Since working and starting She Snaps, I’ve really enjoyed the conversations we have had with our team about the importance of creative expression and ways we can continue to help foster that through the medium of photography!
This week, we’re turning to helpful words and photography insights from one of our writers, Jo Plumridge. Jo is based in the UK and is a freelance writer and photographer. She covers topics including photography (of course!), travel, and opinion pieces for a variety of different media including magazines and books.
Specializing in portrait and corporate photography, you might have also seen Jo’s articles here covering topics including understanding camera basics such as the exposure triangle, how to photograph children, and also what it means to be a female photographer. If you’re interested in reading more, definitely check out these articles later…
But first, let’s get to learning a bit more about Jo and her photography experiences and advice.
What got you into photography?
J: I was given a camera when I was 10 – a little Halina with no focusing controls or settings much beyond pressing the shutter! But I really enjoyed taking images and the challenge of getting things sharp! I progressed through a number of cameras through the years and then ended up doing a Media Arts degree at university. Once I’d discovered the darkroom (this was back in the days of film!) it was hard to get me out of it. I’ve been shooting ever since and have been a professional photographer and photographic journalist for 20 years.
Do you have a favourite genre of photography and why?
Portraiture! I love the challenge of making people like themselves in photographs! Everyone can look great in a photo – it’s just a case of knowing how to read people’s faces.
What kinds of influences do you draw inspiration from?
Well, I think that changes as you go through life and depends on what you’re photographing. I’ve always loved the stylization of Renaissance paintings but also enjoy the quirkiness and absurdity that I think is particularly British. So, a little bit of the surreal and traditional combined!
Do you have any favourite photographers or creative influences that have informed your photographic style, and why?
Far too many to list here! I admire lots of photographers – Brian Griffin, Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, Henri Cartier-Bresson to name a few. I probably reserve most of my admiration though for pioneering female photographers (and we’re still pioneering – photography is still very much a man’s game) – Lee Miller, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Rineke Dijkstra, and hundreds of women working as photographers today. My main focus as a photographic journalist has always been to seek out, promote and work with amazing creative females. But I don’t really aim to emulate particular photographers’ styles. I think I prefer to draw a little from each person.
What advice would you give to budding photographers?
Shoot! Digital makes it easy to take lots of images and experiment until you find the genre that interests you. Learn how to use your camera properly. You might have a wonderful eye for an image, but if you don’t know the technical details and how to control lighting, the images you want will stay in your head. And most importantly – learn about light. Make sure you understand everything about it because, without light, there is no image!
To follow Jo and her work, you can check out the following: