Jo Paterson is a brilliant fashion photographer who has been inspired to move into children’s fashion and portrait photography by the sheer energy and imagination of her subjects. She has been working on this wonderful series of images of children – who she speaks to in depth to get a real representation of their whimsical inner worlds – we hope you enjoy it! We also spoke to Jo on her own inspiration – and the move from high fashion to knee high!
FLUXLINGS: How did you get into photography?
I came to photography late in life, this is actually embarrassing but the catalyst was a lecture by the photographer David La Chappelle, (king of bubblegum Pop imagery of America) he said he didn’t want to be an artist, holed up in his studio, he wanted to be a photographer because you actually got to experience the world through creating photographs.
FLUXLINGS: How did that lead into childrens photography specifically?
I was commissioned to do a kids fashion shoot and loved it, my photographs really seemed to gain something from using children as the subject.
FLUXLINGS: How do you get your inspiration for the childrens portraits?
For this series, the inspiration came from conversations with the children- at such a young age, their imaginations are wild! In their minds a sponge becomes a frog, a staircase a water fall, etc. I wanted to find out what these children were passionate about, whether it was dinosaurs or robots, and make that come alive for them. But I also wanted to respond to the children’s personalities as well, and evoke who they are as a person through these images.
I was inspired to create the sci-fi images, when I visited the boy [featured in the photograph] in his home and was struck by its bright windows and contrasting darkness inside the house, which reminded me of the ‘Star Wars’ films. He loved sci-fi, and had many robots neatly and carefully displayed in his house. I could imagine him embarking on a space mission in later life!
FLUXLINGS: How do you find/choose the children you have photographed for the series? Who was your favourite(s)?
Through a variety of sources, some I have a personal connection to and some are from modeling agencies. I’ll have to say Jasper who I used for the spider web image , as he is my beautiful nephew.
FLUXLINGS: Do you find photographing children very different to your fashion work?
You do have to have a different approach when photographing children, you have to be pretty quick
or they will get bored but the plus side is for me using sets and props with adult models can look contrived, but children delight and engage very naturally with this, they just seem to get it.
FLUXLINGS: What else are you working on at the moment – any interesting briefs?
The next photo series I have in mind is a collaboration with prop maker Emily Pugh. It will be a look behind the scenes of a zoo, featuring a mixture of props, animals and zoo architecture.
FLUXLINGS: Are there any plans to exhibit the series?
I would like to carry on with the series for a while first and see how it develops.
To find out more about Joanna and her photography, visit www.joannapaterson.com.