Photographer Joshua Aronson has a body of work full of upcoming talents, young creatives, and outsiders. Casting from friends to people he meets on the street, he looks for subjects who bare their soul on their faces. Softening his razor sharp images with an interesting play of light, shadow and reflection, his work feels so alive in its vibrance and its captivation with mid-movement shots. Obscured faces of subjects deep in thought, stare soulfully into the lens, letting their outward front melt away.

Does much planning go into your shoots? Or are you more inspired in the moment?

My philosophy is always to 1) plan as much as possible, 2) arrive to the shoot, 3) forget everything I’ve planned, and 4) go to work. I genuinely believe that the best images come from being. I plan so that I can just be in the moment.

How did you begin taking photos and what is it about photography that made you stick with it?

I was just looking for an excuse when I took up photography. I wanted a global pass. I thought: how nice would it be to have a way to go anywhere, walk into any room without being questioned? Photography can be one giant loophole. It’s a cheat code. It allows you to meet people, see places, and do things you’d probably never do otherwise.

Joshua Aronson Photographer

What’s your favourite photograph that you’ve ever taken and what’s your favourite photograph ever?

My favourite photographs are pictures that raise the stakes. As far as my favourite photograph that I’ve ever taken… I actually don’t think I’ve taken it yet. My best picture is my next picture.

What do you look for in a model?

I actually don’t photograph many models. The majority of people I photograph are creatives, emerging artists, or people I happen to see on the street. What I look for in people is a really bad poker face. When I photograph someone, I like to see what they’re thinking. I try to visualise their ideology. I’m using the picture to bring their perspective to life.

What is it that you find interesting about people and the need to photograph them?

I like to try to imagine what exists beyond photography just being a vehicle for beauty, and photograph that. To me, beyond beauty is representation. The idea of putting people’s thoughts, their energy, the worlds they inhabit into a picture. I think people are something I need to photograph because they’re a reflection of me. I feel as if the people around me are reflections of the life I’m living. So, I document them because, by documenting them, I grow closer to understanding who I am. Photographing people is just my way of finding my place.

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Why do you choose people over other motifs like landscapes?

I think I’m not a landscape photographer for a reason. I’ve always felt that anyone can just set their tripod up and photograph a landscape. Again, I’m only interested in photography because of my interest in representation, in building a community. I photograph people because I feel they’re a more accurate representation of my world than a landscape or some other motif. Really, I’m just trying to use photography and my pictures to reflect the times. I’m trying to reflect the times while also making pictures that exists within them. It’s a delicate balance and a challenge. I feel like landscapes or any other motif would just disrupt that.

Do you have a different connection to the photographs that you take when your muse makes eye-contact with the lens than the ones without?

Well, I watch a lot of movies in my spare time and one thing I’ve noticed is that actors in films rarely look into the camera. It’s something I’m trying to apply more to my photography. There’s, of course, an appeal to somebody looking directly into the camera. But I’m experimenting with other ways of evoking that same emotion, creating that same intimacy, without using eye contact directly.

What movie title best describes your work?

Oh, wow. You know how a particular line of a song will get stuck in your head? Right now, I can’t shake: “If you ain’t in the streets you can’t see the sky”. That’d be a nice title.

How does film directing come into play with your photography? Do you find it hard balancing both interests?

I let one inform the other. It’s just my way of thinking. I don’t really see myself as a photographer, actually. I don’t even see myself as a film director. I prefer to leave titles to somebody else. If one day I wake up and think “I don’t want to work in photography”, I won’t work in photography. I’ll just keep doing me because, ultimately, my work is about perspective, not practice. My perspective isn’t confined by one practice or another. I feel like I could design furniture, make clothing, or build buildings if I wanted to. Eventually, I’ve come to realise that film, photography, furniture, fashion—they’re all one in the same. It’s about a mindset really.

What can we look forward to seeing in your book that you’re releasing next year?

The book is one big mess right now – a beautiful mess – which I like. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can look forward to learning about the processes of young, contemporary artists and culturally relevant creatives. I hope to shed light onto the present so that, in ten, twenty, thirty years from now, someone can pick up my book, read through it, and understand what it is that’s going on right now. Lord knows I certainly don’t understand it. But the hope is that the book will help me, and others, to find our way.

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

Joshua Aronson Photographer

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