Photographer: Johann Wall
Location: I’m living in Vancouver but I prefer to think of myself as on the West Coast because I grew up on the Island and I have that sort of Island personality. I don’t know if it’s a good base. I have a very European sensibility. I struggle with my love of fresh air and wild nature and the gritty old charm of European cities. I have to figure this out.
Equipment: Right now I shoot with a Canon 5ds and Fuji x100s for digital and then I have a few film cameras - Nikon, Contax, Pentax 645. I just used the Profoto B1’s on a location shoot and they are amazing. So easy and simple if you need a little light on a scene. I went back to using a 50mm lens like when I started though I often use a 24-70 for work if I’m going to be moving around. Editing I use whatever is quick. Lightroom Bridge Capture.
Style: I tend to enjoy windows, mirrors, softer lighting with not a lot of clutter. I like film and if you pause one in a moment you love, there’s usually a beautiful portrait. I just like making photos that anyone can enjoy. Ideally I can make one that isn’t about the subject or the time and is just a moment that lives on its own and is more than it appears.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
I think location is very important. I think it’s always a moment so the only reason it isn’t is if you take a bad photograph because then no one would want to look at it.
“Always plan a shoot as much as you can. You can still get spontaneous shots but don’t count on something just working out when you get there.”
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
Wolfgang Tillmans. I just loved how he tacked different sized photos on the wall in a very thought out way. He made a meaningful narration through association. A group of photographs that keep you in their midst so you can enjoy where they take your thoughts. My first job was when I smoked a spliff at a party with an editor at a magazine in Liverpool on my first night in the UK and she asked me to photograph the Manic Street Preachers that week. I read all about how to push black and white film and then I set up a dark room in our flat.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot.
Eva in the window. We were visiting a friend's cabin and I saw the light in the window and the colours and how wonderful it would be to have her there as well - I realized if you see something you should follow through and see what it brings.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
Right now I am really interested in kindness and connection.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
Barry Gnyp. I arrived in Vancouver looking for work as an assistant and he was one of the first photographers I went to. He looked at my stack of pictures and said, "I think you should just take these to a magazine." It really made me feel like I had something special and I will always remember that meeting with Barry for giving me the little push that I needed. It turns out we have the same birthday, September 13. Technically, I was working with Gregory Heisler once and he set up a movie gallery shot using one bare bulb and a v-flat which lit the subject like sunlight creating a background, highlight, key and fill light all in one. Good to know!
Tell us three photography tips.
1) Don’t worry about the camera they are all good these days.
2) Always plan a shoot as much as you can. You can still get spontaneous shots but don’t count on something just working out when you get there.
3) Think about the light. I mean you can make something look pretty sweet with presets but so can anyone! You want to create something that isn’t just momentarily pleasant.
"If you see something you should follow through and see what it brings."
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would... rock climb. Heights still get to me.
I wouldn't be where I am today if... without all the novels that inspired me to go out there into the world
I've been listening to... a french radio station.
Kids these days... live behind gates.
I look and feel my best when... I am with close friends.
When no one is looking I... practice German out loud with myself.
I respect... people that work on something with a passion.
Tag a friend to feature and ask them a question:
Christopher Bradford, @the_bradford. What are you up to with your work?
Christopher Bradford answered: Currently, I’m London working on a few projects - but I live in Amsterdam. Whilst here, I’ve shot a sticks and stones editorial, but I’m mainly on the quest for an agent here…so if you are reading this Format 34 or 100% Halal Productions, holla at ya boy.
Last year was a great one for me in terms of publication. I was featured in Sticks and Stones, Rouser Mag, Last Daze, Flanelle, and Defuze Mag, to name a few. I was even voted as having one the Sticks and Stones images of 2015.
My goal for 2016 is to take things to the next level. Keep only shooting film (35mm), rock a few campaigns and publish a couple of book ideas.