If we had to choose a single photographer in which could capture an image stripped down to its essential raw quality, the name Jimmy Fontaine would have to be in the mix. This modern gentleman has an eye for capturing dynamic people in intriguing spaces. By way of interview meet the talented So-Cal born, New York based, Jimmy Fontaine who shot Chapter’s A/W 2013 campaign.1-Did something or someone in particular spark your interest in photography? How did you get started?
Not necessarily, I somewhat fell into it. I didn’t have this childhood ambition to shoot photos, or get handed down my father’s camera or anything like that. I think I’ve always been a visual person, and when I was young I was quite introverted, and I realized shooting photos was a great outlet for me.
2-When did you discover your interest in photography?
It was by chance in high school. I was in the journalism program and we had cameras at our disposal, instead of covering school related events I would shoot friends skateboarding, snowboarding, shoot bands, things like that. The course was into the idea of covering students outside of school events so it gave me an outlet to publish friends doing non-traditional sports. The process and gratification of being published, even on such a small scale pushed me to consider trying to further the hobby into possibly something more.
3-Who are some photographers or people that you like that inspire you?
Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Paolo Roversi, Peter Lindbergh as far as photographers go. I’m extremely inspired by cinema, Ingmar Bergman films, Antonioni films, Audrey Hepburn, the costume design of Edith Head the simplicity of lighting from that era but also the complexity of styling and grace – the styling of Panos Yiapanis, etc. There are always new things that spark motivation for me.
4-What do you think is the key to photography?
I think just the ability to capture real and heartfelt moments. To make an image that makes people stop and think about the person or moment involved. I truthfully don’t think it has anything to do with technical ability or knowledge. Being confident and comfortable with yourself and whomever you’re shooting regardless of the equipment you use.
5-What kind of equipment do you use?
Usually a Contax G2, Contax 645, Polaroid Land cameras, a Polaroid Type 600, a few point and shoots, and when I shoot digital usually a Canon 5D or whatever I can get my hands on.
6-What role does music play with your work?
It enhances ideas for sure. It can put you into a mind state that can influence the style or way you shoot on a particular day. One day I could be listening to Fear or DMX or something and just want to shoot some grimy shit, the next day you could be listening Enya or Andrea Bocelli or something and be like man, I just want to shoot some girl floating in a lake in Givenchy couture with fog and swans everywhere. I don’t know, you never know what’s going to spark an idea.
7-What role does fashion play with your work?
When you’re shooting fashion its all about the clothes. That’s what you’re selling, it has to look good and the mood, environment and model have to compliment that. When shooting portraits I’m not that concerned with it. I want people to wear what they’re comfortable in. I hate when shooting a celebrity or musician and there’s a stylist that wants to dress them in something so inappropriate in regards to who they are as an individual. It doesn’t translate and makes them less likely to open up to the camera or be themselves.
8-What are you working on right now?
I’ve been busy with editorial and advertising work this year, which I’m really happy about. Just finished a cover for NYLON Japan, a lot with Aritzia, and music mags, etc. I’m working on a book with my girlfriend, which I’m really proud of. The guys from NO THOUGHTS will be releasing it in a few months. We’ve been shooting for about seven months and I think it’s going to be really strong.
9-Words to stand by?
Be kind to people and always be respectful even if it’s not merited. You have to be self-motivated to be in a creative and freelance field. There is no stability except the stability you create for yourself. There are so many talented people and you have to work very hard to try and stay ahead. But I truly believe the way you treat others is a determining factor in success. No one wants to work with an asshole, money and success isn’t as important if achieved in vain or at the expense of others.
10-You in three words?
What a prick.
For more of Jimmy’s work visit, jimmyfontaine.com