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Exploring the wilds

Cornwall-based photographer Joe Jackson recalls his inspiration for picking up the camera.

Words by Rebecca Hawkey

A year ago, in a serendipitous meeting of two folks who love photography and the outdoors, I crossed paths with Joe Jackson. I am now lucky enough to call him a friend, and a constant inspiration. Even though he is currently sailing open oceans with work he still found time to sit down and chat to me, albeit remotely, about his journey with photography and where it all began.

“I can’t have been very old; maybe six or seven, but I distinctly remember trawling through old analogue photo slides, pressing them into a slot in the little white cube, the light inside illuminating, and there, lit up in all its magic would be a picture of a penguin, an iceberg or another wondrous Antarctic scene. It fascinated me. The photography was simply enchanting. My old man set the photography bar pretty high with his years working in Antarctica and whilst I’m not sure I can compete with that, I have, almost entirely because of that, developed a love and passion for photography.”

“As much as I love it, and I do love it, photography is just a hobby for me. The day job, so to speak, involves a ship and considerable time away, but at work we have a phrase: “spinning a quick dit”. At this point anyone in the naval service will probably laugh or sigh, but they all know what it means; to tell a story. With every photo I take I want to have a story to go with it. A conversation piece. That’s what I love about photography. Yes, hopefully the photo, if it’s good, will tell its own story, but what I love in particular is the back story; what lead to that shot? It may just be something as simple as good times with good people; the sunset gainer with my friend Ross at Rinsey for example. Or, there may have been some trepidation; I rather hilariously rolled my ankle something awful just minutes prior to taking the Kynance sunset shot in a bid to capture the fast-exploding light. Each of these accompanying photos has its own backstory which I hold dear to me and I often regale the “dit” when catching up with the relevant friends or family. And it has to be said that, more than any other place, Cornwall has memories and stories.”

It is clear from Joe’s photography that the ocean is a constant throughout his ever-growing portfolio. When he is called to work away, we are lucky enough to gain an insight into life aboard ship from seas that span the world, thanks to his inability to put his camera down for long. When he is home, he captures Cornwall from a perspective that some never get to experience, be it a bird’s eye view of pirate ships on a blanket of blue, or the blinding golden beams from a sunset dipping below our rugged coastline. He encompasses the Cornwall that many know and love, her raw beauty, her wild inhabitants, her textures and tones, in a way that keeps people like me on the edge of our seat, waiting to see what wonder he finds next.

Instagram : joejackson7


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