Capturing someone’s personality in a photograph is easier said than done, but Josh Wool is one of the talented portrait photographers who manages to make it look effortless. The Brooklyn-based photographer focuses his creative energy on taking honest, intimate and timeless images of people. We’re most impressed by the raw emotions and genuine personality he’s able to expose in larger-than-life musicians, like Beyonce and A$AP Rocky. As Josh has only been building his career as a photographer for the past two years, we’re certain that his talent will only continue to grow–and we can’t wait to see the face of his future.
Josh carries the Union Street Messenger Bag in Smoke.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
JW: I got into photography sort of by accident. I had always been interested in it, but never had the time to get started. A few years ago I was sidelined from my career as a chef by surgeries on both hands and both of my elbows. I wasn’t able to work for two months and picked up a camera as a hobby just to keep me busy in the downtime. It quickly became an obsession and the artistic outlet I had always been looking for. I could have never imagined then that it would have led to leaving the culinary world to make a career making photographs in New York City.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
JW: My main camera is a Canon 5D Mark II and my go to lens is a Canon 50mm 1.4. I shoot a lot of large format as well with a 1950’s Graflex Crown Graphic paired with a 135mm 4.5 Copal lens, as big as it is, it still fits nicely in my ONA.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?
JW: Most of my work is portrait-based, so finding new and interesting ways to present portraits always drives me creatively. I think portraiture is a real art and not an easy one to do well. Each person brings a different set of circumstances and it’s a thrill to be able to capture real moments and aspects of their personalities.
Dream Project? There’s so many, I’d love to photograph Tom Waits…but, at some point I’d like to do a portrait project based on people in the South and Desert Southwest. Having lived in both places I feel a connection to the people there and each place holds a certain mystique to me.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
JW: I think the hardest thing is also the best thing about being a photographer, there’s no safety net. You’re out there on your own and it’s up to you to make it work. It’s a beautiful and scary thing.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
JW: My style of shooting is pretty laid back, it’s quiet and intimate, but very focused. My work is fairly simple, which often times is harder to pull off, there’s no room for error. I strive to create a connection with my subject that translates to the viewer. There’s not a lot of noise or distractions. It’s not flashy, which I think is a direct result of my personality.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
JW: The best advice I can give is to take the time to truly understand light; strive to be an original voice and blaze your own trail, don’t follow the pack.
ONA: How did you hear about us?
JW: I saw someone walking through SoHo in NYC with a beautiful waxed canvas camera bag and asked who made it, the response was ONA Bags.
Note: Photos of Josh were taken by Jason Dunn at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn.