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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hywel Jones - A Minimalist Sensibility

Hywel Jones relies on simplicity and spontaneity to create images that reveal a keen appreciation of form and beauty

A Minimalist SensibilitySimplicity. From the beginning of his professional career, the idea of simplicity has stayed with Hywel Jones and remains a guiding principle to this day. With his equipment, his lighting techniques and even his approach to retouching, Jones believes that less is usually more.

"Sometimes, there seems to be a direct relationship between how many lenses you have and how bad a photographer you are," says Jones. "I hate lots of equipment. I really think that I'll get rid of everything I own and just have one Canon and one 24–70mm lens!

"I think it comes from being completely disorganized by default," he continues. "One day, I threw away 90 percent of what I owned and found that only dealing with 10 percent of my life was very easy to organize. It worked so well that I continued the philosophy into shooting, Photoshop and just about everything else."

While his finished images may appear complex, Jones' lighting style usually includes only two lights and mirrored reflectors. Not only does he believe that all of the equipment and fancy gear in the world can't make him a great photographer, but minimizing those distractions—and many others—allows him to concentrate on creativity.

Says Jones, "I'd love to say that photography was my calling from an early age, that my first words were ‘Hasselblad' or ‘Kodachrome,' but the truth is that I stumbled upon it. After being asked to leave school due to ‘lack of interest,' I was forced into a number of job interviews in Cardiff, Wales; it was only when I walked into an interview for an assistant job to an advertising photographer that I had the epiphany."

Maybe it was the magic of the studio environment that captured Jones' interest. Or perhaps witnessing the excitement of a career in the visual arts firsthand finally awakened a deep inner calling. Or maybe it just seemed like another way for the kid to avoid hard work.

Adds Jones, "The photographer had his feet on his desk, and he leaned back on his chair and offered me a cigarette. At this point, for the first time in my life, I thought, I can do this!"


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