have a camera in my hand at every family trip, and because I was so interested, my family used to automatically hand me the camera. Family friends also used to pay me to photograph birthday parties, so it was a win win!

How has your creative process changed since the start?

A Level photography helped me to begin to understand the more creative process of photography. Before I just used to take photographs because I liked to, but it pushed me to understand the more technical elements. Heading into my third year of University studying Contemporary Lens Media has truly made me understand what I enjoy taking photographs of; being people.

What equipment do you use for your work?

I tend to use my own Canon 550D, which my dad bought as a joint Christmas present for both him and myself, but typically I used it more than him haha! I have a kit lens but also own a 55-250mm lens, which is more of a zoom lens; I use this to photograph things like the moon or sports from a long distance. I really want to invest in a portrait lens at some point. The University have a wide range of cameras and lenses and I typically use the Canon 5D Mark ii if I loan from them.

What equipment could you not live without?

Hmm, that's a tricky one. I'd probably have to say, aside from my camera and lenses, the studio high-glide lighting system. Although it's not personally my own and is the Universities, the studio is my happy place!

What equipment would you recommend for someone who wants to get into photography?

At first, I'd say a point and shoot bridge camera. Then maybe move on to a DSLR, stick with the kit lens until you know what you're doing! Lenses are very expensive and you don't want to end up buying something that you won't end up using. I got my camera and lens from Jessops and spoke to one of the customer assistants who was really helpful.

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

It really gets your name out there. The Internet is such a big place that there could be anyone out there who is willing to use you as a photographer. It's also essentially free advertising for your work! I've been able to find people to use for photo-shoots through Facebook and Instagram, which has helped with both my own understanding of people scouting and ways of professionally interacting with those who aren't friends or family.

Who inspires your work?

Oh wow, there's such a long list of people who inspire me. I'd probably have to say Adam Elmakias, Annie Leibovitz, and David Bailey. I love the way they work and one day hope to be as creative and successful as they are.

Why is photography important?

You step into a town centre, look into a shop window, what do you see? An advertisement. You go into a shop and see a newspaper or magazine, what do you see on the page? Photographs. There's so many different things that photography can communicate without words. I'd have to say, a world without photography would be a very boring and dull one.

Do you have any favourite pieces of photography that you adore at the moment?

At this current moment in time, I adore the work of Bruno Metra and Lawrence Jeanson, particularly the series of work 'ID 1'. Their images are so powerful and present such strong views about society and the magazine industry without any words being spoken.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Facebook page?

Hopefully I'll be working more along the line of portraiture, although it's a tricky one as some people don't want their portraits posted all over Facebook! I'm going into my third year at University, so there will be a lot of work produced this year!

Do you have any career plans?

As you've probably guessed, I love working with people. I really want to work for a magazine or advertising company to shoot portraits or advertisements, and I also want my own studio and lighting system for side projects. I best get saving haha!

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to set up their own Facebook page?

Definitely invite your friends and family to like the page - the more the merrier. Post your best work, you don't have to post every single photograph you take, but make sure you keep it updated! When you've uploaded something, share the post to your own personal Facebook profile, that way the people on your friends list who haven't seen your page, can!

Do you have any advice for photographers?

Get as much experience as you can, even if it's voluntary. The more work you produce, the better you'll become, and the more work you will actually have to show people! I volunteer at the University as a student photographer and am now always being asked if I want to photography different events or things for people - I say I want to specialise in portraiture, but I've got into sports photography from volunteering as well! Don't be afraid to offer your work if someone is wanting images taking!

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

The only thing I can think of is 'don't stop', because if you stop, you'll lose that spark and that passion you once had.

If you would like to see more of her photography work please make sure you all take a look at her Facebook page 'Jessie Barker' and her Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessiebarkerphotography. 

Rhiannon BrittenComment