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FOCUS: Joseph Ford

4 November 2020

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© Joseph Ford. Lacoste

Well known for his unique images incorporating portraiture and knitting projects, we catch up with Awards finalist and member Joseph Ford.  Read our interview where Joseph talks about the technicalities of making these quirky images and head to the current Spotlight exhibition to view a selection of images from his Invisible Jumpers published project.

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© Joseph Ford. Hennessy / DDB Paris

How did your photographic career begin and at what moment did you feel you wanted to be a photographer?

I started taking pictures while studying languages at university. I spent the third year of my course in Paris, mostly going to exhibitions and doing b/w street photography, and that got me hooked. 


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© Joseph Ford. Robert Vallentin

Well known for your Knitted Camouflage project can you tell us more about how this came about and the technicalities of the images?

A knitting friend, Nina Dodd, had created a jumper based on a bus seat pattern. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss so I suggested finding an eye-catching model and photographing him in situ on a bus. 

Each of these pictures has taken me weeks to research and plan. I have generally begun with an idea: ‘Could I photograph someone blending into cherry blossom, or into a cliff edge?’ Then I go looking for the perfect location, before working out a precise brief on exactly how the design should match the background. 

The locations have to be eye-catching but simple enough to be able to be knitted. They also have to be places that aren’t going to change too fast, as the knitting takes a few weeks. It would have been terrible to prepare a sweater and then not be able to shoot because the location has been demolished.


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© Joseph Ford. Paperboy / Schön Magazine

Did this start as a personal project and was then used by commercial clients?

So far it’s just been a personal project, but I’d love to work on an advertising project based around the same concept. 


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© Joseph Ford. Paperboy / Schön Magazine

Tell us about your most incredible shoot to date?

I’ve been very fortunate over the last few years, so it’s hard to pinpoint a single most exciting shoot, but there are a few highlights that stick out in very different ways. One was photographing an elephant - I felt very lucky to spend time with such an impressive and calm animal. Another was a worldwide campaign for Hennessy, where we shot from a helicopter over their vineyards at dusk, and spent a couple of days photographing in their cellars, immersed in the smell of 150 year old cognac.


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© Joseph Ford. Paddle Board


How do you see the future of shooting internationally with the current pandemic?

Very unpredictable in the short term. I have worked remotely for international clients over the last few months, and it has created some efficiencies - online meetings rather than face to face PPMs for example. However I’ve also lost jobs because of travel restrictions. 


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© Joseph Ford. Lacoste


What activities have the AOP championed that have changed or impacted on the way you work or your personal career?

It’s always great being featured in the Awards, and in a more general sense I think the AOP’s work on copyright protection is crucial in helping photographers maintain control of their images and licensing. 


View Joseph's published project Invisible Jumpers in our current Spotlight exhibition here


View more of Joseph's imagery in Find a Photographer here

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