Professional photographer Jonathan Chritchley has been a part of the Fotoviva Team for a while now and we thought it was time we caught up with him to see how his photography is going. He has sent us some new photographs to add to the online gallery so as a prelude to that here is our informal chat with Jonathan…
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m married with 2 young kids, am originally from the London area but have lived in the south of France near Biarritz since 1998. I am a professional photographer and have run my own business since 2006. I also own a company specialising in photo workshops, courses and photography tours in France and worldwide.
How long have you been a photographer and what inspired you to begin with?
I have been interested in photography since I was a child, and have always loved the ocean, but it was whilst working as a lifeguard on Bournemouth beach that someone told me about a film called The Big Blue by Luc Besson – I rented the video and watched it that night over and over again – especially the opening sequence which is in black & white. The cinematography is fantastic, very moving and atmospheric – it touched me in many different ways, the penny dropped and the following day I enrolled on a photography course at art college.
How would you describe your style?
Uncluttered, peaceful, graphic images of the sea and all things nautical.
What type of camera equipment do you shoot with?
For film I use a Hasselbald 500 C/M. For digital I use a Nikon D3X and a D3 with a variety of prime lenses. I use Gitzo tripods and Arca Swiss tripod heads.
What computer and software do you use?
I use PCs loaded with Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom
Where is your favourite location for photography?
I haven’t been there yet…
Do you take inspiration from any particular photographer?
No one particular photographer inspires me but my influences are many – I have already mentioned the film director Luc Besson – then there’s the classic yachting photography of Maurice Rosenfeld and Beken of Cowes from the 1920s and 1930s, the seascapes of Michael Kenna and David Parker, the landscapes of Fay Godwin….. and so it goes on….
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
Don’t have a lot of that unfortunately but I like to swim, to potter about in boats, to eat out at cool little quayside restaurants with my family and chill out at home listening to a little mellow jazz.
Tell us a bit more about your Ocean Capture Photography Workshops…
A few years ago some of the regular visitors to my fine art photography website got together and said they would love to come on a workshop with me down in Biarritz if ever I thought of running one. I tried it, liked it and it started from there really. Now I run workshops and tours for 30 weeks of the year, both in France and other water locations worldwide and I’m told that Ocean Capture has become one of the most successful companies of its type in Europe. To me it’s about making sure every person goes home happy – that’s where the satisfaction is – and I love every second of it!
Most of your images are black and white – what do you most like about this style?
I like simplicity, and black & white provides me with a way to make a sometimes cluttered world more simple. It cuts out distractions, lets us see textures and tones, and to me feels more glamorous and mystical.
Describe your perfect day…
Up early, shoot a still misty lake, a deserted beach or a 100 year old wooden sailing boat. Stop for breakfast in a little bar on the waters edge watching the world go by. A few hours playing with the family on a beach or by a pool, then dinner on the candle lit balcony of a great little restaurant overlooking the harbour while a latin jazz band plays. Yep, heaven.
Your website shows galleries from France to Iceland to Scotland – where are you planning to visit next?
This year I’m going to China, Iceland again, the Camargue to shoot the wild horses, Saint Tropez for more classic sailing yachts and Venice to complete a book project.
What kind of atmosphere and emotions do you strive for in your photographic work?
Peace, tranquility, happiness. There is too much reality, for me at least. Nothing wrong with escapism. If my photographs induce a moments peace in a stressful day then I’m very happy.
What are your plans for the future?
To produce an art book on classic sailing yachts, to get a dog for my kids, to go to Newfoundland, for Ocean Capture to be THE most successful photo tour company in the world, to buy a plot of land and build the perfect house, oh and to be the best selling artist on Fotoviva……
We have more work by Jonathan that will be added to the galleries soon so be sure to check back in a few weeks to see some of his latest inspiring photographic work.
You can view all of his photographic work in the Fotoviva online gallery by visiting the Jonathan Chritchley portfolio page.