SA' 19 Exhibit - Jonathan Turton

If you’ve been in recently it’s hard not to notice Jonathan’s vibrant prints adorning the walls. As per, the exhibit was curated by Des & to to toast the fact that we’ve added the prints to our store today, she pinned down JFT for a words about the exhibit.


NY State of Mind

Words by Des Balma

So first things first, how did you get into photography and why did you decide to move from Liverpool to New York?

I started a magazine in 2011 with my brother and three friends in Liverpool called Halcyon. It did pretty well considering we didn’t really have a clue what we were doing, and after issue 2 we had an investor and an office etc. From there I became very passionate about photography, journalism and storytelling in general I guess.

In 2012 I covered SXSW for Halcyon and was making a film about a boxing gym in Liverpool that involved filming in New York around the same time. I applied for a visa for that trip and lucked out, getting a 5 year one. The rest, as they say, is history.

Your main source of inspiration are obviously people from pretty much every corner of the city, any particular spots or neighbourhood? Also any notably differences faces and personalities wise between America and England?

New York has so many corners that visitors rarely get to. One of my favourites is Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, or the ‘Real Little Italy’, that area is unreal, some of the cash machines are still in Italian, which is mad. Proper old school Italian-Americans.

When I first moved here I’d grab my camera, pick a train stop and just head there, sometimes late at night, so I feel like I know more areas than most.

The neighbourhood were I live will always be special to me though, from a street photography perspective. Bushwick is so diverse; with Irish, Puerto Rican and African-American neighbourhoods all within a couple of mile radius.

I feel like with a lot of your photos were taken in the right place at the right time. How often do you wander around looking for people and how do you pick your subjects?

I used to wander around a lot! At least a couple of times a week. Now I have a studio and more actual paid work not as much, but it’s still my favourite things to do in the city. Pick a neighbourhood, grab my camera and get right involved.

And last but not least, what’s the most important message you would like to give to who’s looking at your photos?

I photograph a lot of people on the fringe of society, homeless people, strippers, the trans community, punks etc. I guess id like people viewing my photos to come away with some kind of respect and appreciation of their lives. I don’t shoot these groups to make a spectacle of them, but to document their existence as valuable. Everyone deserves a good photograph.