As part of my Concepts brief, I was set the task of researching and analysing the ‘Line in the Sand’ editorial shoot by Jack Davison that appeared in UK Vogue, the October 2017 edition. I began this exploration by looking into Davison as a Photographer and his background/journey.
24 year old, English photographer, Essex born and London based.
Taught himself how to take pictures after picking up a camera at 16.
Studied English Literature at Warwick University but he spent most of his time at university taking pictures.
“I think it helps that I also never got ‘taught’ in an official sense. I was never told how to do things, and never given any set boundaries, so I’ve never had a problem with experimenting.”
He considers the internet was his major influence and ‘a tutor’.
“The internet introduced me to communities of photographers Flickr was unparalleled for introducing like-minded artists and creators to each other’s work.”
Summary of his work
Davison’s work varies from documentary to abstract, and takes in both colour and black-and-white images. Davison’s work is fresh and mature, raw yet stylised. It has a modern feel but often appears to be a take on some of the masters of photography – Irving Penn, Ernst Haas and August Sander – although Davison himself references the work of Viviane Maier and Viviane Sassen as key influences.
At university, Davison took photographs of anything and everything: family, friends, landscapes and even strangers.
After university Davison set off on a six-month tour of the US and created “a body of work that encapsulated my philosophy as a photographer”. The resulting series, 26 States, was mentioned in BJP’s Ones to Watch issue in January 2014, and helped launch his career in London. The portraits which were almost all in monochrome, ranged from starkly lit, strongly featured women to kindly old men, from young kids trying to look tough to street-dwelling men.
Port Magazine commissioned Davison to bring his unique and organic style to a fashion editorial in 2014, giving his work substantial exposure for the first time.
He has since built a strong editorial portfolio doing shoots for high profilers like Vogue and most recently for the first edition of Avaunt Magazine.
Davison employs and appropriates different genres and styles in what seems to be an endless stream of visual consciousness.
His work is full of investigation and play; he jumps between different cameras and mediums, styles and genres. The ‘unknown’ and ‘uncontrollable’ elements are what he enjoys most about his way of working. Davison “values spontaneity, the unplanned moment”.
‘A lot of my work is down to luck and being in the right place to see the right thing.’
‘They are the most challenging thing that often make the best photos, those moments where a stranger brushes into the frame, or someone opens a window and the light bouncing off it pierces into a room. It’s those things that you can’t control, that can work against you, or often push you to different places and to see things you wouldn’t have stopped to ponder before.’
Sharing is characteristic to Davison’s way of working. ‘I like the power a single image can have and that an image can hold its own in a multitude of different contexts.’
British Journal of Photography