Behind the Lens: Interview with Jonathon Duncan

BY BLENDED STAFF

Behinds the lens is a blended series which digs deep into the artistry of visual creatives.

Jonathon Duncan is the 23-year-old touring photographer for LANY. His personal and raw moments of each of LANY’s performances make his work incredibly unique and enveloping of the alternative pop band. Blended’s Brooke Bell sat down with Duncan to discuss his artistic influences and his experiences photographing LANY.

Where did your interest in photography start?

When I was younger, my mom had these old film cameras laying around the house. I’d grab them and photograph my siblings and my two dogs. On a serious note, I think in middle school I took a journalism class that inspired me to shoot more photos of my everyday life.  That is sort of how it all started. 

How did you get your first job and how old were you?

I was 19 at the time, I got a gig working for LANY and it was perfect timing because my friend Derek and I were wanting to go to San Francisco. So we left our hometown and I shot my first ever show at Rick Shaw Stop in San Francisco. 

How would you describe your photographic style?

Honestly, that is a great question and to be real I never really thought about that. There is something extremely special about photographing someone or something in a raw moment. I think when I’m photographing a show I’m trying to make those moments come to life as if you’re almost at the concert. 

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I think my favorite part of my job is being able to work with many talented people that share the same interests of pursuing their passion. Working with bands have given me the opportunity of documenting many magical moments.

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What equipment do you bring to shoot at shows?

I’ve been carrying around my Canon 6D with a zoom lens. Also shooting on a Canon PowerShot point and shoot from like 2008. 

How do you post process?

Right after the shoot or show. I like going through my photos and picking out my selects, after that I’ll begin editing and deciding which photos I’ll keep and which ones I’ll let go of. 

How do you differentiate your style from other concert photographers?
I think when I shoot a show, I’m trying to take photos of the band as if I'm photographing a music video. There is something beautiful about capturing raw and authentic moments between the band and crowd. I think I try to shoot shows with less light, sometimes no light is better than having all the light. 

What was your favorite tour experience and why?

There was this one time I was out on tour with LANY and we were all singing “Take me home, country roads.”  All singing and laughing together. Honestly a beautiful moment.   

Can you describe the night of photographing a show or is every night different on tour?

Different crowd, different venue every show. I feel like every show has a unique feeling to them. But I think that in the end, every fan shares the same love for the band, which makes it wonderful for me to photograph people singing their hearts out or sharing moments together.  

What would you be doing if you weren’t a photographer? 

If I could I would want to be in a field where I could be working with and/or teaching children with special needs. After growing up with my younger brother, I’ve definitely developed a soft spot for children in similar lifestyles.

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Who is your dream artist to work with?

One of my favorite artists are The Strokes, I grew up listening to them and would love to tour with them. Perhaps even do stuff with their individual projects. I’d also love to do work with Ian Simpson, always been inspired by him.  I also just admire that whole Brockhampton crew. 

Who influences you creatively?

I think Hedi Slimane has been a huge influence to me. He has a photo diary on his website that I can spend hours browsing. I think I also look up to photographers like David O’Donohue and Matty Vogel.  

What band should we all be listening to right now? 

I couldn't think of just one so here are a few: Choker, Eliza Elliott, Leuca, Role Model. Honestly my top played artists at the moment.  

How has social media enhanced your connection to fans (of the artist or of yourself)?

Well, it's been really cool. I think having a platform that I can share my work but also socialize and meet other people in the industry has been wonderful. I think people like what I do and that just makes my heart so warm.  

What is your advice for future concert photographers? 

I think my best advice is to shoot every show possible and photograph the small venues especially. Trust your gut, invest all your extra money into more equipment. Always remember to be yourself.

Lead Image Credit and All Photos: Jonathon Duncan