Jan Stead JEMproductions

Gladstone, Australia

An avid photographer, both still and moving, since I was 10 years old, I later discovered and developed a particular love of macro,...

FEATURED ARTIST ~ GREVILLEA GROUP ~ INTERVIEW

I was absolutely amazed when kalaryder, host of the Grevillea Group, shocked me, saying they would like to interview me as the new featured artist for the group. As I said to her in my reply bubble mail, my first response was “What!!!” :O closely followed by, and asked, “why?”.

But now I’ve picked myself up off the floor, and recovered enough to give the interview as follows…
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1. What drew you to photography?
It’s hard to say really, as I first began taking photos when I turned 10. I was given a black and white camera for my 10th birthday. But as I moved onto Super 8 movies as a teen, never abandoning stills, this sometimes hobby became something more of a fascination. Many hours were spent editting, splicing and making 20 minute movies, complete with titles.
At University I did two media subjects where I learnt to process and develop and print my own photographs. And at Art school I first used an SLR & discovered the magic of the macro. Fascination was rapidly morphing into serious obsession and I bought my own SLR.
2. What is your favourite subject to take photos of?
Absolutely, beyond a shaow of a doubt, macro shots of flowers, with grevilleas a particular fascination as they are always so different.
3. What camera do you use?
I currently use a Sony DSC-H9, a fixed lens SLR with a 1cm macro facility and Carl Zeiss lens, but I am saving up for a Sony Alpha 700 and, of course, a macro lens. A Carl Zeiss is my first choice, but realise I may have to cmopromise on that, at least initially.
4. What editing programme do you use?
I use two. Photoshop Elements 4, as that is the only version for Macs, and I am a Mac user from way back. But I have also invested in Aperture 2, a Mac program of professional quality. The results it produces are incredible but I have yet to learn it fully, so generally stick with Photoshop.
5. What is your favourite image in your own portfolio and why?
It’s almost a tie between two images, both of which are macro. Reasons for choosing them: they were my first two digital macros and both quite revealing and inspirational.
My first choice is Microcosm

Microcosm revealed to me the amazing world of the unseen, the perfect design in nature. To be able to see that and capture it with the macro lens for others to also experience is just about the best thing I can do, or at least try to accomplish.
Daisy Bee is a a close second for the same reasons.

6. What is your favourite image of your own in the Grevilleas Group and why?
Although I’m a little loathe to pick another of my early shots, I still find this one difficult to ignore or better. Tendrils would be my pick. “tendrils”:http://www.redbubble.com/people/jemproductions/.... I love the clarity and colour and the very ‘life’ is seems to have. Its one of those shots which somehow just worked, almost by accident.

7. What are your favourite three images of other people’s work in the Grevilleas Group and why?
There are so many amazing artists who’ve contributed some remarkable work that this is a very tough question to answer.
But, as I have to choose, they are:
Wombatwal’s Grevillea Winpara Gold

Winpara Gold is simply a stunning image of a spectacular variety of grevillea. His shot has brilliant depth of field, great colours with the vibrant pink and contrasting yellow tips colours as well as a highly informative description of the species and its origins.

“Dew Reflections":http://www.redbubble.com/people/wanagi/art/1072...
by Wanagi Zable-Andrews is an incredible example of great colour, depth of field and macro work at its best. It also appeals to me as it combines two of my loves ~ water drops and flowers, both in macro format. The other reason this is a favourite is its unusual, highly imaginative and different composition where only the tips of the grevillea are seen.

And finally, I ‘ve chosen “Holding On":http://www.redbubble.com/people/kkrafts/art/158... by Kristina K. This is another ‘different’ shot of an unfamiliar genus of grevillea. With the backlighting she’s given it, the sun makes the colours subtle and translucent. I can totally understand why bees are attracted to such beauty.

8. Where would be your dream place for a photo shoot?
I’m not sure I have a dream location, as the whole world is laid out before me, wherever I go, as colours on an artist’s palette. But the place where I first shot macro was at the Canberra Royal Botanical Gardens. So revisiting there would not only be nostalgic but inspiring.
The other way out fantasy would be to go to Western Australia when the wilfowers are in bloom. There are so many amazing native flowers that carpet the grasslands, that it would be amazing to see and capture. So I guess that would be close to my idea of photographic heaven.
9. Last, but not least, would you like to tell us a little more about yourself and where you live.
I’m married with two adult sons, 25 years old and 21 years old. Our eldest son, currently completing his psychology degree, was married at the end of October last year. I’m thrilled to finally have another female to begin to even things up a bit! lol!
Son number two is a newly graduated and gifted film & television photographer and is just getting started in this tough and competitive industry. For fun and relaxation he loves taking still photos (I’ve suggested RB to him).
Although my husband and I met while doing our teaching degrees, after 15 years he left teaching to enter the church and is now an Anglican priest. I taught casual relief through his years of fulltime study when our children were still very young.
Now we’ve both had career changes as I’m no longer it the classroom, but work at a University as an Educational Designer and absolutely love my work. For nearly five years now, we have been living in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, where my husband is the Rector of St John’s Agnlican Church.
It’s only since we moved here that I have had the time to re-discover my art, buy my first digital camera and revive my love of photography. Last year I discovered Red Bubble, rapidly became hooked and, as the result of constant encouragement and support from wonderful fellow bubblers, gained the courage and confidence to have my first ever mini photographic exhibitions. And along the way I’ve been very surprised that I’ve also sold a some cards and calendars.
Thanks for reading this. It is a humbling honour to be featured and interviewed.

Jan

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