Who are you?
When I first moved here to Victoria I convinced people my name was Blake, but it’s actually Josh or Joshua Chislett.
Schooled or self-taught?
Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to be schooled in photography, In highschool I tried desperately to get on the list for the very “exclusive” photography class which seemed to be reserved for the kids who would rather not be. Since then it’s been trial and error, books and exploration.
When did you first pick up a camera and the moment you just knew?
I can recall my first film camera very very vividly. I was about 6 or 7 years old walking into “that fast food restaurant” with my mother, undoubtedly wearing my bright neon 90’s Ninja Turtles gear, I could care less about the food it was the toy in the bag that had me excited. That day I was the proud owner of a rectangular, bright orange, 110 casette camera; I don’t think that camera left my “new kids on the block” fanny pack until they stopped developing 110 in store.
Back then I was simply obsessed with the idea of creating my own pictures with my own camera!, it wasn’t until early highschool when photography finally became a new medium to express my art and ideas. Now thanks to that bright orange camera, photography has become an essential outlet in my life from boarding the garage windows for a darkroom or skipping visa bills for that “must have” piece of equipment.
What type of photography do you specialize in and why?
I find I’m best suited in the studio or outdoors doing portraits, utilizing different forms of lighting and interacting with the subject. I wouldn’t want to say I specialize in one peticular aspect of photography though, but rather, do my best to assimilate each style and make it my own one way or another.
Favorite lens and why?
Yashinon 80mm f 3.5, it’s not going to top anyones list but I’m a sucker when it comes to glass, I could bore you to death about crop factors, focal lengths and coatings but, when it comes to a good lens I look for character before sharpness or auto focus performance; I’ll leave that to my digital kit. The Yashinon has just the right amount of sharpness, bokeh and translates with medium format extremely well.
Who are your influences? And if you had one question to ask them, it would be ….. ?
The biggest influence for photography has always been my brother, we were like any other siblings as kids, always fighting and annoying eachother to no end, but as we grew up and moved on photography as a hobby became our treaty of Versailles. We’ve grown alot closer and have become great friends through our photography. One Iconic indavidual I’d give a kidney meet has always been Henri Cartier-Bresson, coming from a time when photography wasn’t widely regarded as a higher art form it’s simply amazing to see his work now and think “wow, here’s a man that can freeze time and make it look good!”, If i were to ask him only one question it would be this, “take my picture!”.
Ideal gig would be ….
I get excited whenever someone hires me for photo work, it’s brilliant to be given creative control and do what I love. I live for the smile and excitment a client or friend gets when presented with a finished product. My absolute dream gig though? travel photography for national geographic, I love the idea of trail blazing through swamps and jungle, alleys and crowds, covering culture and history in the moment; In this fantasy I also look exactly like Colin Farrell in “triage”.
If there is any advice, whether it be camera or business related, it would be ….
Better gear does certainly not equate better talent, I’ve met many a folk who compose and execute a better photo on their point and shoot than that other guy with the ten thousand dollar kit who takes pictures of ducks in the ditch. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s to take your time and think before and during a shoot. If you stop to think about your composition, lighting and all those funny numbers blinking in the lcd, it saves you from sifting
hundreds of photos for the recycle bin. You’ll have alot more fun in the end.