Jonnie is pretty serious in answering the questions I send him and I don’t know why I’m surprised. Of course he is sorta serious - In order to take pictures like he does, you gotta have your head on straight. That’s exactly what Jonnie Chambers has - his heart in the game and his head on straight. In all fairness, maybe serious isn’t the right word. Maybe thoughtful? Maybe concise? Either way, I like it.
You studied graphic design and photography at Central Saint Martins - why did you decide to move to The States?
I won the US Green Card Lottery (officially known as the Diversity Lottery) so I decided to move from London to New York.
You are 85 years old and you HAVE to choose a place to "settle down": New York or Los Angeles
You are your current age and you HAVE to choose a breakfast dish: waffles or pancakes
Omelette haha - I try to stay away from the sweet stuff, i.e. sugar.
Your clients are really impressive - is there anyone you dream of adding to that list?
McLaren, Koenigsegg, Tesla/SpaceX, The UFC, Playstation, Ethereum, Prada…
Your Bloomberg assignment in Las Vegas focused on marriage trends in the U.S - what did you learn?
Yeh that was a pretty insightful experience. My job was to shadow Roland August (the Elvis impersonator) and document 5 weddings that he ministered over two days. It was the perfect project for me to shoot!
I particularly like the images you have of Las Vegas on your site. You capture the buildings really well! I think it would be really hard to shoot a building and make it look interesting - is it?
A lot of those photographs were shot on large format film so I think that has a lot to do with the quality. It takes a lot of time to plan and execute certain shots as the sun needs to be in an ideal position and that can vary depending on which way the building is facing etc.
Your portraits are really stunning. Do you find that it is hard to get people to come alive or show their real personality? What is your secret in directing them? Do you direct them?
This entirely depends on the person and situation (if it’s set up or not). If I approach someone in the street to take their portrait, then it can take a bit of directing or asking them to stand a certain way etc. I feel like half the battle is just making people feel comfortable in front of the camera, particularly if I’m a stranger to them and we don’t know each other.
Generally speaking, are you a hugger, a side hugger, a high fiver, fist bumper or a hand shaker?
Hand shaker/hugger. :-)
Images courtesy of JONNIE CHAMBERS
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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