Photographer Jared Platt shares insight into his creative process and offers advice to aspiring photographers and Photoshop students.
What became the hallmark of your work/style?
Efficiency and reality. I hope to hide my hand as a photographer which means my work is often times less photo-dramatic. I also like to add a bit of humor in my work. I see irony and humor and incongruity in a lot of things and I hope to capture that in my work — if only so that I can chuckle at it — even if no one else sees it.
Can you recall the moment you knew you wanted to be a photographer?
I have never not been an artist. I grew up wanting to be an actor and musician. I only traded that for photography when I realized I wasn’t odd enough to stay in acting. But I have been writing and performing music since I was a child and photographing since the end of high school. I have always had a need to create. There were times I was crazy enough to want to do something else with my life (like law), but those delusions only lasted a little while.
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Who are your mentors?
My forever mentor was and is Bill Jay. He has moved on from this happy planet, but he was the most influential figure in my photographic life and I still look to his writings and my memories of our conversations as the greatest source for my photographic direction. Living mentors? I don’t know. I find dead photographers to be so much more inspiring…
What inspires you?
Every day heroes. Historical photographs. Sculpture. Shakespeare. Music.
How do you incorporate your creative process into your daily life?
I look at photographs every day. Even if I don’t take one, or share one. I look at one and think about what it is saying. What story is it telling, or not telling that it could have told. Critique is the most important exercise of the photographer’s eye.
What are the words you live by?
“Photography is nothing, it’s life that interests me.” – Cartier-Bresson
Any words of wisdom you would like to share with your students?
Get over yourself! Don’t think you are so unique and special that you are above learning the basics, above getting critiqued, above getting rejected. It’s OK. Someday, you may do something amazing! But the only way that happens is if you seek out criticism and look for honest feedback and be honest with yourself when you look at your own work. Too many people lie to themselves and they get stuck in mediocrity.
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