We first met Jon Duenas earlier this year during Photo Field Trip. ONA was on hand during the event as a sponsor, and Jon was helping out at the Indie Film Lab table next to ours, along with a few other notable photographers who develop their film with IFL. Jon is a Portland, Oregon-based fashion and editorial photographer and is particularly well known for his film work, though he also shoots digital when the need arises. Regardless of the kit he’s using, though, Jon trusts our Nylon Brixton messenger to carry his gear in style.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
JD: It started in college with a little Canon digital point-and-shoot that had manual controls. It was terrible and always had this issue where I literally had to smack the thing with my hand to get it working again — but it was still so fun to use. My interest in photography really started to take off after taking a digital photography class where I got my hands on a little bit nicer of a camera. Photography became an obsession after discovering some really old film cameras.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
JD: I shoot with several different cameras. My favorite is the Pentax 67 medium format film camera with 105mm f/2.4 lens. I also shoot some 35mm film with my Canon A-1, lately with the 85mm f/1.8. When I need to shoot digital, which unfortunately happens more and more these days, I shoot a Canon 5D Mark II and a 50mm f/1.4 (although I’m close to upgrading to the 1.2L very soon).
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? And what is your dream project?
JD: I feel I’m at my most creative when I’m not trying to capture any particular image, but a particular mood or feeling. Dream project would be any shoot where I got to work with designs by Alexander McQueen.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
JD: The business side of it. Marketing. Networking. Emails. Estimates. Booking new clients. Taxes. It’s much easier to just go out and shoot, but once you want to make money off of it, things get a lot harder.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
JD: From a technical and visual side, I love playing with light and shadows, and I tend to be drawn to really clean, minimal, open compositions. From an emotional side, I feel like my style meshes with myself and presence as a person. I like to create really still, quiet moments that have that feeling you get after taking a deep breath.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
JD: Shoot all the time, and shoot things that really excite you.
ONA: How did you hear about us?
JD: I found ONA after looking online for a bag that can be functional like a standard camera bag, without sacrificing style and class. There aren’t many bags out there that can do that!
Photos of Jon kindly taken by Taylor Painter.