Whilst walking the city of Wellington one day I came across an artist known as "Love Heat Man" who was doing a mural on a temporary wall to empower and inspire people. Through talking to him I learned that he also runs a holiday youth group where he tries to do the same thing - empower and inspire young kids with the power of art and self expression and he's been very successful in doing so. Image details: Kodak Portra 400 film Ghuznee Street - Wellington, New Zealand.
Joshua, tell us a bit about yourself, how you started photography and why?
Back in late 2015 - early 2016 I borrowed a friends camera and took it out one night. I ended up having a whole lot of fun just shooting and documenting the night and ended up getting some really cool photos, some of my favourites to date. From there on I just fell in love with the art and started to invest in my own cameras to feed my hobby that then led to me taking photos for a clothing store I was working at at the time and from there on out it just became my thing. I guess it just all happened naturally and I learnt to just trust my gut and natural eye.
You gravitate towards street photography, can you tell us what challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Although I don’t feel I fit into any one category, I do really enjoy going out onto the streets and just seeing what comes my way - I think I also just really enjoy finding/meeting new people, as in the case with the first photo when I met the 'Love Heart Man'.
I think the biggest challenge people have is finding the courage to shoot strangers or approaching and asking them for their photo, this was something I had to learn fast. You need to be confident and friendly that way you come across really genuine and 80-90% of the time people say they would love to have their photo taken.
Tell us more about your photo "Love Heart Man" - what was happening behind the shot? Did you just approach the artist while he was working?
Yeah so I just came across this guy one day when I was just walking the streets with no particular reason, I saw him painting a mural as I was going past and decided to approach him to see what he was doing and to ask if I could take his photo while he was working. He was a super nice and genuine guy with a lot of positive meaning behind his work.
Approaching random people on the streets is no easy task and something many photographers hesitate to do. Any advice you could give?
Yeah totally, as I said above, for me it’s all in your approach if you're confident and genuine they will normally have no problem at all! Sometimes you may have to do some convincing ie explaining what it is you’re doing and what you actually want out of it. And for the times you just take a photo of a random on the street without asking IF they notice I just give them a wee smile with a wave or a thumbs up that way they know my intentions were good and positive. I am yet to have a bad experience photographing on the street, and fingers crossed I won't!
How do you share your photography? Why you think it is important for photographers to showcase their work and get exposure?
Currently I am running an archives account on Instagram where I am posting some of my photos but the majority of my photos go into my personal archive for future projects I have in mind such as prints, books, and shows. I am also always working on my website and adding to my portfolio.
I think it’s important for all photographers to get exposure, but in saying that, everyone has their own way of doing it and there's no code you have to follow. My advice is to just do what's right for you and take your time - experiment.