October 10, 2011

Interview: Little Miss Joey

I'm so excited to welcome Little Miss Joey to 52 Photos Project!  She is a photographer who tells stories through everyday moments, which have left such an impression on me. I love a good story :) Please welcome:

aka - LMJ

How did you & your camera meet :) Take me back to when you first became interested in photography?

My current camera and I met last June in an office at work. It was love at first sight and we get on very well.

My first DSLR though, was a Nikon D80. It served me well and I still have it. That too was love at first sight! When I held it I knew it was the one. When I was researching cameras, back in 2009, I read you should always hold the camera in your hand; that’s how you know it’s the one for you. So I did. And you know what? It’s true!

I also have a film camera, a Pentax KX. It’s a good looking camera, if a bit temperamental and in need of maintenance. I have explored the world a little bit with it, but there’s still a lot to try and experiment with.

My love of photography goes way back to the days before digital. Dad is a photography fan; although he doesn’t take that many photographs, he loves the subject and has a few cameras, some very old ones just for display, and numerous books which I was fascinated with when I was younger. I always knew I wanted to explore this passion further and one day I was finally able to. Hold on to your dreams!

Currently, what's inspiring you to go out and shoot photos?

Everything seems to inspire me these days, which is a good thing. I’m drawn to light first and then colour. Light is definitely the main driving force behind my photography, or I certainly like to think so and am aiming for that.

Little Miss Joey the blog is also a major factor in getting me out and about with my camera. I like writing the blog and I have this self imposed commitment of having at least a photo per post, which means I have to photograph. Whilst I’m not great on the long term photographic projects and challenges a lot of people embark on (jealousy, really!), I have a few things in my head I would like to accomplish, mainly around collections, like a comprehensive set on Oxford (where I live), another one on Porto (where I’m from) and so on, so when I go out I have this in mind: to describe/illustrate the places I’m in, as I see them. I find this to be a good way to motivate myself, because there’s always a street you haven’t captured, or a light you haven’t yet photographed in, or a tree changing colour, or a different cloud, wherever you look there is something that wasn’t there when you last looked.

Do you carry your camera(s) with you at all times or when the mood calls for it?

I carry my camera with me most of the time. My scientific mind informs me it’s around 97% of the time. I got into this habit last January and have kept it since. It is indeed the best way to improve one’s photography and make the most of opportunities and not-to-be-missed moments. Because a DSLR can be quite bulky (and I have back problems), I started using my 50mm lenses all the time. This fabulous lens not only makes my D90 so much lighter, but it also makes me think more carefully about composition and what I’m seeing. I find it difficult to switch to other lenses now.

When I don’t have my big camera, I carry my iPod Touch and/or a small Sony W50. There’s so much you can do with these little beauties and I find I explore completely different things when I use them.

The film camera I don’t carry with me as often and when I do is because I really want to use it that day. The poor thing has been neglected for a while now; this interview is reminding me I should let her out more often. Hum…!

What do you feel most comfortable taking photos of?  If you could step outside of your comfort zone for a day, tell me what you would photograph?

I photograph stuff. I like to think of it as little snippets of life, but that’s just a fancy name for… stuff! Yummy breakfasts, my feet, Oxford buildings, faces, hands, flowers, stuff. I was very resistant to this classification at first, and then came to embrace it and enjoy whatever subject I choose to photograph. What I like about this all-encompassing labelling is that it’s not limiting me in any way; under it, I still feel free to explore new photographic approaches, shoot doors and bells and skylines and people laughing, using my big camera or my iPod.

Interestingly, I started collaborating in the These Moments group indeed because I was photographing moments all the time. Yet another name for the little snippets of life I so treasure.

One thing I’ve been trying to do for ages now, is Street Photography. I don’t mean the sneaking-up-behind-you-and-shooting-in-your-face type thing, I mean the portrait of life as we see it go past us when we’re out and about. Ana Omelete is my hero on this and I would love to photograph street scenes like she does. What she accomplishes is way outside my comfort zone, not only on subject matter, but on technical skill, and it’s definitely the one thing I would choose to explore and develop further!

You're originally from Portugal and now you live in England. Tell me a bit about what you've learned from photographing life in a new country. 
The one thing England teaches you is not to plan your life around the weather. For two reasons: 1. it rains quite a lot, so if you’re waiting for good weather you may never leave the house; 2. the weather forecast people say it will be sunny and then it’s not and all your plans end up soaked, literally! So, in the UK, do your own thing and if the weather is on your side, great!, If not, it’s OK too.
Light in the UK can be truly fairytale-like… when it’s there. For those precious moments that we have it, it’s absolutely stunning. The only problem is: it’s not here very often, especially in Winter, and you never really know when you’re going to get it. This makes it all the more fun and us, UK inhabitants, very grateful little people when we are lucky enough to have *the* light.

