Indiewalls artist Joseph Ford is truly a one-man show. The London-based photographer shoots editorial and advertising still photography, aerial photography, video, and diptychs. His latest inspirations? Photographs that incorporate visual trickery and texture to confuse the eye, and diptychs that pair aerial series and fashion details for eye-catching results, often in partnership with major brands like Lacoste.
We connected with Joseph between his helicopter rides to learn about his inspiration, his cameras, and his next challenge.
Tell us about you. Where are you from?
I was born in London, United Kingdom. I later lived in Paris for a while, but now I’m back home in London again.
When did your interest in art and photography begin?
I’ve always been interested in art and photography but I started taking pictures seriously when I was about 20.
What was your first camera?
A Russian camera called a Zenit, when I was about 7 years old.
What camera do you shoot on now?
I shoot on a variety of cameras, depending on what is best suited to the project, but mostly my go-to camera is a medium format digital Hasselblad.
What projects or pieces are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of several series: my most recent one is Knitted Camouflage, where I blend people into urban backgrounds with custom hand-made sweaters; Tennis Anamorphosis where I created a 3-dimensional tennis court with a mile and a half of gaffer tape in an abandoned swimming pool, and got parkour artists to play tennis in it; and Aerial Fashion, where I’ve matched my aerial photographs, shot from helicopters, with details from items of clothing.
Who or what inspires your art?
I’m inspired by visual tricks and anything that’s challenging and a little bit crazy.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
I generally come up with a really complicated idea and then spend months—or years —trying to figure out how to actually put it into practise. Everything is planned in advance as much as possible, which counter-intuitively allows me head-space for creative freedom when I’m actually photographing. I’ve already worked through the small stuff and can concentrate on creating.
What is your studio like?
Way too full of equipment.
How is aerial photography different from shooting with both feet on the ground?
The main difference between aerial and other photography is that I have far more control over lighting etc in terrestrial photography, so the aerial process is more spontaneous and less predictable.
Tell me about the process for aerial photography. When did you start? What do you photograph? How is the process?
I shot my first aerial photographs from a helicopter on a job in Mauritius about ten years ago. I normally study in advance the areas I want to photograph with satellite imagery, to work out the types of area which might be most interesting to visit. Then I strap myself into the helicopter, open the door and hang out to take my pictures.
How has your work evolved over time?
It’s actually come full circle. When I started I was photographing macro shots of fine textures and details in found objects. Now I’ve come back to playing with details, resemblances, and creating visual tricks.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be artist in residence in a new street-art museum in France, where I’ll be collaborating with graffiti artists to create hybrid collaborative pieces. I can’t wait!
Tell us about your work with Indiewalls, what projects have you completed with us?
My work has been selected to be placed in every room of a new large hotel in Chicago.
Thanks to Joseph for connecting with us!
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