FASHION FORWARD MEN CHATS WITH CARLOS JONES
I use photography as a means of self-expression. My goal is to use my camera like Alice's rabbit hole - to open an unexplored world, a place of curious self-expression, but also a world of new relationships, new chances, new beginnings, and most importantly new stories.
The world of imagination can be a wonderful place. Its a destination filled with fantasy that helps us cope with the trials of our sometimes stressful day to day lives. A world of beautiful and sometimes dangerous scenarios that one could only envision and dream of. But luckily, there are those who decide to share these visions with the public, sometimes exposing their most inner thoughts. Carlos Jones is one of these people.
Curious, Fashion Forward Men decided to take the talented artist
Curious, Fashion Forward Men decided to take the talented artist
up on his invitation to learn more about himself, and the way he sees things.
The movie was Mahogany, in it stars legendary icon Diana Ross as a poor African American woman from one of the projects in Chicago. A poor woman who finds fame as a fashion designer. In one scene, the actress is on set of a shoot dressed in a multicolored rainbow garment. Doing nonstop spins of glee, , Ross is on cloud nine as a photographer snaps her picture. Captivated by what he was seeing, something struck him... That something was inspiration. Doing his best to reenact that scene and others, Carlos dressed his younger sister in garments from her closet, grabbing accessories from his mothers room to achieve the looks. At that point, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He was only twelve years old.
Jones may have been born into a sensible family, but that doesn't mean that they were going to let him run off into the world with a camera and a dream. Fulfilling this dream came with a bit of compromise. Agreeing to have something more substantial to fall back on, the aspiring artist continued his formal education. He enrolled at Tuskegee University and majored in Business. Little did he know that this wise compromise was a blessing in disguise. Why??? How many of us know gifted individuals, that don't have a clue as to how to market themselves?
Days turned into months, months turned into years, but the passion of what he wanted to really do never faded. Continuing his studies, Jones refined his love by studying lighting and composition, admiring the works of Richard Avedon, and turning to fellow photographer Jerris Madison for encouragement and guidance. With this drive, he can proudly say that he has been working professionally as an artist for five years now.
Being asked to describe yourself can sometimes be annoying... Whether it be your way of thinking, the way you dress, or in this case, the work you produce, answering questions of this sort can sometimes make our temperatures boil, but we are all guilty of doing it. I tend to ask people to describe themselves and work for several reasons:
A) To make a reader unfamiliar with the artist more knowledgeable.
B) So that I can eliminate any misconceptions.
C) To sometimes make the artists squirm and uncomfortable.
"My style of photography is simple, yet bold. I want my photography to open an unexplored world, a place of curious self-expression, but also a world of new relationships, new chances, new beginnings, and most importantly new stories," Mr. Jones explains
Jones in my opinion is a force to be reckoned with. I say this not just to pay a compliment, but because I believe it to be true. A great many photographers can be known as cocky, arrogant, little boogers who think they can walk on water and do no wrong. Not C.J... In fact, I think he is one of the more approachable ones I have encountered. Perhaps its because while at Tuskegee, Jones managed a portrait studio. While there he dealt with everyday people. everyday people who had no interest in becoming models, but paid for services to capture special moments in their lives. Jones had already become used to dealing with diverse personalities long before having to deal with shooting the often fickle pretentious gods and goddesses with chiseled cheek bones, Jones had already become used to dealing with diverse personalities.
Speaking of chiseled cheek bones, let me say that C.J. is able to spot them a mile away. One day while hanging with his friend Langston, Jones met a gentleman by the name of Cavier Coleman. Obviously seeing something in the guy, that was possibly being overlooked by others, the photographer asked Coleman to do a test shoot. I imagine that the shoot went very well, because I have seen Coleman in several shoots since then.
(above: An image of Cavier Coleman taken from the duos first shoot.)
Almost like the singers today, photographers have to be a jack of trades. Sure, they don't have to know how to dance and write their own songs, but should possess an additional element to their given talent. Adding to Jones' list was model scout, and rightly so. Nobody wants necessarily see new works with over exposed faces in their books. And if you are familiar with the market in Atlanta you would agree. It's refreshing to see fresh faces like Coleman being introduced to the industry. But everyone isn't a natural like Coleman, and having a nice face or body make you an instant candidate for being a model.
"I remove the model from the set and then I have a one-on-one conversation with the model to discuss what it is I want to achieve. 99.9% of the time it works," he explains.
It takes a great deal more than being able to communicate with a model to make it in this business. In fact, it takes a great deal of dedication. C.J. shares with us that his day usually starts around 8a.m. And though this this seems typical for most, I assure you, it isn't(for many photographers anyway). Having to wake up so early after staying up into the wee hours of the night just to finish editing images is one thing. Then there's having to wake up, put on the professional cap and network with people is yet another. And don't get me started on the process of them having to schedule meetings and sit down with stylist and makeup artist on upcoming projects.
"Find a mentor, learn and soak up all the information you can. Never stop learning!!!" he advises those wanting to break into the industry and be the best they can.
Its apparent that the future is very bright for this growing talent. in the next few years, we can expect to see more of his fabulous working coming our way. And if things go as planned, we we see C.J. fulfilling his dreams by landing editorials in some top men's fashion magazines as well.