Creativity Found

Jon Bond – double exposure photography and coping with mental health

May 09, 2021 Jon Bond Episode 18
Creativity Found
Jon Bond – double exposure photography and coping with mental health
Show Notes Transcript

Jon Bond has trained in theatre studies and media arts, but during the lockdowns of Covid 19 has developed his own creative explorations through experimenting with photographic software. Doing so has kept him creatively active and helped him keep his mental health in check.

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Clubhouse: @clairewaitebrown and Creativity Found Connect club

Music: Day Trips by Ketsa https://ketsa.uk/under Creative Commons License
https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/Raising_Frequecy/Day_Trips

Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk

Other podcasts cited: Happy Place

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Claire Waite Brown:

Today's guest is john bond, who has trained in media arts and works in a creative field. But lockdown has seen him develop his own creative explorations, partly because he has the time to do so. But also to look after his mental health each day. Hi, john.

Unknown:

Hello, Claire, how are you?

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah, very good. Thank you. You work in media arts, but how do you express yourself creatively?

Unknown:

abstractly, I would probably say, because I do double exposure art work. And that's quite abstract. It's not traditional art, like say painting or pencil drawings or something like that, I'm sort of taking one image and then blending it in with another image to create a composite image. That's one way I do it. Sometimes it's through mental health, that's another way I express my artwork, the images could be quite dark. So I could be in a bit of a lower mood or not a happy mood, or they could be colourful, which means I might be in a happy go lately sort of mood or something. And sometimes with my, with my photography, sometimes it can be expressed that way as well by the sort of the colour palette or the tones that I use with that. So for dramatic stuff, it could be black and white monochrome, or it could be pastel colour, particularly for now in springtime, it could be quite light and colourful because the weather's starting to improve. So that's how I would sort of express myself

Claire Waite Brown:

present. Let's go back to when you were younger, what was your arts experience like as a child,

Unknown:

my youngest memory was doing drama and performing arts and stuff fit. earliest memory my mum told me was when I was about three or four and think it was just in the Christmas nativity play. I was playing one of the animals and she said you were actually being the character there. You weren't just prepping about on stage. No, you actually were dedicated and you actually really focused. And I carried on doing drama through most of my life really. So I went to a youth theatre group weekends, we were taught singing and dancing and performing obviously, and did that from probably about the age of seven till I was 16. That went off to college and did drama for two years and did really well to the leading rod and hamlets, which was a bit of a master small stone to learn because Shakespeare is not my, not my forte, as we say. And then I've done an dramm theatre for most of my young adult life. And even now, not at the moment, obviously, because we're in the middle of the pandemic and theatres are closed, but I've always done it, and it runs in the family because my mom was a dancer. So my dad was a performer as well. So I got my, I suppose that the bug that say I got from them, I've transitioned from being onstage to be more behind the scenes. I do publicity photographs for theatre companies, and for upcoming shows, and I've got a reputation for things like that. So I know that after my two years at college, I thought, okay, I want to be a professional actor. But that didn't really come to fruition. Really, I just felt like a small fish in a very big pond. I left the drama college that I was at and I came back home, took a year off. And I'd always had an interest in sort of technology and photography. So I thought, well, maybe I can have a go at this and make a career out of being creative. And so I signed up on a foundation degree and I did two years there and then I upgraded to do my full BA honours in meteorites and I graduated in 2012.

Claire Waite Brown:

Did you know what you wanted to be doing once the degree was over?

Unknown:

Good question. I think a lot of students are like that sometimes, aren't they? What do you want to do? So I enjoyed doing doing what I was doing and being creative and I just wanted to make a good business out of it. It wasn't about money. I didn't want to work for huge global campaigns. I didn't want to get mega rich on it. I just wanted to work On interesting products or projects with things, I was good at photography, I knew my way around a camera. So I thought perhaps probably go into wedding photography or portrait photography or something like that. So wasn't going to be able to stick with the skills that I just learned at uni, I would have to like learn new skills and build upon those skills to sort of continue my creative career, if that makes sense. So I mean, I primarily focused on filmmaking and the film and animation stuff. So it was very basic 3d sort of things, not Pixar Animation, or anything like that. But it was a little diverse. And I've always been a little bit diverse. I don't like going down the confirmative routes. So I was trying to bring something new to the table.

Claire Waite Brown:

And how did you go about finding work? Once the studies were over?

