Jonkno is a professional photographer based in Aix-en-provence, a city in the South of France. His work focuses on minimalist, portrait, and street photography.
What is it that drew you to minimalist photography?
This question is excellent as I came to minimalism by chance. In fact, what was supposed to be a simple challenge I proposed to myself turned into a real project. The first shot that woke this minimalistic side of myself is a photo representing a big wheel on the vieux port of Marseille. I edited the image by changing the blues to have a more green, cyan sky and a pure white as well. Then, I decided to continue practicing this kind of photography. This challenge came to life in my “.MARS.” project, representing Marseille from an urban and minimalistic view. This was the starting point of my minimalist eye! I took real pleasure riding in the city with my fixed gear bike to find shooting spots, and I discovered a new way to look at the city of Marseille.
What inspires your photography?
Everything inspires me in photography. I mostly shoot when I feel a specific mood, when the scene I am in front of transpires the emotion. If I can feel it, people may feel it through my image. It can be a specific light, some scene with people, kids, colors, structures, shapes…. Everything.
What is the most underappreciated aspect of minimalist photography?
For me, there are different things that could make minimalist photography not so appreciated by the public. I believe that the most important one stands in the fact that without being involved in minimalist photography, people may find it difficult to get into the photography and appreciate it. They encounter difficulties to think about the reasons that led the photographer to make the photograph. I mean, for most of us, a square is a square, and a group of squares is nothing else than a group of squares…. But, the way the photographer put those squares into the scene makes the image a superb example of photography. It may be more difficult to feel emotion while viewing minimalist photography compared to portraiture, for example. This part of the analysis can make it difficult for people to appreciate minimalist photography.
What is your favorite photo that you’ve taken? Why?
Wow, hard to tell… As I said, I am never satisfied with my work because I always find that I could have done it differently, or that something is not at its right place, but I have a few pictures that I am proud of. One of them could be the one with the metro. I had this idea for a long time, and I didn’t know how I could realize it, until this day. It was one of those days where I rode my bike looking for some spots in Marseille, and I finally found myself in front of this bridge where a metro what just passing. I took out my camera and waited for the next Metro… I pressed the button. By coming back home, I realized that this shot was exactly as I wanted and was representing this piece of art that I wanted to realize! For me, this image sounds like proof that with a continuous enhancement of your process, you can achieve your goals. It’s just a matter of time and hard work.
What advice do you have for new photographers?
I could give tons of feedback, but the most important thing for me is to be yourself and keep on practicing shooting. Do not hesitate to copy a photo you like as a practice. This makes you think and analyze the photograph. By analyzing photos, you learn a lot. Really. Keep on experimenting with things, and do not hesitate to go back shooting until you get the result you want. Never give up. Never. Photography is a perpetual improvement of yourself.
How has minimalist photography shaped the way you view the world?
With minimalism, you need to get “behind the scene” of photography, and you need to analyze and find what made the reaction of the photographer. By shooting minimalist, Ihave developed a sense of detail that I did not have before. I also increased my skill in composition. I have discovered a new way of viewing the world. It gave me self-confidence because making images is not so simple... Believe me. Sometimes things are jumping out of the scene. Sometimes, you have to think hard to find out the best composition! it is not just a story of subtracting things, but you have to tell a story with the minimum. I would say that I have developed my “special way of seeing” things around me. Really, I do not see the world as I used to.
What is your favorite piece of gear ?
Fujifilm, definitely. Specially my X-T2 that I carry every day with me, even at office. This makes smile security guards when I open my bag. Day-after-day at the security check, they call me “the artist” and say, as usual, "your camera!" Photography is a way to break the barriers between people. But, I also own an old icarex 35mm film camera, and I recently bought a YASHICA 124g mat.
Where do you hope to see your work in the next 5 years?
For the next 5 years, I will continue working my composition, my light, and smy kills in different way of shooting, different styles, different projects, etc.. I have the deep feeling that I am still looking for my own style. Certainly, I'm starting to see what makes my pictures talk to people, but I have not yet found my own style. I'm still a young padawan, you know.
But, I hope that in 5 years, my work will be recognized as an genuine work, made with passion. I also hope that I could be part of some exhibition somewhere. I am not running after celebrity, just continuing having pleasure to make photographs and share with people. But, I am only at the beginning of my artistic journey you know, and something makes me think that this is an endless story.