Portraits That Tell A Story: An Interview With Jeff Isy

Growing up on a tropical island surrounded by pure nature, Jeff Isy developed the ability to see and find beautiful things around him. His portrait and lifestyle photography are characterized by beautiful composition and warm colors that really make his work stand out. Ever since high school, he was fascinated with the whole process of taking photos and the story behind it. In this interview, Jeff talks about the challenges he faced in his career and reveals how he uses social media to promote his content.

Hi Jeff! I understand you are based in Toronto, but before moving here, you were growing up on a beautiful tropical island called Mauritius. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of this place?

I would say beautiful beaches, the warm weather and beautiful landscapes, especially the mountains. In Toronto, we are mostly surrounded by buildings & skyscrapers.

For me, the memorable part is actually the process of making an image. For the viewers, the memorable part would be, being able to relate to the image and being able to see the story behind it.

Your photographic journey started in Toronto, where you fell in love with photography. When was the moment you realized you wanted to become a photographer and make a career out of it?

I took the course in high school and I quickly fell in love with the process. My teacher Joe has been my biggest support throughout high school and even when I graduated. After high school I took a year off instead of going to University. That’s when I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I spent a year meeting up with people, taking their photos and building up relationships with brands, agencies & etc.

Which photographers you found most inspiring when you first became interested with photography?

I looked up to people on Instagram and most of them would be like myself- young photographers chasing their dreams. Couple of accounts that really got my attention were: jillianlee_x & chuck. Also, waitingontheworld is an account that features a bunch of amazing work from many photographers around the world.

You are both portraiture and lifestyle photographer. How did you establish your personal photographic style?

To be honest, I was always into exploring different styles and trying different things. From urban exploration to photographing events such as weddings, working in a studio to working outdoors for brands and etc. By trying everything, it helped me figured out what I really like and what I didn’t like.

After years of doing portrait photography what would you say makes a memorable portrait?

For me, it is the chemistry between the models & photographers. Most of the models will not automatically be comfortable working with you at first. It’s about creating that connection and making the model show you who she/he really is in that moment. For me, the memorable part is actually the process of making an image. For the viewers, the memorable part would be, being able to relate to the image and being able to see the story behind it.

What were some of the challenges you’ve encountered doing photography? What keeps you motivated to take photos?

Rejection was a big one. Like every other artists/photographers out there we all need to go through these rejections to see what we are made of. You can easily give up or keep trying. My love & passion for photography kept me going with the support of my teacher and friends.

When you are out there taking photos, do you mostly rely on your instincts or you always have everything planned out?

I usually go with the flow. The model and I will usually walk around to try to find the best lighting to shoot in. So I do rely on my instincts and the experience I have to get the best results.

You have a really nice follower base on Instagram. In your opinion, what is the best way to stay engaged with your followers?

In my opinion, I think that the best way for me to stay engaged with my followers is to keep posting content at least once a day. If not, I usually use different platforms such as Facebook & Youtube to communicate with all of them.

Are you working on something special at the moment? Can we expect some new work from you soon?

I am planning on travelling for New Year’s Eve. You will be definitely seeing some of my new work soon. I can’t really talk much about what I’m going to be doing yet, but I will keep everyone updated on my social media platform.

Thanks Jeff for taking the time to answer these questions! If you want to see more of his work, you can follow Jeff on Instagram or check out his Website.


Written by Ivana Džamić. Originally published at www.lomography.com.

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