In the Studio With: Rebecca Jonas

In the Studio With: Rebecca Jonas

“To see in color is a delight for the eye, but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.” – Andri Cauldwell, photographer

Rebecca Jonas is a photographer. Specifically, a black and white fine art photographer. Her interest in photography came long before she ever picked up a camera. Her wife is a wildlife photographer, and after spending years accompanying her on photo shoots, she learned much about what goes into setting up a shot, as well as the technical aspects of photography. Not to mention the simple art of photography itself. “When I decided to become a photographer myself, it quickly became my passion,” Rebecca says. “I started my journey focusing on the juxtaposition of various subjects – finding beauty in the broken, the remarkable within the ordinary.” She loves focusing on finding the beauty in everyday things and what we would generally take for granted. Adding, “…getting out in nature and going to remote spots where you feel like you’re the only person on earth.”

Rebecca has always been drawn to the power of black and white photographs. To her, “it conveys a rawness of emotion and puts the focus on the composition of the photo because you don’t have color to rely upon.” She strives to create images that make the viewer pause, think and more importantly, as she puts it…feel. 

Why create in black and white photography? “You have to capture the viewer’s attention without the use of color and that can be quite tricky.” She explains, “It can at times be more challenging because it forces you to think in monochrome – what may make a good photograph in color, often does not work in black and white. You’ve got to focus on composition, contrast, and textures.” 

What is Rebecca’s motivation and why does she create art? First and foremost, she says it’s to tell a story, and using that creative composition to depict a narrative. She loves that the viewer can look at her work and form their own narrative. She’ll often use captions for her photographs to help guide the viewer in any given direction. But she believes that we ultimately draw from our inner selves when viewing art in its many forms. Music is a big inspiration for Rebecca. Whether it’s listening to music in post-production or singing something in her head as she’s working. She feels this definitely inspires her work and help create that narrative she is striving to capture.  

Having always been interested in art in one form or another, for Rebecca it’s about creative self-expression. Believing that art can transverse language, culture and individual experience, she loves that different people can look at the same piece of art and interpret it very differently. For Rebecca, photography is a way to “freeze a moment in time and add different layers to that moment.” Finding it very interesting to look at someone’s art and be moved by it – be the work a photograph, painting, or a drawing. 

Her creative process depends on the subject and context of the photo. Working in her studio, Rebecca puts a great deal of preparation in the lighting and composition. If shooting out in nature, effort is put into researching a location and the lighting conditions…hoping to get lucky in subject matter and what she might discover while on location. Sometimes the best “on-location” images come from what she stumbles upon in an undiscovered object or a candid shot that will evoke a strong emotion. 

Using Nikon equipment, Rebecca shoots in RAW format, then uses Adobe Lightroom for the post-processing. During the post-processing stage, she will edit a photograph several times using various editing techniques, striving toward that “final image” based on what she feel conveys the emotion and message of the photo most accurately. 

What does Rebecca feel is integral to an artist? That it’s important to be authentic and stay true to your own style. And that it’s also equally important to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Too take those artistic risks so you can continue to grow and evolve.

Rebecca says the best piece of advice she ever got was to learn the rules, so you’ll then know how to break them. “There are a lot of technical “rules” in photography which are important to learn, but that doesn’t mean you always have to abide by them.” And she feels that by sometimes purposely going against those very rules, you can end up creating something wonderfully artistic if you do it in the right way.

Her best advice to a beginning artist is to spend time with other artists and learn their process. She believes there is nothing more valuable than learning from artists who have been in the field a long time. Perhaps see if they would mentor you. A mentor can often give helpful tips and techniques that would take a lot longer to learn on your own.

A final word? “I also feel like creativity is contagious, so spending time with other artists for me, just seems to breed creativity.”

Thank you, Rebecca for taking us along on your artistic journey and giving us a unique and inspirational view through your creative eye. 

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