Small Talk with Jai

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When I was younger, I never wanted to be anything. I was really happy just drifting and going wherever life took me. So becoming a photographer was a job that I believed I could do and still remain the free spirit that I am.

Hello Jai! In a few words -or sentences-, how would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as an extension of my personality. I shoot shit the way I see it. It’s taken me a good decade to be brave enough to be able to portray the way I feel into an image. I like to say I am shooting myself through my models. I direct my models in all my shoots to give me the emotion and the sense that I want in that moment. Imperfect perfection is what I like to call it.

In each series, we discover a new feeling in your images. The colors are not always the same, sometimes there’s lots of noise, sometimes it’s very clean,… Do you use a different film/camera to achieve this, or do you play in post-production?
I shoot everything digitally unless a client commissions me otherwise. Once I have shot the images I go to post and let the ambiance and the energy of the imagery guide me in the color treatment I give to each set or image. I love how color tones affect the over feel and vibe of the image. It’s not until I start going through the images from the shoot that I get an idea of what I’m going to do to them. Sometimes grainy, sometimes clean, sometimes color, sometimes none. I edit the same way I shoot, I feel what I see and then I make it stylistically identifiable to me.

Your favorite movie?
I have lots of movies that I watch religiously. But overall my favorite movie of all time has to be Forest Gump. It’s a story of a simple character in a not so simple world, doing extraordinary things with little, to no preconceived thought process. It’s an inspiring story, that shows you, that you can do anything you want, anytime you want, if you really want to. The world is like a box of chocolates and at some point you have to run those chocolates off…

In some series, I can spot a close relation with your models. Once we see your arm in the photo, once it is your feet, then somewhere else we see you in the mirror. Is that something planned or does it come naturally during the shoot?
I have always liked to include myself into my work. They are kind of signature shots that I do. I started with reflections and then my body parts into shots. I like to put myself into my work to border that line or reality and the surrealness. I like to think when I am making my art I bridge these two worlds and when I freeze time, sometimes I want to be the missing link between these two realms.

Your favorite place to shoot?
I like to shoot everywhere. I pride myself on being able to make magic anywhere anytime. All I need is a camera. I like the grungy raw setups. I’m always looking for imperfect locations to make perfect moments.

Looks like you love to tell stories. Again, is the story set before the shoot or do you go with the flow?
Yes, I love to shoot in a cinematic way. When I go into a shoot, I like to think of simple scenarios and then let my intuition and eye flows as if the moment was that of a real coming together or connection between two or more people. People refer to it as shooting raw, I call it intuition.

The best thing about being a photographer?
The best thing about being a photographer is that I get to be me, everyday. I don’t have to change into another person when I go to work. I get to be myself and do what I want to do the way I want to do it (most of the time). I get to be creative, I get to think freely and act intuitively. I love meeting new people who also love what they do (most the time). When I was younger, I never wanted to be anything. I was really happy just drifting and going wherever life took me. So becoming a photographer was a job that I believed I could do and still remain the free spirit that I am.

Your wildest dreams?
I would live forever, never age and be able to fly like superman when wanted…

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