In Portugal, we don’t really have a completely only grey day and definitely not two in a row. With very little planning, I can take some decent shots of my little snippets of life. In the UK… oh well, it’s a different ball game. I’m not sure people in Portugal realise how lucky they are. Living in the UK really makes you more appreciative for that magic light and good weather; you also become more creative to work around those things you have no control over (such as the weather), but really impact on what you’re trying to do. So you may come up with better indoor lighting techniques, if you must photograph a hat you’ve just knitted, or make sure you have your camera ready for when the light is just so and you can capture those great shoes you just got, and the list goes on.

Something else that is very different here is people’s attitude to photography. People in the UK are more aware of being photographed and typically less amused by the fact, so if you’re shooting outdoors you really have to master the art of the adorable smile whilst pretending you’re not really seeing them. I’m still working on this one, as typically I go red and look guilty even if I didn’t photograph them. It’s a work in progress.

Who are some of the photographers that have inspired you?
Inspiration is all around and for me it started with books. I was (and still am) a nature lover and anything produced by National Geographic got my attention. From that, their other series came to my attention and I was hooked on people photography. Taschen is also a great place to find inspirational images.

When I became aware of my love of photography, if there were a date to be put on it, I found Henri Cartier-Bresson. I love his style and how he could photograph just about anything and make it interesting. There are other photographers of that time that I love discovering.

Then I found Flickr. Let me tell you what a discovery that has been. There are a several photographers whom I love following the work of and this list could on for a while depending on my state of mind on the day I write it. I’ve selected but a few to mention.

Ana Omelete. I just love how she observes people and what she sees when out and about. To me, she captures life. Especially her B&W city ones.

Jackie Rueda. I love her style, her blog, her Flickr group, and one day I will do her classes.

Carf. The most beautiful and poignant portraits, building a worthy project in Brazil. Definitely worth a follow and, why not, some help.

Kate. She’s the founder of These Moments, a project on which I now collaborate. She captures daily life in such a simple and engaging manner that I can’t help but smile.

You Can’t Be Serious. They’re just brilliant! Their photos make me smile and laugh and be happy!

*Wow, there are so many great people to be inspired by through you, Joey - thank you so much for sharing a bit of your photographic journey here with me today :)


LMJ is a Portuguese wannabe photographer living in Oxford, UK, a fairytale town home to gargoyles and Tolkien. She loves *light* and colour and enjoys photographing little snippets of life. A lover of all animals, she has an even bigger soft spot for cats and boxer dogs. She’s a keen knitter and sewer and dreams of her having her own creative studio with big windows and high ceilings! She’s attempting at world domination through her blog and Flickr, but is yet to achieve it. In the meantime, she explores her photography whilst drinking tea and trying not to moan about the British weather.

LMJ also collaborates on the These Moments project, which you can find here and here.


Anonymous said...

What a truly wonderful post by an utterly wonderful photographer. Lovely. x

Gill said...

LMJ, What a wonderful interview!!! Where in Portugal are you from? My family is from Madeira Island. My mothers side is from the Midlands, in the UK. So I can relate toboth sides of your story. :-)

Little Miss Joey said...

@slightlyme: thanks :) *blush* x

@Gillian da Silva: Hello Gillian :) I'm from Porto and lived there the majority of my life; I've lived in the Algarve as well (Faro), for 7 years. I've never been to Madeira, but I hear it's beautiful... on my list :)

Anonymous said...

yay! thank you Bella for this great interview!!

so inspiring dear LMJ :) love every bit. next I'll check Ana Omelete's work. you got me curious. now we both have a D90!! yay :) I dream of buying a good 50mm lens since I did the photography workshop. if you have any suggestions (since you already have one) please shot ;) xoxo

Little Miss Joey said...

Aww... Thanks Ana :)
I bought the standard Nikon 50 mm f1.8. It's very good, efficient and cheap (~£100). If your budget stretches ~2.5x that, you could go for the Nikon 50mm f1.4 :D
Hope this helps :)

Fenny Setiawan said...

Joey is dear friend, but this is the first time I saw her self photo... funny enough :).

I adore her personality and her taste photography.

All the best to you, dear.

Anonymous said...

thanks a bunch on the lens advice :) it will be my Xmas gift to myself ;) xxo