Jake Eastham: Photographer
Jake Eastham is one of the UK’s best known country photographers, and his work encompasses still life, fashion, wildlife and landscape. We caught up with him last week and grilled him on what makes his images so special.
Cordings: Your love of the countryside and its traditions inspires and informs your work. Where did this come from?
Jake: My connection with, and genuine love of the countryside, comes from 12 or so years of practical work in farming, forestry and conservation. I planted tens of thousands of trees, restored rivers, delivered calves and drove grain trailers. It was an uncomplicated way of life and I loved it and it taught me a great deal about life in the countryside. If you told me then what I would be doing now I would never had believed you!
Cordings: You have travelled the world with your career, what has been your most memorable shooting assignment?
Jake: I have been fortunate enough to travel to some wonderful parts of the world; British Columbia, Africa, Norway, Russia, France and Slovenia. Driving the new Range Rover across France to collect wine and Champagne was very special, but I think British Columbia was the most memorable. I was on an assignment for Trout & Salmon magazine and we were fishing for Coho out of a place called Nimmo Bay. We were transported by choppers to remote rivers, flying over mile after mile of untouched forest, mountains and glaciers, spotting bears, eagles and whales as we flew. In the evening we would sit on a jetty by the fire drinking and smoking and practising casting into the fjord – it was magical, a trip of a lifetime.
Cordings: Do you prefer still life / people / landscapes?
Jake: People, still life or landscape – difficult choice. Depends on the person!! When you are working with someone you gel with, you can get some really good shots but sometimes the chemistry isn’t there, no matter how hard you try. I love still life shots because you can create great images out of very little but props and styling are key. I used to do a lot of landscapes and quite miss doing them but the dawn starts get a bit tedious! So in truth, I cant actually choose, rubbish answer really!
Cordings: We are told never to work with children or animals. Has this been your experience?
Jake: Bit of a cliché really. I love photographing animals, especially dogs, pigs, chickens, and horses. You may have little or no control over them, but that is what makes them a challenge. Avoid children at all costs!
Cordings: Have you worked with any memorable / famous people, can you share any gossip?
Jake: Famous people – the most memorable have been Antonio Carluccio, Marco Pierre White, Guy Ritchie, The Queen and David Beckham. I don’t do gossip, but I will say that Antonio Carluccio’s jokes are very rude and very funny!
Cordings: How has digital photography changed your style?
Jake: Digital makes it much easier to experiment without any cost – apart from your time! I don’t think it has changed my style. My style has developed from making mistakes and gaining experience on the job from doing such a wide variety of commissions. However, if you have only got one roll of film in your camera and you can only shoot 36 frames, you will be much more thoughtful about when you press the shutter button – with digital it’s all to easy to click away without thinking about composition and light.
Cordings: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Jake: When I’m not working – If I’m not choosing curtain material or reading Grazia, I like to fish for trout and salmon, picking up with my Spaniel, a bit of stalking when I have time and enjoying good food and good wine with good friends.
Cordings: Who would you love to photograph?
Jake: I’ve got a list as long as my arm, but if I had a gun to my head, probably Keith Richards. Not just because he has such an interesting and characterful face, but I would love the opportunity to chat about his life.
find Jake at www.jakeeastham.co.uk