I first met Josh at the local coffee shop. He was making coffee and I was taking photos of him making coffee. Upon our second meeting, in that same coffee shop, we got chatting and I soon came to realise that Josh was also a photographer. He gave me the details to his blog and website and before I knew it, a quick 'browse' through his work became a long 'swoon' over his work. His ability to capture real moments, the places he has traveled specifically to photograph and the intensity and story telling that jumps out from each image - impressed me. A lot. I must admit, I was a little scared to photograph another photographer. Especially one with a photojournalism degree... But, as Josh showed me around some of his favorite places near his home, I soon realised that his presence affected me the way that looking through his work did - effortlessly, time flew by.
What projects are you currently working on? Right now I am in more of a planning stage for several projects. I will be collaborating with the great folks at Bold Bean to create several videos over the next few months. Other than that, I am always keeping my eyes open for any opportunities that may come my way. A lot of the work I am currently doing can’t be too planned and just requires me to be out and about with my camera so I can meet people and make images.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? My friends/peers. I graduated from the photojournalism program at Western Kentucky University where I was able to learn the art alongside some of the most talented up and coming photojournalists in the country. I am proud of where I come from and continue to be inspired by some of my closest friends in the business. There is a cool dynamic of competitive support where we try to push each other to make ourselves better. I also follow many major blogs and publications like the NYT Lens Blog, Time’s Lightbox, Aphotoaday.org, and as always, anything my friends are doing over at WKUPJ.com
How would you describe your photographic style? I would say that I am by no means a flashy photographer. I love to be a fly on the wall in all situations and prefer when people don’t notice I am there. There is something about capturing real moments without my presence that I thrive on. I love using natural light, composition and quiet moments to create my photographs.
What has been the most memorable photographic experience for you so far?This is a very tough question for me. First, the thing I love most about photojournalism is that I get to be everyone else’s profession at least once. I have been on police raids, a yacht race across lake Michigan, dog sledding, and into the smallest communities from my own state to the other side of the world. But, If I had to pick one experience that still stands out above the rest, it would have to be photographing a small gypsy village in Slovakia this past summer for a documentary that has yet to be released. I woke up at 5am to wander the streets before most people were awake. As I walked around people began to get their children ready for school and I focused my attention to one large family living in a two room home. The locals were skeptical of me at first but with a big smile and me holding up my camera they kindly nodded and allowed me to take pictures. After several minutes, they insisted that I come inside and have coffee with them. I never knew what they were saying but there was a kind and natural relationship built because of my profession. I will never forget their kindness and how even with so little, they offered me more than coffee.
What is a typical day like for you?Right now my life is a bit unpredictable. I am working two jobs in order to get back on my feet and survive after college. I usually spend my mornings working at Bold Bean and then my afternoons at Riverside Presbyterian Day School running after school programs. In my free time I try to play soccer, exercise, and keep myself active outside of work. Sadly, for now I mostly shoot with my iPhone for fun wherever I am. But, I am finally reaching a place where I can cut back on work and get back to my old routines in school where photography and creating was a main priority.
If you could travel to any part of the world right now, where would you go?Israel- I traveled there a few years ago and was captivated with the amount of culture in the old city in Jerusalem. I was raised Jewish and have a Sufi (a sect of Islam) mother. After getting to explore my religious roots, I would love to go back and do a story on Sufism, the mystical path so I can better understand the power of religion.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?Enchiladas - They are a bit labor intensive so I don’t make them often. But, they are a specialty of mine and dare I say, absolutely delicious.
What is the most difficult part about working in a creative industry?Right now the market is over saturated with photographers and jobs are scarce. My ideal job of shooting for a daily newspaper is less and less of a reality as layoffs continue. It can be difficult to know what to do and is forcing me to become more of an entrepreneur, something I am not very good at.
The best part?The overwhelming variety of experiences I have had (and will continue to have). The time I have spent with quality people around the world is priceless to me.
What do you love most about Jacksonville?
Riverside- This area is so full of creative and likeminded people. I love to be able to go to work at Bold Bean and have conversations with people that are making their creative visions a reality. It is inspiring.
What are your sweetest daily moments? Mornings with my girlfriend Bailey. When we are lucky enough to have the morning off together we like to wake up late (around 8am or 9am) and make some coffee and lounge around the house. Breakfast is an important meal to us and we savor the quiet time together.
Looking back 10 years from now, what would you like to see?
I would like to see that I became better at actively searching out and achieving goals. I want to see this time as the start of a long career in visual journalism.