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Jonpaul Douglass’ Controlled Spontaneity
The wildly successful commercial photographer still finds ways to surprise us — and himself

Based in Los Angeles, photographer Jonpaul Douglass has a truly impressive portfolio. He’s shot massive celebrities, big-ticket ad campaigns and everything in between, but he always manages to inject personality and a sense of humour into his works. He takes the sort of photographs that you can get lost in for hours.

Further proving his knack for colourful creativity, Douglass has delivered one of the brightest skateboarding projects we’ve seen in a while. And despite its elaborate setup, the idea was to photograph organic moments. As he explains it, the idea was to capture spontaneity in a controlled environment. Read our interview with Jonpaul Douglass below.

 

What inspired this particular project?

I actually collaborated with Canon on this project. When they came to me with the theme “Perfectly Timed,” I was immediately transported back to when I first started using a camera during my skateboarding days. Capturing the perfect moment is a key part of any action sports photography. This is especially true in skateboarding.

I grew up in the south, where being a skateboarder wasn’t always very popular, but being a cowboy was. To add a twist to these images, I decided to capture skateboarders dressed as colourful cowboys. I borrowed from my past life as a southern skateboarder and melded it with my now developed photographic aesthetic — pink backdrop and a pink ramp, with vibrant cowboys riding back and forth. Then I hovered around them, finding various compositions while waiting for the perfect moment.

Are you purely a photographer or do you have other creative pursuits?

While I’m a photographer by trade I enjoy simply creating anything. For example, my wife and I run the Los Angeles Pug Meet Up. She coordinates everything while I create the photos and videos. Together, we create an experience for the LA pug owners. It’s a once a month event so I make lots of pug content. As a pug dad I am proud to support the pug community.

Why did you choose photography over other creative mediums?

I realized in the beginning the exhilarating feeling of stumbling across an amazing photo opportunity while being prepared to capture it beautifully. As I evolved as a photographer, these opportunities became fewer and fewer. The images I wanted to create didn’t happen around me so I had to start making them myself. I was met with a similar exhilaration of having a vision and using my photographic knowledge to bring that vision to life.

 

What camera did you shoot on?

I typically use a Canon 5Ds-R & Canon 1DC. For this image set, I mostly shot on the Canon Rebel T7i.

How does your gear help you as a photographer?

While I don’t consider myself a gear nut, I think it’s very important to have the appropriate gear for the task at hand. If I am shooting fast subjects, I want the best-performing camera I can get my hands on in terms of autofocus and frames rate. If I’m shooting in a controlled studio situation, I want a high resolution camera that could yield beautiful large prints. Also, if I’m on vacation, give me a camera I’ll actually carry.

If you could shoot any subject who would it be and why?

It would hands down be David Letterman. I have been such a big fan since I was a kid. Not only does he have an amazing legacy, but also a pretty amazing beard at the moment.

As part of our Sponsored Stories series The Creator Class has partnered with Canon Canada  to join our creators in exploring and enabling their creative endeavours.

To get involved and have a chance to be featured, email your pitches to submit@thecreatorclass.com

For more of Jonpaul’s work:

@jonpauldouglass
jonpauldouglass.com

Canon
Partner
Jonpaul Douglass
Photographer