Introducing… Jon Eland

Ok, this is a little odd, I admit – I’m effectively introducing myself. But, I thought it was important that we all gave our angle on the project – so here’s my take on the same questions the other artists are answering!

Q: How did you find the project?

A: I found it interesting and challenging – I have photographed texture as a subject before; but never have I focused specially on it. It was lucky I was shooting digital as I found myself time and again meandering off and shooting something else of interest. But I had a good few hours wandering Leeds with Debi – I hope the results are as interesting to you guys as it was for us shooting it.

Detail of shale deposits. Part of a future project on Broxburn's Bings.

Q: Prior to taking part in this project how much did you know about Louisville?

A fair bit – I helped host photographer Michael Brohm from the city, when he visited Leeds in March 2011 – and made the return trip myself for 10 days in September. I won’t claim to be an expert but I have an insight into the similarities in the cities – the emerging tech and cultural communities, the worker mentality and the interesting dynamic you get form a middle-sized city. I’m only too glad to try and foster links between our cities – and look forward to getting myself back!

What is your attitude to collaborative projects such as this?

I strongly believe that collaboration and sharing of skills and experiences now provide us with one of the best and most unique opportunities for our current generations to develop and progress. It always excites me when people come together to share and you see new connections being made. Isolated creative people are from a past age – working together rocks! 

What advice would you give to other creatives considering getting involved?

I’d have to say – “Get involved” – but not because it benefits others. Do it for yourself; it’s a great way to connect with someone you otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to work with – to learn from and gives you a chance to expose yourself to their ways of working, their insights and their experiences. Oh, and a chance to get your work seen by like-minded people in a city thousands of miles away on the other side of an ocean! 

Doorway detail, Lublin, Poland (Aug. 2011)

Describe your general creative practice?

I’m firming up what it is; part of me is a creative entrepreneur – looking for ways to develop as an artist by working with and learning from others. My photography has grown massively in just the last 12 months and I’m looking for other ways to get my work out there – and for me to make it differently in the first place. 2011 saw me produce over a dozen zines, exhibit in Scotland and London, expand the photo group I founded (Exposure Leeds), join an artist’s collective and produce two bodies of work from waste. I’ve also published 3 zines – one a monograph, another my images and others’ words and the third a response to a workshop event I facilitated. All on top of the major photoshoot during my visit to Louisville.

It’s safe to say – I like trying new things. 

Any recent highlights from your creative career?

I think I’ve covered that off above. The trip to Louisville was amazing though; and if this project gathers some momentum it’ll really be the icing on the cake.

After this – what is next for you?

I’m currently planning to take part in an artist’s book exhibition, a couple of photo workshops, a return to Scotland, production of a couple more zines and a trip to a lovely place I know in Kentucky… not to mention (and this really gets my nerves going) – an imminent presentation of my findings during the 2011 Louisville trip.

All images © Jon Eland 2011 – All Rights Reserved. See more of his work on his website.

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