The young photographer AJ Ford: “Pantelis has actually been one of my biggest role models going into my entire photography venture”
07 jan, 2014
Hi there! Well, my name is AJ Ford as you may have already collected !
I am originally from sunny Cape Coral, Florida. It’s a bit of a small town, one where fashion photography is merely a myth! Ha!
I’m a HUGE fan of vivid color. Black and white just isn’t really me at this point in time. I’d like to think that my personality really shines through in my photos. When I shoot a model there has to be a connection of some sort. I like to shoot intimately without a team, for the most part, unless the concept requires a makeup artist and etc. to make it work. I like zero distractions and REALLY capturing the person in front of me in their entireity.
I decided to move to Los Angeles (where i now reside) at the age of 17.. :)! When i was younger i used to sing and act a fair bit and upon my arrival in LA i was propisitioned with the idea of modeling. I had no idea that was an even an option at that point in time. I tried it out and ended up getting signed to a small agency in the Los Angeles area.
Eventually I managed to get my hands on a camera and in that exact moment I knew exactly what my calling was. So i did what every reasonable person would do and invest $2000+ into a 5D Mark II and moved back to Florida to teach myself the art! Hahaha. That was last November.
The digital era really helped the photographers´ works?
I am only 20 currently so I can’t really comment too much. I was never around to shoot film. The first camera i picked up was my Canon 5D Mark II a year ago and I didn’t even know how to turn it on — or focus for that matter.
I really think that the ability to shoot RAW is very forgiving though. Allowing many mistakes to be made technically and corrected in post with a little luck! I only shoot RAW and take all of my photos through Adobe Lightroom first followed by Photoshop. Heck, i still have a lot to learn. I’m always trying to improve my craft! I never want to be “comfortable” with my work. I always want to be questioning my choices and delving into different styles.
Any influence on your photographer´s career?
Pantelis has actually been one of my biggest role models going into my entire photography venture. I was always such a fan of his work and I was lucky enough to get to know him as a friend! He has inspired me, taught me, critiqued me, and helped me out immensely on this journey and without him i probably wouldn’t even be doing this interview right now!
Worldwide economic crisis affected the fashion photography?
Oh God. What market?! Haha. It is such a difficult world. Especially for someone as new as me. I’m just shooting for fun at this point. Fashion photography doesn’t really pay the bills at the moment. I do a lot of paid test shoots right now and headshots for actors. I’ve also shot a couple of weddings and i would love to get more into that, but it’s a big commitment. Hopefully in the years to come work for me will pick up, but I just keep doing what I love :).
The special moments making awesome pics!
Ah yes!! It has happened many times and I’m sure it will continue to happen in the future. I felt that way about my last shoot with model Jordie Caskey in the sand dunes. It was freezing cold, SUPER windy, and sand was flying all over the place. Not to mention my poor model was completely naked. But it was TOTALLY worth it. I got one of my favorite images that I’ve ever shot out of that shoot! And sometimes it’s totally an accidental intoxicated shot with friends. Haha!
Working with the models: a cool partnership
Every model I’ve ever worked with has been awesome! I’m super picky about the people that I work with. One of my last models Jon (Cover of Coitus Magazine Issue #6) I found at a party and we hit it off and became friends. After that i suggested we shoot together and the rest is history :)!
I’ve gotten a few models signed to agencies around the world now who are working in LA, Asia, Australia, Florida, NY — you name it :P. I absolutely LOVE helping people/models and getting them placed with amazing agents. I love seeing them grow and discover new opportunities they had no idea even existed! It’s really one of the best feelings in the world. And I’m sure as time goes by it’ll be even easier to help others!
Funny/unusual backstages´ moments
HAHAHA. OKAY! So I was shooting a model for Coitus Issue #6 and my apartment has a wall that is basically all windows, and I’m on the first floor. So people are always peering in to see what´s going on if I’m having a shoot.
Anyway, the model decided to change in my living room while I was using my bathroom and he gave some poor old woman the show of a lifetime when he bent down to change his underwear RIGHT in front of said window… Oops!
And another time I fell into a lake — right after I took my camera off me thank God. But my phone wasn’t as fortunate.
Top 5 cool places for a shooting
Hmmmm, top 5 favorite places to shoot. Uhg. If only I knew of 5 different places to shoot!! I’m pretty bad at location scouting. I mostly just shoot around my apartment right now. I really enjoy shooting in hotel rooms, though! And the Sand Dunes were also pretty awesome!
IMAGE worth a THOUSAND WORDS?
Definitely! There’s always a story going on in everything that I shoot. From my relationship with each individual to why we are, where we are. location wise. I like to make my photos as eaningful as possible… or fun!
Current and Upcoming Projects
Current projects… mostly just editing for days. The editing never stops. Or maybe I’m just a huge procrastinator haha! Right now I want to start doing bigger production style photoshoots and getting my hands wet with that.
Concerning upcoming projects, well I can’t really go into detail about my next upcoming endeavour because it’s still really fresh, but maybe more details in the future!
There are so many special moments. They’re always happening! I love when people are inspired by my work and are hunting me down to chat about my experiences. I never thought anyone would ever think of me as a role model!
When you´ll come down to my world?
Don’t tempt me. If i could be in Brazil right now i so would!
I don’t really have a motto. I just try to focus and improve my work as much as i can and hope that others will appreciate it! The most important part for me is to have fun!