Imag[in]e: Jackson Fenby

Jackson Fenby has a talent for turning people’s most o-guard moments into candid snaps. Since completing a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Honours) in 2013, he’s embedded his work in local publications with no intentions of stopping there.

What’s the story behind your first camera and how you got into photography?

It’s only recent that I’ve been into photography; say the past two years. I started with my iphone, snapping away at anything I thought looked interesting. Well, to be honest it was mostly pictures of my bike in front of a cool backdrop. Slowly, I got more curious, to the point where I’d spend my spare time exploring just for a photo. I’d be looking around like a tourist in my own city, wandering through streets and inside buildings, being in places I probably shouldn’t. I’d sit on Instagram for hours looking at photos and scrolling through Tumblr. I’ve always been interested in visual expression, cinematography, paintings, and anything similar. Eventually I just wanted to up my game and give it a go. I enjoyed it. Why not? There’s this producer/artist called Ta-ku. Big fan. I wanted to be him. He openly uses an Olympus OMD camera. So I went and bought one.

Where’s your favourite place around Adelaide to take pictures?

I have many, for many reasons. It depends on the mood I want to capture. In terms of my personal stuff, anywhere where there are people present. Candid – that’s my thing. Markets, co ee shops, art galleries, public events, gardens. I love the busyness of these places. But if I were to get Adelaide specific, it would be Port Adelaide. It has this rustic, worn down vibe to it. Even the industrial side has an aesthetic appeal and it’s not too busy, so fashion shoots tend to go a bit smoother.

You just released your own zine featuring a pretty in- depth look at your work. Tell us about the idea behind it.

So my zine’s a publication of my personal photography. It’s a series of candid photos that I’ve been taking over the past four or so months. At first it was just going to be street photography but it’s turned into something more expressive. Contemplativeness. Wistfulness. I was out to capture people’s moods. I then realised I was also capturing mine. I’m quite a social and open being, but I’m also quite tight-knit. It sounds contradictory but it makes sense, trust me. I found a gateway that I could express myself personally and I’ve embraced it. I want to move my photography into something a bit more expressive and personal, so this is my first step into it and it’s quite a big deal for me. I released it on the 28th of January at a zine swap at Ancient World. If it proves to be well received I’ll make it available elsewhere.

What is the biggest extent you’ve gone to in order to get a photo?

You meet some interesting people while trying to get into the photography industry. I met this guy who had similar interests and curiosities. We both liked the idea of climbing buildings and there was this construction site that had always interested me. It’s roughly 13-15 stories high and I knew of a way in. We climbed the boundary fence, went up a ladder onto the first level of sca olding and walked around the perimeter. There were glass doors in each unit but they were all open. We entered and walked up the emergency stairs all the way to the last floor which was only steel frames and hanging wires.

We manoeuvred around the floor walking past future living rooms and bathrooms. Once we got to the edge we climbed more sca olding, which led to the roof. Looking over the edge we could see all of Adelaide. There’s something very rewarding about seeing something familiar from another perspective. We snapped away.

Not for anything in particular, we just thought it would be a good spot to take photos. We wanted the adventure.

Who/what would you most like to photograph?

There’s nobody in particular but I do want to capture humans – I have this particular attraction to them. There’s just so much detail to us that doesn’t get expressed and represented. Everybody has a story. There’s this photographer named Mike Brodie. He packed up all his things and spent five years train-hopping illegally around North America, taking photos of the numerous youth and homeless that do the same thing. The photos are incredible and the best part of it is that it brings light to a world that few people know of. That’s what I want to photograph.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Tough. Looking back and seeing how I’ve progressed, my goals and ambitions are always evolving. Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be pursing photography. As I expressed before, I’d love to get into photojournalism. I’d also want to start my own publication/magazine which cultivates some form of creative culture. I also want to pursue my degree and build bike-friendly and sustainable streets. For now I’ll follow my feet and you can ask me where I am in five years time.

Check out more of Jackson’s work on his Instagram account @fenj_ or his website

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