Meet the Geelong Photographer Documenting Found Items

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Meet the Geelong Photographer Documenting Found Items

Jonathan Dredge, on the rediscovery of his passion, shark eggs from Bancoora beach and using film photography to help people delve into their inner world.

Hi Jono, thanks for taking the time to chat with us, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
I’m swell thanks, I just got back from Tassie where I shot some landscapes on my new medium format Fuji 6×9 camera, and loved it. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in parks with my little toddler Joa, rediscovering the joys of plastic slides, swings and mulch in your socks.

How did you first discover your love for photography? And how has it evolved since that first moment of realisation?
I remember been given a Kodak Instamatic as a kid and falling in love with it and the whole process. I took photos of my uncles footy game and the animals on my grandparents farm. I then rediscovered my love for photography whilst travelling to Vietnam when I finished high school. From there I was hooked, and went on to study photography at RMIT. My favourite was shooting large format both in the studio and doing street portraits. The restriction of only having a couple of frames is so good for making you stop and think about everything in the frame. It’s a type of slow photography I have come to love in contrast to the fast paced digital million frames per second.

The series, titled ‘Cocoon’, is based around found objects. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve come across that you’ve captured?
The shark eggs from Bancoora Beach are a stand out. It’s so awesome that these massive powerful creatures spawn from small fragile eggs deep in the ocean. These beautiful fragile objects wash up on our shores to be discovered in the flotsam and jetsam.

Do you believe everything has a story to tell?
Yeah definitely. It’s picking which stories to tell that is the challenge of any photographic artist. In the exhibition, I have isolated seemingly mundane objects in order to illuminate their story and essence to the viewer. When you really look at them in isolation you realise their beauty. The power of them as symbols is not so much in the object itself, but in what meaning or feeling they unlock within the viewer.

How does your partner, Laura Alice, also being an artist, inspire and shape your own work?
She’s a treasure that one. Being surrounded by her and other artists world views makes you see the universe in a different light. Rather than everything being clinical and mundane, it becomes mystical, connected and full of possibilities.

We have noticed a few of your works pasted around town, and we’ve also heard the best thing of being a photographer is people liking your work. What’s the thing that keeps you doing what you do?
I love creating beauty. If I can cause people to stop and think, delve into their inner world and do a bit of unravelling then great. One of my images is of a tangle of seaweed. A print is in our lounge room and I can stare at it for hours untangling my own inner knots. I am chuffed when people like my images, but I try not to be reliant on that or to seek it out. Otherwise your images will be what you think people want to see, and not honest to who you are and what you need to express.

What are your plans for future projects?
Keen to keep exhibiting both solo and in group shows. I really love shooting landscapes at the moment, both natural and industrial. I enjoy capturing the sense of the place I am in and its layers of story. Have a few ideas gurgling away but which direction they will lead remains a mystery. Watch this space.

Jono’s work is currently on display at Geelong’s Analogue Academy and has a few paste ups around Geelong.


Find him on instagram @jonathandredgeart