For this week of The Nomadic, we interviewed Adelaide-based photographer Brannon Jackson. You may be familiar with some of his work from our Instagram feed. We recently got a chance to have a virtual chat with Brannon and talk photography, COVID-19 travel, and the creative process. Read on for our interview and stay tuned for more interviews with photographers whose work we feature at Nomad.
Can you talk a little bit about how you got started as a photographer?
I used to be really into riding BMX at my local skate park with my friends. We would spend hours there hanging out and learning new tricks. Of course, these tricks needed to be documented somehow; this is where the idea of bringing a camera came about. After many discussions and arguments, I was allowed to borrow my sister's DSLR camera. I took it with me almost every time after that and began learning about camera settings and features. Looking back now, who knew that while I was perfecting one craft, I had started another.
Given that you were shooting in a skate park, did you start out shooting video?
I did start out shooting video but quickly gravitated towards still images. I like the ability of stills to convey a specific emotion based on the moment. I also found that shooting stills allowed me to be more creative with my camera.
What are some other interests of yours besides photography?
I own a Yamaha WR450f and enjoy riding as often as I can. Plus, it's handy for getting to photography jobs! Exploring, camping, road-tripping, and just being outdoors are some of my favorite past times. I love to visit new places and see new things, with my camera, of course.
Who or what influences your work?
I am influenced by social media like I think most people are. I think it can be very hard to find inspiration these days whilst still being original and unique. The philosophy that describes how I work is Steal Like An Artist. It is from a book, written by Austin Kleon. I use social media as a way to find ideas and locations while still staying true to my work and style.
What is one place you’ve visited that you would like to return to?
There are a few places to pick from, but one that jumps to mind would be Europe. When I was around eight years old, I traveled all around Europe with my family. Seeing all the fantastic photographs on social media now from that part of the earth makes me want to go back. To see it with fresh eyes and my camera would be excellent.
Bucket List Travel destinations?
Ahh, where do I begin? Tasmania, New Zealand, Dubai, Iceland, Hawaii, Yosemite National Park, all of Europe, and the list continues. I want to see the entire world with my camera and document it all.
What is your favorite camera to shoot with?
I use Sony cameras. the one that I use in particular is the Sony A7RII. I use to shoot Canon but made the switch mid-2019 and haven't looked back since.
Tea or Coffee?
COFFEE. I have multiple coffees a day, honestly love coffee.
Favorite Nomad product?
Hands down, it would be the Nomad Powerpack with Tile Tracking. It goes with me everywhere and keeps me charged on the go. Mine has been dropped, in the rain and in heat. I absolutely love it and highly recommend picking one up. I'm also excited to test out the Moment Lens Case for iPhone 11; hopefully, it will help me shoot more on my phone!
Favorite photographer or artist who inspires you?
Probably the artist who inspires me the most would be Flume. There is just something about his style of music that always brings me back and makes me want to push myself with creativity. As far as other creators who inspire me, I wouldn’t really put it down to one person. I'm really inspired by the way other creators use their camera lens while exploring and traveling. I love to see the world from others' perspective.
Do you shoot much on your phone?
I finally upgraded my phone from an iPhone 6S Plus to the iPhone 11 earlier this year, thinking that I would use its camera capabilities, but I haven't yet. I only really use my phone for quick social posts like Instagram stories. I see a lot of potential with mobile photography; I just haven't dedicated that much time to it yet. On top of that, phone cameras just get better and better each year.
How are you staying busy during COVID-19?
This time spent in quarantine has been filled with many different past times. I love traveling and going on road trips but never really had the perfect setup to achieve a comfortable trip. I decided that I would convert my Honda CR-V into that setup. It has a removable bed, roof rack tray for all equipment, and heaps of storage underneath the bed for clothing/ camera gear. The car itself also needed a lot of work, so it got a new fuel pump, distributor, and leads. I plan on making a huge trip as soon as things are safer to do so. I will travel from Adelaide to Tasmania, checking out all the sights on the way.
I've also used this time to focus on things that usually get abandoned during busier periods. I cleaned up SD cards, hard drives, and my computer. I organized my editing set up to make it a more enjoyable workspace, basically just doing the housekeeping that gets lost during the everyday shuffle.
Favorite editing software?
Lightroom. I absolutely love Lightroom. I struggled when I first downloaded it in 2017, but after spending hours Google searching how to use it, I have learned to love the software. I definitely recommend it to others trying to choose an editing software.
Any final thoughts or advice?
I would say keep at it. If you are a young photographer trying to make a full-time income, don’t stop. The only way you will grow with your business is by pursuing your craft and really working hard at it. I have had multiple thoughts about stopping and getting a “normal job” where I would have regular work and know exactly what I would be earning each week. But, would I be happy? The answer is no. At times it can be very difficult to gain work, especially right now with COVID-19, but I know in the long run it will be worth it. So, my advice to any person trying to make a living off their business is: keep at it and don’t stop working for what you want.
If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to check out some of our past interviews, like this one with Santa Barbara based photographer Morgan Maassen.