In Conversation With: Jason Knott, Photographer
Next up in Curious Productions' Photographer Series is Jason Knott. He is best known for capturing emotions, experience and interaction, the best fit for Curious Productions' recent EON shoot.
Jason is extremely hands-on on-set, casting models who are coached to act out a character in order to capture that perfect shot. This approach has enabled Jason to direct and often finds himself shooting both stills and moving image on the same project.
Jason is represented by Horton Stephens.
Who or what inspired you to be a photographer?
I was given a camera at the age of seven by my dad, he was a keen photographer.
He wouldn't let me have a drum kit so I started taking snaps.
What was your first job?
I was always a bit of a ‘Del Boy’ through uni and got into assisting, but my first commission came through Chrysalis Records and I did a string of covers for The Waterboys, Carter USM and Kingmaker.
Apart from your camera, what piece of photographic equipment could you not do without?
I guess spare batteries to keep the camera running, you can capture a shot with a biscuit tin if you know what you are doing. As long as you have a camera of some sort that fires, you will go home with a shot.
What is your favourite piece of work?
Cliche, but usually my next one that gives me a buzz. I’m always moving forwards, always seeing new stuff to shoot and love knowing that next week I’ll have created something that right now doesn't exist. I don't have a great attention span.
Funniest moment on set?
Sending my then assistant, Jem Mitchell, to my car for a bit of kit.
He was gone an age, when I went to see what he was up to he was over the car with two women holding him down insisting he was stealing the car.
I said it was mine, she looked me up and down and said “I don't believe you”.
It was the look on Jem’s face, wish I had my camera on me...
What photo or series of photos do you wish you’d taken?
Peter Lindbergh is a photographer that has been a constant over my career. He seemed to sum up all my favourite guys in my early years. Bailey, Herb Ritts, Bob Carlos Clarke, Penn, Avedon, Albert Watson, Patrick Demarchelier and Bruce Weber.
He frustrated the hell out of me in the beginning and his shots always looked so effortless. Obviously now I know it’s experience, talent, attention to detail, crew skill and just plain dammed hard work.
I loved this series, below, it really struck a chord with me. It felt like the lines between fashion, lifestyle and reportage photographer seemed to be blurring and he seemed to take fashion photography down a new path towards reportage in style, relaxing it a little, but still retaining that polish not only in execution, but in the quality of finish in the final image.
Does image post production de-value photography?
I don’t think it de-values photography. I do think it’s de-valued true photographers.
If you could give any advice to emerging photographers, what would it be?
Learn your craft. In theory, in technique and in practice.
It sickens me to see courses in which the students are shooting with iPads etc; a device which is trying to catch up and replicate what cameras were doing in the beginning.
Buy a proper camera and switch off all the driver aids and master Speed, Aperture and Focus!
What was the best piece of advice you were given?
Relax you’re just a photographer, you don't save lives, (Spencer Rowell).
In your career, what’s been the biggest change in the Industry?
What’s the last piece of music you last listened to?
This morning I was giving A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step a listen, very loud.
If you could live in a book, TV show or movie, what would it be?
Thought hard and long about this question, it stumped me.
I don’t think my brain is wired the right way to think like that.
Reason being I’m more drawn to what Jim Morrison once said about “have you lived?”
Have you lived enough to write a book about your life?
It’s not about how glamorous or how rich you are or any of that bullshit.
It’s about when your time is up, did you live?
I pack a lot into my life.
Who’s your hero?
I don’t do heroes. I have a shed load of people I admire and respect.
The doctor that saved my son's life, people that make me laugh, people that fight wars on my behalf, people that strive to be the best they can at something, people that grab my attention through what they have done.
What are you most grateful for?
Right now, being alive . . . phew! :-)