About a month ago I had a nice interview/conversation with a reporter from my local newspaper. I’ve done short interviews over email but never face to face so I was a tad nervous but excited about the possibility to have my name and images in print. I waited and waited but the article didn’t show up, until today that is!
Let me just say that I am beyond surprised that it’s an entire page and that it is so wonderfully constructed! My town can sometimes focus heavy on the sports (hockey) and light on art so it’s amazing to see such a prominent article (I even made the header of the front page!) I’ve linked the image so that you can read it on the larger size, but I’ve also typed up the interview below 🙂
p.s. on an unrelated note, I am BLOWN away by the support and enthusiasm by my leaf tutorial. It’s been so amazing to see the beautiful creations that have come out of it and I am hopefully going to have another one up soon!
(from the Cranbrook Daily Townsman)
Up, Up and Away with Joel Robison
by Annalee Grant
Joel Robison sometimes finds himself weightless, suddenly inspired by something that caught his eye. His body distorts into a seemingly impossible position, inverted over the Cranbrook Community Forest, and strange images emerge from the ground. This isn’t real life, though. This is Joel’s impossibly beautiful conceptual self-portraits playing out on a Photoshop document. What was a hobby has turned into a part-time job for the budding photographer, who spends two to three hours each day turning simple ideas and quirky thoughts into digital imagery that is slowly gaining an international cult fan base online.
“I’m a visual learner,” Joel says. “I really like to see pop culture kind of flipped around.”
Joel has never been taught how to use Photoshop, but simply learned through trial and error; anyone who has tried to self-teach the program knows this is a daunting idea. When Joel was in high school he learned about film photography, not digital, but it seems he has adapted well.”It’s like learning to paint,” Joel says of the program. “The opportunities are endless.”
Endless, just like the worlds Joel has created from familiar scenes in the community forest, which is a short walk from his Cranbrook home. Joel is his own model, photographer, graphic artist and public relations person — and he likes it that way.”It’s kind of like my time to be in my head,” he said.
To build an image, Joel sometimes takes hundreds of photos before he’s satisfied. The shots where he’s floating in the air are sometimes made up of many different images all patched together, with objects he is leaning against cut out. He uses a hand-held remote so that he doesn’t have to run between the camera and the scene, and get into position before the shutter releases. “I don’t have to worry about running back and forth” he said. Joel enjoys showcasing the natural beauty of the scene around him and loves that the community forest is just a short walk or bike ride away from his house. “It’s a perfect place to take photos.”
Joel uses inspirations that are close to home. Throughout his childhood, Joel says his family encouraged reading and he grew up loving Disney characters. Images from books and popular literature appear in his art. In one image taken in Joel’s living room, Kermit the Frog sits next to him on the couch. In others, Joel rides a broom with a Gryffindor scarf, chasing after the golden snitch just like Harry Potter. “I enjoy reading,” he says. “Books are like an escape.”
Ideas that Joel uses can be simple, from sometimes on the table to a more profound idea. “What if I made that cup really big, or really small?” Sometimes Joel takes on the world, and uses his favourite quote of all time to speak his mind. “You must be the change you wish to see” appears in many of his images”
The idea to use himself as the subject of his photos came out of the 365 project, a photography challenge that asks people to take a picture of themselves everyday to document small moments in their life that would otherwise be forgotten. The goal is learn how to use a camera and document life faster than with a blog or diary. Through the 365 project, Joel has managed to build a fan base and has launched pages both on Facebook and Flickr for his photography. Word of mouth has been spreading, and Joel’s been contacted by international photography magazines for interviews that have further lifted his burgeoning career. “I’ve been really fortunate,” he said.
What Joel hasn’t done much of since launching his photography online, is local promotion. He is branching out into some freelance work and hopes to someday turn his hobby-turned part-time job into a career. “It’s a hobby, so anything above it being a hobby, I’m open to try,” he said.
When he’s not out snapping photos in the community forest, Joel is an education assistant at Mount Baker Secondary School who works with students with special needs. The job itself is a constant source of inspiration and creativity for his images. “It’s a great opportunity to be creative, it’s a perfect fit.”
To view Joel’s images, visit his Facebook page, Joel Robison Photography.