Model: Violet Eyes.
Jamie Mahon is an Englan-based photographer. This interview was featured in issue 7 of Sinical Magazine. Order a print copy here.
Sinical Magazine: You are based in Leeds, England. Can you tell us a little about your background?
Jamie Mahon: Currently I work as a graphic designer for a local company as well as freelancing in my spare time. I'm also the creative director and lead designer of Soundsphere Magazine.
Sinical Magazine: How did you get started in photography?
Jamie Mahon: It started when I was studying at Wrexham College where I quickly developed my style at the time, high ISO film pushed in the developer with maximum contrast when projected onto photographic paper. From there I went onto study at the Universty of Wales, Newport in Photographic Art which is where I really started to dig my teeth into it.
Model: Helene Atsuko.
Sinical Magazine: What type of camera and lighting equipment do you use?
Jamie Mahon: Canon 7D with a combination of Multiblitz and Bowens studio lighting coupled with flashguns and home made light modifiers when on location.
Sinical Magazine: Your photography has a very dark and gothic theme to it. Can you elaborate on this?
Jamie Mahon: I do mostly wear black clothing, much to my colleagues annoyance (sic). The gothic subculture is something that I embrace because its visually stimulating, there are some fascinating people whom I've met and it caters more to my own personal aesthetics and sensibilities.
Model: Miss Blitzkrieg.
Sinical Magazine: What inspires your visuals?
Jamie Mahon: A while ago I would have said movies and comic books, more movies with the frame ratio I use on my landscape images. As I've developed its more about what the model is wearing, I believe that rules and context should be the basis of what you shoot to have a cohesive theme. If it's my own concept then it's whatever pops into my head, usually some random thought whilst working on something else.
Sinical Magazine: What is the most important aspect of a photo to you? Is it the lighting, the backdrop, or the model's pose?
Jamie Mahon: All three of these are crucial. If the lighting is wrong it's not easy to fix in photoshop. The background, if it be a location, should add depth and texture without being distracting and the pose has to be be right to convey emotion and intent for the viewer to connect with the subject and narrative. They can't work without one another.
Model: Lady Nex Angelus.
Sinical Magazine: Are you more of a spontaneous shooter or do you put a lot of planning into your shoots?
Jamie Mahon: I prefer to plan if I can help it, because then I have an idea of what I can do and how to shoot it. This cuts on setting up time and enables me to be effective as a model will have to leave at a specific time. Having said that though I am pushing myself to be more off the cuff and try to think of things on the spot.
Sinical Magazine: Some photographers prefer the controlled atmosphere of a studio and others prefer a more open environment. Do you prefer to shoot in a studio or at a selected location?
Jamie Mahon: The studio was the only way I could work to begin with as I didn't have a car to get to locations, so the idea came that I make something out of nothing which developed my compositing skills. Essentially it depends on the concept and how a location or studio is best served by it. I prefer location as it's real world and you can interact with it, the downside being is that you're exposed to prying eyes. Studio you can spend more time getting the lighting and the shots right. End of the day the context dictates on where I shoot, whatever best serves the final result.
Model: Violet Eyes.
Sinical Magazine: What type of software do you use for your photo editing?
Jamie Mahon: Start off in Lightroom to process the RAW files, then move into Photoshop CS6 with a Wacom graphics tablet, and sometimes the final colour tone and style is achieved with onOne Photo Tools
Sinical Magazine: Do films inspire your work? Do you have any favorites?
Jamie Mahon: The belief I have is that you can't have a favourite movie, because there's just too many out there. I could state John Carpenter movies up until They Live, Wes Anderson for the unique worlds he creates for his characters, David Fincher for his control of camera and design of shots. And so on, and so on. I could talk cinema till the cows come home, but as to whether they reflect my work; yes, to the level that what I create has a logic and reason within the confines of itself.
Sinical Magazine: Do you have any projects that you are currently working on?
Jamie Mahon: I have a close working relationship with Violet Eyes where we strive to do more interesting work and break away from what we've both done in the past, the next shoot is gonna involve a ballgown, neck corset and a mad hair piece. I'm also about to embark on a series of images with Sohuiii which will be a combination of avant garde and cosplay which I'm very excited about. Plus several more I'm currently working on with various models which are at an early stage in the development process.