Jaz Clarke | Point of View
Jaz Clarke hit me up a few weeks ago saying he was stoked on Yoda’s Aitken piece. He also sent along a link to his site. I was psyched to see lots of trails and other familiar spots and faces from around the London area. Check out his slideshow and continue reading for some q and a with Jaz.
Age, hometown, current home?
33, I’m from Frome in somerset, UK. Currently living in Stoke Newington, London
What do you mainly shoot with?
Up until this year I was using a Nikon D700 but I recently upgraded to a Nikon D3s. I like a 35mm lens, I mostly use two Canon Speedlights and a nikon speedlight. I prefer the canon lights to the Nikon which I find temperamental and not as powerful.
How did you get into shooting trails and park, and what keeps you interested in this?
I’ll shoot anything really and thats what keeps me interested, always having a different situation in front of me when I look through the lens. It ends up being mainly trails because thats where I spend a lot of time and thats where a lot of people that I ride with are. I like the challenge of always trying to shoot new angles at a spot that I’ve documented so much already. I’d like to shoot more street but I dunno, maybe I’m not urban enough?
Do you shoot anythings else, and can we see it anywhere?
BMX wise I’ve done a bit of video, little edits, nothing major.. I shot an edit last month with Rosshead and Kye forte that i really liked called Yeah September! Which you can find on vimeo. We just couldn’t believe how good the weather was and Ross wanted to put a slide in the jumps for a laugh so we just decided to do a quick edit.. It was really fun.
Out in the real world I am actually a photographer, shooting mainly portraits and some bits of fashion.. you can see that at www.jasperclarke.co.uk but its pretty different stuff.
How does London influence you?
London has a really good riding scene although with everybody seeming to be so busy in this city its pretty transient. But basically theres a lot of really talented riders to shoot here! For the most part there are no egos and most folk are down to have fun and banter not just show off, I hope to capture some of that as well as getting shots of amazing riding. I had a lot of fun documenting some of the camden weekly sessions for wednesdayblog.co.uk. John Dye from Bicycle Union is a big influence, he always has an opinion on a shot, whether its what the riders done or what I’ve done. He’s harsh but fair!
Where do you look for inspiration?
Well, it sucks to say it but I’m definitely a pretty average rider so the starting point for my inspiration has always been people whose riding I look up to. Another big thing is people who are creative with their riding, who have got a style of their own that makes their riding distinctive. And people who are into the photography, who get it and want to get a good shot. I always really like shooting with Epsom local Rosshead. He’s always coming up with stuff he wants to shoot and puts in 100% to make sure his part of the bargain is on point, which puts the pressure on me to get a good shot!
I’m motivated to shoot BMX by a few different factors from the photography side. When you do something for a living, like anything else, no matter how much you like it to start off with, it just becomes a job. So I started taking more BMX shots to kind of remedy the stress I was feeling from trying to be a photographer for a living, I wanted to find something to make me remember how much i enjoy photography, the problem solving side of it and the art side of it. In a way i’m more proud of the BMX stuff than of anything else I do, and it was right there under my nose the whole time. For this reason I try to keep the two very separate, fashion and portraits is what I do for living, BMX is what i do for fun and for my friends.
I’m also driven by the challenges of shooting BMX, I would love to feel like I can turn up at any spot no matter what the set up or conditions and walk away with a shot I’m happy with. Talking of which BMX photography can be really tricky with a lot of different factors to overcome so I’ve always been really inspired by a lot of other shooters, Paul Bliss was an early one, Lard, Sandy Carson and Ricky Adam also and these days I really like Vincent Perruad, Dan Benson and Jeff Z. I think those dudes are all really talented.
Any plans you are looking forward to in the near future?
Survive another winter!
Do you have goal as an artist?
Just to keep it fun.
By Brian Barnhart 11.01.11