Unknown:

Well, down here in the southwest, there's, let's just say there's possibly not as much sort of media driven work down here in the southwest, it's quite quite rural in places. So I knew I'd have to sort of branch out a bit further, Bristol is quite a good place to go. So you've got a few studios up there. And I was getting into sort of models, photography, then I was making quite a few contacts during model photography, and I was getting my feet wet in that, and I was actually doing quite well out of it. And I tried to stay sort of down here or, you know, not mainstream London, London's a little bit full on. I know, that's where everything is. But London can be a bit full on sometimes. And I'm not, I don't mind visiting London, but I wouldn't want to live there was just picking up little little jobs here and there. And just, you know, just finding my way really,

Claire Waite Brown:

during lockdown. I know you have had more time to explore your own art, and in particular, a double exposure abstract art. Can you tell me more about that, what it is? how you've been exploring it, and just how it helps you in your everyday life in the current situation?

Unknown:

Yes, well, 2020 was a bit of a roller coaster year as we can all relate to, everything got shut down, I think everyone's sort of mental health sort of went a little bit haywire. And we all needed something to do normality sort of ceased to exist at that time. So we need to keep ourselves busy. In terms of the double exposure at work, I've been doing double exposures for probably about two or three years before the pandemic actually hit. But I just like the idea of just going into Photoshop and just taking images or finding some commercial free stock that I can use and just blend them creatively using Blend Modes or different extraction techniques using Photoshop and just creating an interesting composition, have a silhouetted face, and then put, I don't know, the city or a space, a space background or something like that does create an interesting sort of eye catching sort of look. So that's what it began with. It just grew and grew and grew. And during lockdown, it was like a little challenge I set myself if I can create a little piece of art a day, you know, whether it's a double exposure or something else, because a lot of other work sort of dried up, really. So I thought, well, it's a time to sort of just be creative, and learn new skills. My art isn't everyone's cup of tea. But that's that's art, isn't it? You know, people will get you and some people won't get you. And that's completely fine. But no, it's like a little challenge. Really, if I can be creative. I think it's just to keep myself sane more than anything, because I live here on my own currently at the minute and needs something to keep myself distracted. But it was just to keep keep sane, really, than just keep creative.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant, amazing. I know that you are open about your mental health, and that you want to support others with their mental health experiences. Can you tell me about why that is important for you?

Unknown:

mental health is a big part of my life. And it's a it's something that I openly struggle with. I do suffer with anxiety quite badly. And I do suffer with depression. And when I know for men, particularly it is it's not easy to open up. They're a bit frightened to open up about their emotions, you know, they've had this stiff upper lip, British sort of men don't cry, stigma sort of a bit drilled into their head and they actually find it quite hard to open up or admit they've got problems with their mental health. I struggled with that I was, you know, I'll be alright. It doesn't matter. You know, I don't need to talk to a counsellor, I'm fine. But it sort of came really when my mom got diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Unfortunately, that was the cancer that, sadly took her life and everything. And that really made me sort of open up about things really. And I didn't have a particularly friendly relationship with my father. It made me more aware actually. I do have a problem with my mental health and I need to talk to someone about it. And it's an ongoing thing. I'm never going to be cured from that. It's you know, people think you speak to a counsellor for five or six weeks you're cured. It's not that at all. You just have to just keep working at it. And admittedly, I'm a slow learner, I don't pick up things straight away. And it's the same with my mental health. I'm a lot better than I was, say, a year or 18 months ago. But it's an ongoing battle that I face with self doubt and imposter syndrome. That's another form of mental health that I struggle with as well. But I also encourage, and I do offer my help to people by saying, look, if you've got a problem, say to a man, I say, Well, if you've got a problem, talk to me, I've got experience in that I'm not a trained counsellor, but I know what worked for me, I can always fire off some links to people that can get in touch with you to try and help with your mental health. I think how my mental health, I think my mental health channels my art sometimes, so it's not part of me, which sounds a bit abstract. I won't share it, if you know what I mean. I'm not here to openly shock people. It's just you know, that's how I'm feeling. And if I can express through art or something like that, then. But it's as long as you can reach people and connect with people in some form or another, then I think it's better. And I'm a strong advocate. And I've talked to mental health campaigners, as well said, it's okay for guys to cry. It's getting rid of all that toxic, toxic stuff in your body. And it's, you'll feel a lot better by doing it. And it's okay for men to get help. I don't like it when people shun people away, or ostracise people because of their mental health. Will they admit they got a struggle? I'm always like, No, you've got a reason you got a voice? Speak your story, don't hide in the darkness about things just just just be open about it. Yeah, exactly.

Claire Waite Brown:

Overall, then you have given yourself a good form of self expression, you've given yourself something to help keep you lifted during this time. And you've shared that work as well. So the whole, both of those things, actually doing the work and sharing that work. How has that helped your well being Have you increased your confidence has sharing the work been an overall positive experience or a bit wobbly or something else entirely.

