Intent, Focal Point, and Story
Artist Interview with Jan Heastont
Q: When did you start taking photographs and why did you continue?
A: I started taking photos when I was a teenager but stopped when I started working and entered into “adult life”. Many years later, when my kids left home and I needed something to fill that empty void, I bought a DSLR and it didn’t take long till I was hooked!
Q: Which is your favorite Lensbaby lens and why?
Q: What tips do you have for beginners just learning how to use the Velvet 28 Lens?
A:When you first start using Lensbaby gear, you may be discouraged because your images don’t look as amazing as the ones you’ve seen online, the images that lead you to make your purchase in the first place. We’ve all been there! I start by choosing a simple stationary subject that has good lighting then I play with the aperture. If I’m using an optic that tilts, I don’t tilt it straight away, I wait till I see what it produces at different apertures pointing straight ahead then I start tilting very slightly. Becoming comfortable is a gradual process particularly if you aren’t used to manual focus. When focusing, try using Live View and zooming in to get accurate focus. There’s no right or wrong way to do things, don’t let anyone discourage you from using a method that works for you.
Q: What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
A: I particularly love painterly photos, so I've been more inspired by painters than by photographers. I especially love John Constable, Joseph Farquharson, Claude Lorrain and Joseph Turner.
Q: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer?
A: The most difficult part for me is staying motivated and not getting discouraged when I don't feel like shooting or when I am shooting but don't like the results. I find watching tutorials and learning something new helps me get excited to shoot and see results I'm happy with.
Q: Do you have formal training as a photographer or are you self-taught? What was that journey like?
A: I'm a self-taught photographer, I've literally watched hundreds of hours of tutorials and I never want to stop learning. The journey was difficult at first but I learned how to find reliable sources for learning. In the beginning, I watched way too many videos and read too many articles by people who weren't very knowledgeable. Nowadays it's easy and free to post things online, you don't have to be an expert, so it's vital to discover good resources.
Q: What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
A: There has to be an intent, a focal point and a story. I try to slow down, think about what I see in front of me and decide how I can frame the subject to convey my feelings. It's one thing to see a subject you love but the next step is to bring it to life. You can see a beautiful sunset but if you don't have an interesting foreground, you don't have a great photograph. All details matter, it's important to pay attention to the details you don't want as well as the ones you do.
Q: What inspires you most?
A: Nature inspires me the most. I'm an introvert, I love being alone, walking amongst the trees or by the water. I can't "feel" a photo when I'm surrounded by people, so I try to be alone with nature whenever I can.
Q: Tell us your favorite quote!
A: I have two favourite quotes "Dreams do come true" and "Chase your Dreams". I'm a great believer in making life move in the direction you want it to go. I don't believe in letting life happen to you, take the wheel or life will pass you by.
Jan Heastont with Lensbaby Velvet 85
Q: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
A: I love to photograph nature.
Q: How would you describe your photography style?
A: I don't think of myself as having a specific style, my style evolves as I learn new things.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
A: Loving what I do and hearing people say they love it too.