This coming Sunday is Father’s Day and I thought it would be perfect if we featured a member who was not only a great photographer, but a great father. This week we put the spotlight on Jay Wilson of Jay B. Wilson Photography of New York City.
I asked Jay how he started out in photography. He answered, ” I developed a love for photography, as many did, back in junior high school with the standard Photography 101 art class – the borrowed Pentax K1000, the dark room, the weekly exercises in shadow and reflection. My love for it really took off when my family visited the U.K. for six weeks in 1984 – I only remember the year because our English butcher would crank “Born in the U.S.A.” and sing along. I love taking photographs of ruined castles like Kenilworth – and loved how their facades changed so dramatically as the light changed. I also loved wildlife and sports photography, often hauling my SLR to Fenway Park and out into the woods to stalk waterfowl.
I didn’t really go professional until 2005, when I began selling prints of New York City online. It’s evolved since then to include a few exhibits in Westchester County, where I live, as well as portrait, commercial, and event work. Currently, I’m also selling matted prints of NYC down at The Fulton Stall Market by the Seaport, which is a great way to meet visitors from all over the world, many of whom share our passion for photography.”
I always like to ask photographers, what inspires them? When I asked Jay, he said, “I fell in love with New York when I moved here in 1996, and the city has been my inspiration since day one. I love the variety of photographic opportunity the city gives us – from the best street photography in the world, to the architecture, the parks, the daily drama of life in Gotham. I primarily focus on architecture, and try to find new perspectives and compositions on landmarks like The Flatiron Building or Chrysler Building, but I also really enjoy finding those hidden gems – the faded signages, the urban decay, the notes of serenity the otherwise rough and tumble streets.”
He continued, “ More recently, after the birth of my daughter five years ago, I began photographing my kids obsessively. It got to the point, when she was about three, that she was so sick of being photographed that it turned into a game – me stalking her with a camera like Ron Galella, her ducking behind tables and cribs to hide. It could have gone either way, but I’m happy to say that now she loves taking photos and videos with her own camera – a Kodak PlaySport I picked up at Adorama, which she particularly loves because she can take it in the pool. I love it because it’s virtually indestructible. Although my two-year-old son hasn’t started shooting, he loves looking at photos on Instagram, 500px, and in my Photoshop organizer.”
I also asked Jay what his favorite image is to date. He replied, ” That’s tough, and probably changes week by week when it comes to photographs of my kids, but in terms of the New York City work, I’d have to say ‘The Gathering’ a photograph I made in Grand Central Terminal. I walk through the Terminal a couple of times every day as I commute, and the place never ceases to leave me in awe.”
Inside Jay’s camera bag you’ll find a Pentax K7 body, Pentax 50mm 1.4 prime, Pentax 18-70mm kit, Tamron 70-300mm telephoto zoom, a Gorillapod, a couple of speedlights, a BlackRapid camera strap and of course, a ton of SD cards.
I asked Jay if he could go back in time and give himself some photography advice when he was first starting out .. what would it be? He answered, “I wish I had started doing professional work sooner. I work fulltime in advertising, so that was a constraint, but more than that, I don’t think I had the confidence, nor the venues, early on to show my work to others. Social media has certainly changed all that, and I love the instantaneous feedback you can get from others on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. I particularly love 500px, which is a wonderful forum for professional and advanced amateur photogs – the work there is truly spectacular, and challenges me to continue to push to the next level.”
Thank you Jay, your work is also very inspirational. If you would like to see more of Jay’s work you can stalk his amazing work at the following locations:
500px Site: http://500px.com/JayBWilson