LF Man 2018: #1 Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Daniel Pryce is an award winning photographer based in London UK, maybe more widely known by his digital pseudonym and blog name; GarconJon. His work famed for capturing and documenting street style images of the fashion world’s most influential male tastemakers has garnered a huge following. Alongside curating his digital platforms he has published several bodies of work including 100 beards, Gentlemen and Man/Men journal. His regular clients include Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Mr Porter. What are your first memories of photography? My mother used to be a singer and lived in London in the 1970s. As a child I remember looking through her promotional photographs, the images are still vividly etched in my mind. I feel that time really gave me a strong feeling of how valuable imagery can be, when I had my first small camera around the age of eight I began to look into photography more seriously. Do you come from an artistic family? Somewhat yes, my mother is musical and my sister is a fantastic artist although she doesn't do it professionally. Creativity was and is definitely encouraged in my house. How do you think photography has developed over the last ten years? Everything has changed with the Internet and digital cameras. Only 10 years ago I was still using a point and shoot 35mm film camera for taking snapshots. Now those sorts of fun everyday pictures are shot on my iPhone. If you think about how dominant it is now to ‘Get your work to be seen’ on Instagram, whereas 10 years ago and it didn't even exist. It's changed in some ways for the better and then some for the worse and that’s the way it is. What are you projections for the future of the industry? More and more people have access to cameras that take quality images. I'm always surprised what my iPhone can do. Demand for imagery in general has gone. Just think about the number of magazines and advertising campaigns that use photography rather than illustration or computer graphics. I think more people will become more astute and have a more educated understanding of what a quality image is. What I think won't necessarily change is the need for professional people who have training. You can have all of the technology and Photoshop in the world but that won't replace the experience and good lighting. But then again in a lot of ways it already has so I don't really know to be honest. Where are you based and how do your surroundings influence your work? I'm based in London but last year I was travelling for nine or 10 months out of the year. My office at home is definitely a blank canvas to help me be creative. It has a very large desk and large windows so I get a lot of light. The main images by my workspace are actually family photographs that I've taken. I don't really surround myself with my commercial work. Do you have any advice for young photographers starting out? I think the thing to do is to start on film which is what I did and also practice practice practice! There are only so many books you can read and lectures you can go to. Nothing can replace being out in the field taking photographs and learning from your mistakes. Who are your favourite photographers of the past and present? I love portraiture so giants like Annie Leibovitz and Alasdair McLellan are obvious photographers that really stand out. They have pushed the genre forward in their own ways. I'm more of a fan of showing personality and imagery rather than a glossy image which is all about clothing. My favourite photo book is ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’ by James Agee with photographs by Walker Evans. It's this kind of storytelling through imagery that I find really inspiring. How would you describe your genre of photography? I am best known for my street style I suppose but I would class myself more as a classic portrait photographer. It's hard to define yourself. I just take photographs of people and things that I like. What is your favourite subject to shoot? I love people. I love talking to people. I love any other story. I love the fact that the camera enables me to start conversations that otherwise would feel awkward or forced. Who is the most interesting person you have shot, so far? There are so many people over the years I've probably photographed over 10,000 subjects I would guess. I always idolised Paul Weller as a child so when I was asked to photograph him that was a real treat. He did not let me down. How would you describe your personal style? I love practical clothes that work while I'm shooting but also when I'm socialising. Really it's British and American workwear from mid-century that I love. Vintage clothing inspires me a lot. I would say my favourite brands are Universal Works, Margaret Howell and Nigel Cabourn. I appreciate simple high quality design. Were you interested in fashion growing up? Yes it was fashion photography that got me into this profession. When I was in school I would sit in our class in my lunch breaks and look through the magazines that my teacher would bring in. She had a huge back catalogue of Vogue magazines and I loved devouring the pages. I still remember the imagery from Nick Knight and Corinne Day in the 1990s that first caught my attention. What were your go-to magazines as a teenager? I used to love ID magazine. I also bought a lot of The Face and when Katie Grand launched POP I thought that was brilliant. My taste has changed a lot over the years but those really stuck in my mind. Music was also huge for me so I loved Q and Rolling Stone magazine.