Today on the Pixel Magazine, we talk with Fashion & Lifestyle photographer Josh Thomas from Baltimore, USA.
Also known for his work as an illustrator, Josh puts his focus in fusing the worlds of digital art and photography into a colorful, striking experience.
Discover Josh's artistic work and make sure to zoom and explore his photographs!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
Well, I’ve been a freelancing digital artist since dropping out of art school almost as soon as I enrolled. I think I lasted about 6 weeks?
Photography was actually something I knew relatively little about until about 3 years ago. But with a lifetime of Photoshop and lighting knowledge, I thought it’d be a pretty tough challenge to work with people instead of building them–I never actually thought it would last as long as it has, or taken me as far as it’s taken me. Once I realized it was actually doable, I just started messaging local models, trying to get people who would let me experiment with ideas (forever grateful to those people).
In the past year, I’ve been working with agencies in the area who have pretty much given me a pass to create creative content for them. The people I work with consistently seemingly trust my process, and we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve just streamlined creativity.
Can you briefly explain your creative process for a great beauty shot?
Pretty much everything I do in life starts with color. Even conversations with people, I’m probably seeing a bunch of crazy colors instead of the actual words I should be saying, I’m sure it’s frustrating trying to talk to me because of it.
But with beauty work, you really need a strong team. An emotive model is essential, makeup has to be precise, hair goes a long way to making a shot more memorable. Once everyone is on the same page, the rest is easy…ish.
I’ll usually start with showing everyone mood boards of what I want, the biggest challenge being getting everyone to realize we’re not trying to replicate anything, but it’s hard to show someone an idea of something that doesn’t exist yet.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or artists?
Since I was never much into photography before I started doing it, I really don’t know a whole lot of photographers, and researching them I feel only makes you more likely to try and follow their process.
I’m more inspired by my own weird interests, like Beetlejuice, or aliens, or hot pink, or tall sea tales. But my goal with my CG art was always to try and create something that couldn’t actually exist, or that you wouldn’t ever want to stop looking at. So, I think that’s where most of my inspiration comes from. That rush you get when you think about the things you love, I think I just try to give that to people with anything I make.
How do you define your style as a fashion and beauty photographer?
Color. I’ve always been very much against having a “style,” but I’m learning it just happens naturally. I’m not sure what others see when they see my body of work, but I instantly notice everything being very much color-driven, or obviously color-themed, as opposed to style or a certain field of interest.
Is there someone in the world you dream to photograph?
Michael Keaton for sure. I mean it, my life is completely inspired by Beetlejuice. Or Nikola Tesla in a thunderstorm, but that seems unlikely...
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
Unfortunately, I’m not paid to say this, but Profoto’s lighting system is probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made. They’re reliable, they’re powerful, and the light they give off is actually remarkable sometimes, even after firing them thousands of times. Having reliable equipment pretty much takes all the technical struggle out of things, and makes YOU the only thing standing between your vision and your output.
As far as camera equipment, I’ve always been a firm believer in prime lenses, but I recently purchased Canon’s 24-70mm II, which has made my life so much easier. Otherwise, I try to switch it up constantly, using different modifiers and setups, as not to get stuck in any kind of visual routine.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?
I’m actually going to be starting to do lighting workshops in the Baltimore/DC area in June, so hopefully I can help the area get some of the recognition it deserves for the work that comes out of it. Otherwise, I’ll stick to trying to create original visuals for as long as I can.
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All photographs copyright Josh Thomas and used with his permission.
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