Unknown:

It's been a bit of both, I'd probably say 90%, I've actually feel a lot better by sharing some of the work because some of that's actually my best work because I don't have other things to to sort of distract me, I didn't have anything else sort of getting in the way. So it was a bit more freeing and a bit more liberating. It's touched a lot more people. I've joined clubhouse, which is where we obviously net and by doing that, I've sort of gained new contacts. And they sort of followed me and followed my work. And they're like, Oh, my God, if I didn't have this app, or didn't know you're on this app, I wouldn't have followed you or found you. So that's been quite good. And a lot more people have sort of reached out to me and saying, I like that technique, can you perhaps teach me how to do it, and I'm not precious about my technique. And you know, the technique that I've done, it's been, it's been done 1000 times before, I'm not gonna, I'm copying here, but putting my own sort of twist on it. It's not your IP, you don't own this, you don't have the right to keep the secret. So it's just like, Well, no, I'll teach you how to do it. You know, and, and I don't mind teaching people or helping people in that regard. So that's been quite beneficial. And that's made me feel good saying, I actually do have a purpose. And my work is liked by people. And it's followed by people. And I can pass on my knowledge and skills to another generation or to another creative and they can exchange things with me as well. So it's sort of like a exchange thing, really. And it gives me something to do and it helps somebody else sort of get out of a creative rut. And that's what I sort of try and do really, admittedly, a couple of posts that I've done have shocked people, like some people who thought they knew me, they were like, I never knew you struggled with things like that. I never knew you were feeling that desperate and unlike Well, it's the truth. I can't hide from it. You know, you can't see what I'm going through. But you can sort of see through my artwork. The lockdown hasn't been easy, like it hasn't been easy for a lot of people but we will get through it. It's quite a dark sort of backdrop. But there's a hint of light coming through with getting through the worst of this pandemic now and there is hope at the end of the tunnel that life will resumed. We've been through a tough time, but we will get there.

Claire Waite Brown:

No, definitely. Thank you, john. I love sharing my guest stories with you. But podcasting isn't cheap. There are hosting fees and software costs, tech to buy and time to invest in planning and editing to make sure the guests sound great. 10 listeners here the best content. If you'd like to financially support creativity found, please visit kayo hyphen f i.com slash creativity found podcast. What do you hope to be doing in the future? Do you have specific plans?

Unknown:

Obviously, in lockdown, I've been developing my own skills. Again, I've been learning new software and new technology. So in a way, sort of preparing myself for the future, because I think the I think the way we work is going to be a lot different, like people will be working from home, they won't necessarily be working in big businesses or big offices anymore. And with new challenges or new ways of doing things, new technology needs to be learned on new ways of doing things needs to be learned. Some people think that we are too old to sort of change career now or learn new things, you can learn at any age, whether you're in your 20s, or if you're in your 80s, you can learn things. So just it just shows you how if you've got the enough ambition and drive and stuff, then you can actually achieve what you can. And that's what I say to people who get a bit frustrated with creative burnout and said, yeah, it happens. But you know, you just got to keep doing it, you got to keep practising with it. Just keep practising and you'll get it. It's like the double exposures. If I look back at some of my work that I did, four or five years ago that oh my god, what the hell was I thinking looks god awful. But through those rubbish pieces of art, I actually got better. Now I know which tricks not to do or what technique not to do. So I've been teaching myself new software, teaching myself sort of 3d software. So so that's using blender, which is open source free software, you can actually create quite compelling pieces of 3d artwork as well. So again, it's abstract, I like abstract. So I'm creating abstract pieces with it, it's actually gaining a lot of momentum in the advertising industry, some teaching myself that it's picking technology, which sort which is already there and adapting skills to and adding skills to my skill set that might be quite useful for companies in the future. I've been keeping the flow going with doing editing for properties and real estate companies at the moment bringing some money in, but it's not what I want to do to be a bit more expressive and a bit more diverse than that. Just be known for my skills and just being relied on that, you know, I'll do a good job because I am a professional. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and they do try and aim for the best. I don't know what the future holds for me at the minute because it's a bit of a big question mark, but creating more stuff and being more creative in certain things, I think really

Claire Waite Brown:

brilliant. Yes, yes, hopefully. So. There are many, many podcasts out there. It's difficult to know where to start. So I like to ask my guests for their recommendations. You're welcome.

Unknown:

Happy place, which is one that Fern cotton presents. And that's one I listened to quite a lot. And in the car Actually, she talks to quite well known celebrities, but she also talks to other people that I never heard of, and some of their stories are quite similar to mine.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant. Thank you so much, john, how can people connect with you?

Unknown:

The best way probably is to go on my Instagram which is Manoir underscore multimedia. And then it's the same on Facebook. So Manoir multimedia. That's my creative business name.

Claire Waite Brown:

Last Perfect. Thank you ever so much, john.

Unknown:

Right, no problem. Pleasure.