Drugs and Gangsters- Photography by Jono Wood

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Who is Jono Wood and what do you do?

I am a 26 year old Johannesburg born and based photographer. I studied at Vega’s national college of photography and there after spent about five years assisting some of South Africas best photographers on a freelance basis. During this time i started photographing my own documentary based projects often focusing on hard hitting South African issues such as gangsterism or xenophobia. I now work as a newly established freelance photographer and shoot documentaries and freelance pieces for different press agencies as well as commercial jobs.

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How would you define your style or art?

My style at the moment is very portraiture based and my subject matter is socially relevant content, i want to educate the viewers of my images as well as make statements on the society we live in. I like my work to have a purist quality and enjoy shooting on film and if I shoot digitally not putting too much post production into the images. From assisting i learned a lot about being a photographer on a professional level and was inspired to create a technically sound image which is also now a part of my style.

What inspires your work?

I live in Ponte city which is a building in the centre of JHB in Berea and find a lot of my inspiration comes to me from what I see on a daily basis in Berea,Hillbrow and Yeoville. I’m constantly inspired to start a new project and often need to calm myself and try focus on one or two stories at a time. I keep learning through my work and the more I learn the more I’m inspired to do so maybe it’s the thirst to try understanding certain situations and events that inspires me most.

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What are you currently working on?

I’ve recently spent the better part of last year with a journalist Nickolaus Bauer   shooting a portraiture series of heroin, crack and nyope addicts in a notorious drug park in Hillbrow. It was a very difficult project to photograph and took us close on 6 months to get full permission from local users and dealers to actually begin taking photographs. Its finally come to an end and is exhibiting at Rubix Cube gallery in Maboneng on January 30th.Iv also started another project which I’m very excited about and hope to finish by the end of the year.

What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?

I think my best advice would be to do whatever you want, nobody can tell you how to express yourself or what to photograph.

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Where can our readers follow your work?

I have a behance profile https://www.behance.net/jonowood which i keep updated regularly and a website http://jonowoodphotography.com/106183/recent-projects .

MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice (who do you prefer if you had to choose?)

I’d rather not choose and say Snoop Dog

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