Jessica Hunkin

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Self Portrait

A: How old do you feel?  
JH:Younger than I am and older than I am. That’s a bit cryptic. Sorry.

A: Tell us something about yourself in one sentence    
JH: I can’t wink, I’m indecisive about unimportant things and I have a silly sense of humour.

A: When did you decide to pursue photography? 
JH: I was 16 when I got my first DSLR camera, although I was keen to pursue it more seriously about a year prior to that. Looking back, I’ve always been interested in photography in some form – as I kid I’d spend hours looking at old family photographs, I still do. Had I known that it was actually something you could make a career out of, I probably would have made the decision much earlier.

Jessica Hunkin (2)-horz

A: What do you aim to capture in your work?      
JH: The way I feel about photography at the moment reminds me of someone who’s been given their first camera and in that thrill, takes photographs of everything and anything. The only difference is that now my eye is a little more refined. More so than setting out to capture something specific, I prefer to respond spontaneously to whatever it is I’m seeing. I suspect that as I gain more direction this might change, but what my current approach has been producing is images that exist somewhere between the familiar and the abstract. So, while I hugely admire photographers whose work communicates a strong narrative, if I’m being completely honest, mine is much more about evoking a feeling. Which is subtler, and harder to pin down.

A: Tell us about your favourite shoot or muse?   
JH: I really don’t have a favourite shoot, but my favourite images are always the ones that take me by surprise by not turning out the way I had envisioned. As for a muse, that position is still open to be filled. Any takers?

Jessica Hunkin (15)-horz

A: What do you love about being a photographer?   
JH: I think that a lot of photographers will agree that when you’re able to translate what you see or feel while looking at something into a photograph which makes other people feel the same – or feel anything at all – that moment is incredibly rewarding. On a personal level, I’m an introvert so photography gives me an excuse (not that you ever really need one!) to explore places I wouldn’t go otherwise and to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. Without a doubt, it’s helped me grow as a person.

Jessica Hunkin (4)-horz

A: What camera and equipment do you use?  
JH: I use a Nikon D5000 and my go-to lens for almost everything is a 50mm. It’s versatile in all lighting situations and I enjoy that it’s quite a close crop. I’m not a fan of fancy equipment so if I’ve really got to go all out I’ll use an external flash or a tripod, but the type of shooting I do rarely calls for either these – and I like to keep it that way. Funnily enough, what I’ve been using more than anything lately is my iPhone. It’s so handy to have a perfectly capable camera in your pocket at all times, and I attribute this as one of the main contributing factors to developing my eye over this past while. I’ve also got a soft spot for film, of course, and have a few film cameras that I use on special occasions.

Jessica Hunkin (7)-horz

A: Your work uses a lot of light and shadows as a theme. Is there any particular reason you use this in your work?
JH: I’ve always be intrigued by patterns of light and shadow. Without light, shadows don’t exist and without shadows, we wouldn’t notice the light. The two work together in such interesting ways and can drastically transform a scene they fall on – even one as simple as a white wall – into something quite unexpected.

A: Does Johannesburg lend itself to being a great backdrop for your work?    
JH: Yes, definitely. I love the contrasts of this city. It’s beautiful and ugly, it feels huge in places and in others feels incredibly small, it’s rural and modern. I’ve lived in Johannesburg for my entire life and I’ve yet to run out of new things to see.

Jessica Hunkin (6)-horz

A: How does space impact your work?   
JH: Well, I can’t say that’s something I’ve ever thought about before. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about space is the endlessness of it, and the fact that so much of our universe remains undiscovered. I associate space with exploration, and in that way I can draw a link between the two because photography for me is about just that: exploring the world around me, which is an endless pursuit in itself.

A: If you could travel into space, would you? 
JH: Yes, purely because I’d be crazy to turn an opportunity like that down. A guarantee that I’d return safely to Earth would definitely help to make my “yes” a little more enthusiastic, though.

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A: Fridays or Sundays? 
JH: Sundays. Or Fridays. Can’t I have them both?

A: Any favourite local hangouts/ restaurants?
JH: I adore movies, and spend quite a bit of time at the Cinema Noveau at Rosebank and sometimes The Bioscope in Maboneng. I really enjoy going to art galleries and because they’re scattered all over Johannesburg I like to make a day of it. As far as restaurants go a few favourites are Salvation Café at 44 Stanley, Café Del Sol in Olivedale, almost anything in Parkhurst, or Love Food in Braamfontein.

Jessica Hunkin (17)-horz

A: Any favourite performing artists/bands?    
JH: Too many to mention! The Tallest Man On Earth, James Vincent Mcmorrow, Metronomy, Efterklang, Givan Lotz, Ben Howard (for ever), The National, Atoms for Peace, John Wizards and most recently Thor Rixon.

A: Where would we find you on a rainy day?
JH: At home, reading or watching series.

A: Complete the sentence: I never thought… ?    
JH: I’d struggle to finish that sentence as much as I apparently am struggling to finish this sentence. Did I just make a riddle?

A: Is there a website people can view your work?
JH: I’m most active on Instagram, it’s probably the best place to stay up to date with what I’m doing. Other than that I’m on Behance and Tumblr.

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