I met Janine Joles via Twitter, and this to me this is a good sign that I have probably started to learn how to use it. When I make such discoveries my activity on social medias, normally rather timid suddenly comes alive and I find it more easy to overcome my well known difficulty in dealing with anything involving the word ‘networking”.
Sometimes, like this time, it’s worth the effort. If I could describe Janine Joles photography I would say it is elegant, minimalistic , timeless.
It’s pure art and it’s able to touch even people like me who are fascinated but at the same time intimidated by nature and its mysterious phenomena. Her style is impeccably curated and another excellent example that simplicity really is the foundation of beauty.
Janine is currently exhibiting her work in a show called” stick and stones” whose opening was last April 27 at Vivaio Frizzi in Riva del Garda, Italy and it will last until June 22.
Hi Janine, could you tell us more about you and how did you start with photography?
South African born and raised, my initiation into the world of photography happened much later in life. It was toward the end of my first year at university, as part of my foundation studies in Fine Art, that my latent photographic talents were first discovered. The truth is before that I had never used a camera, and my plans were actually to become a painter. But life’s a peculiar journey.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Nature is my primary muse, but I have many interests including culture, philosophy, religion, and of course art. I am particularly drawn to contemplative, oracular themes with a strong sense of place and essence.
When and why did you decide to turn into a fine art photographer? Do you find fine art to be more in tune with your personality as opposed to work as a commercial photographer?
Oh definitely! The irony is that I have always been a fine art photographer. After graduating however the harsh reality of life as an artist soon forced me into working commercially, and the whole experience was an uncomfortable learning curve. Fortunately when I immigrated to Italy with my husband in 2011 I saw this new start as the perfect opportunity to put the commercial work on the back burner while return to exploring my fine art roots.
Many people are caught in this debate between digital and analogue photography. Does it make any sense to you? What is your medium of choice?
My photographic training at art school was 100% analogue. It was only in the years to follow, particularly with my commercial work, that I began to learn and master digital photography. Analogue photography may intrinsically posses a more traditional quality that for many feels more “artistic”, but the truth is it can’t compete with the instant, cost effective advantages its revolutionary digital brother offers. There’s no right or wrong and I suggest you go with whatever feels right for you.
You now live in Italy, how do you like it?Was it difficult to adjust to your new life? I am Italian (living abroad) so I would be interested in knowing about Italy from an expat’ s perspective.
Despite the obvious complications of adjusting to a new culture and learning to speak its language, I am so very happy with my new life in Italy. But it’s an emotionally complicated thing to explain why I am happier here than in my native country. Perhaps the most significant change for me has been the sense of freedom and safety I now feel after a lifetime of living in fear. Unfortunately, crime and violence is a reality that everyone must endure living in South Africa; and that life is the one I will never miss.
I see much of your photography is inspired by nature. Could you tell us more about why nature is your favorite subject? Is it perhaps due to your South African roots?
Oh definitely; many South Africans will attribute their love of nature to the memory of growing up in such a naturally vast and beautiful country. I was fortunate to grow up in a quiet farming community just outside of Durban, where I spent most of my youth outdoors exploring, horse-riding and even bird watching. But it was only when I met my husband, who first introduced me to macro photography, that nature became my primary subject. His love for it opened a whole new world to me, and a new chapter in nature photography.
I find your images to have a sort of ‘calming” effect, perhaps due to the minimal , sort of “zen” kind of styling you give to your subject. This seems to go a bit against the tendency I find in much of today’s photography to be “overly styled”. Why did you choose this approach?
The most important mark of a good photographer is their ability to curate well. This is a common mistake I see made by many amateurs; their focus is too often on the image itself and not the bigger picture. In my experience photographs seldom work best alone; their individual expressions often need to form part of a greater vision. In the process of curating my own photography, I always try to convey a sense of balance and unity. This is a personal aesthetic that is usually achieved intuitively. For example, when I play with sequencing my images I will focus on perfecting the flow of one image to another until that moment arrives when the arrangement finally “breathes”. For me, that connection between images is more important than any one individual shot; it’s not about the one, it’s about the many.
I see many women nowadays are inspired to express themselves through the photography medium and some of them do it with excellent results. Do you think Internet has helped people and women in particular to make their art more accessible and therefore has encouraged them to produce more?
Oh yes, anyone looking to do anything can achieve so much more now with the help of the internet; it’s a mecca of knowledge and inspiration. I think that many more women pursue photography today because it is so accessible and because it’s such a powerful means of personal expression. I love seeing how others choose to share their own journey with photography online; it is super inspiring and it certainly has encouraged me to take my own art to new levels.
If you want to know more about Janine’s work please visit her website/blog and her beautiful galleries. She is also on flickr.