“When I step back and find myself in a moment of clarity, questioning my purpose in life… I realise photography in fact has the ability to make a difference.”
Like many people I need meaning in my life, the sense that I am doing something that might have an impact on someone or something no matter how big or small in a positive way. I believe in the butterfly effect, that even the small things we put out there, the small flutter of our wings can have a ripple effect that can change lives for the better or worse. My first word was “light” after my mother would hold me in her arms and flick the light switch on and off and it’s still the source of my fascination!
As I grew up I would love playing with cameras, from my grandfather’s Polaroid to the home video cameras we had through the 80’s and 90’s. Alongside this I would always have pen on paper drawing and dabbling with visual composition. All of that would probably lead me to a dual career, on one hand freelancing in web design and on the other working in film and television, shooting and field directing mostly for TV documentary where the art was to tell a story. This honed my skill into working with natural light, seeking shots that would visually carry something deeper than words alone.
After a few years however I needed a new challenge and took the leap into business, into a few business projects in fact… of which none were related specifically to photography or video but came with the creative challenge of building something multi-dimensional, to build a business and a brand. A number of years with mixed success and failures saw me ultimately lose a significant amount of family investment brought on mostly by bad timing during the global financial crisis. It was tough but it also saw me walk away with a valuable few years in the business school of real life. From what I had achieved I was fortunate to be offered a position with a very well-respected brand as their local Brand Communications Manager and that’s what I do for a living now. It’s a job I love because their ethics and values as a business are worlds ahead of so many and they have a genuinely great story to tell that goes hand in hand with their product.
In a full circle through my varied career I now get to bring it all together. Through social media and a fascination with the ever-changing online space I’m again finding my passion for the magic of the visual medium. I’ve brought together my love for photography and video combined in the Cinemagraph format you’ll see on my Instagram feed and realizing it’s a visual language that speaks to me. The focus on video by the likes of Instagram says that its innovative use speaks to a lot of people and my recent feature on the Instagram account has inspired me to take it all the way and see where it leads. It feels like everything I have done has led me in this direction, that’s when you know you’re on the right track.
Find those moments of light in your life, they enable us to shed just enough light into the shadows to see the whole picture. When I step back and find myself in a moment of clarity, questioning my purpose in life… I realise photography in fact has the ability to make a difference. Through those moments of light, we can share stories great and small, whether it’s work or personal we can offer a glimpse into the hidden moments of our strange existence. I believe anything that can help connect the incredibly diverse and opposing perspectives we all have of the world is a powerful thing. Fear is surely what drives so much fighting in the world, fear of what we can’t understand and our need to reject and eliminate what doesn’t fit within our own perspective. There are images we can all relate to no matter our backgrounds and beliefs, images that have the ability to break down barriers and remind us wherever we may be that we’re not in fact very different at all. I certainly don’t claim to create images like that every day but maybe, just maybe the most unexpected image might have a ripple effect and do just that for someone out there. A photo doesn’t have to win awards and change lives but it might reward and touch lives.
– Jonathan Houldsworth
If you enjoyed Jonathan’s story, follow him on Instagram @mrjonkane and check out some more of his work at flixel.com/jonathanH