In our next in this series of Creative Spotlights, we chat to Hull-based photographer Joshua Elliot about his work and inspirations.
Can you introduce yourself, and tell us about what you do, please?
My name is Joshua Elliott. I’m a 19-year-old photographer and videographer that specialises in many fields. I’m both a hobbyist and professional, meaning that I do it for fun, and I do it as a job as well.
What are the biggest challenges that you face?
Getting started professionally was a task that was hard at first, and still has its struggles. When you first start out in the creative industry, you have nothing to work with, no reputation, no portfolio, nothing. It can be tough to get those first few initial shoots to jump start your career. That’s why I love keeping it as a hobby too, I don’t have to worry about expectations from clients. My mental health also has a massive impact on what I shoot, and has at times made me consider giving it up.
When you live in a world where everyone knows everything about you, and can see your work 24/7, it can sometimes be overwhelming for me knowing that I have expectations to provide a high quality service to both my clients and followers. It makes me doubt my skill a lot of the time. Luckily, I have people around me that support my journey, and leave positive feedback, and even constructive criticism so I can constantly strive to improve.
What kinds of things motivate you – people, places or games and music?
Getting out and doing photography for fun is one of the many ways I motivate myself. Getting out and doing it is the best way in my eyes. I also love taking a scroll down the feeds of other photographers on Instagram and down pages on Facebook to see what other Togs have done/are doing.
Even though it may seem that I only do photography, I’m also a gamer, I love taking days off just to play on my Switch, PC or Xbox One. Having a wide variety of genres helps to keep me occupied and prevents me getting bored. It’s similar to photography actually, as I don’t just stick to one thing, I play anything from shooters and racers, to RPGs, platformers and adventure games. I have a small passion for music as well. I don’t listen to mainstream music, even though I don’t have an issue with it. A lot of the music I listen too actually comes from YouTubers. One of the albums I’m in love with at the moment is called Flashdrive, made by Will Ryan.
What have been a few career highlights?
There has been quite a few so it’s kinda hard to narrow them down haha. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be my first exhibition. Taking place in 2017, I submitted a photo that I took during NCS in the summer of 2017. It was of a house across the lake from where we was staying during the first week at the Lake District. It was easily one of the best photos I had taken at the time. Seeing the photo on the wall in an actual exhibit was weird and surreal considering that I had only being doing photography under a year at that point. It made me realise that I had a talent for photography and that I wanted to keep going with it. And here I am in 2020, three years later and I’m still doing it. Another highlight I must mention would be starting up my photography Instagram account. While it doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment to most, to me it signified the start of my portfolio and journey. If you scroll down my feed and go to the first photo, it’ll be from April 2017, only improving from there.
What does success mean to you?
Success can be interpreted in many ways. for me, success is can be successfully working with a client and having them be satisfied. Success can be going out on a shoot with other photographers. Success can be just editing a good photo and being proud of it. It could even be just having one comment from someone saying the photo is good. It can come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all as equally important.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a career in photography with a disability or mental health issue?
The best piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to start a photography career, if they have mental health issues or any disabilities, would be to work for free at the very start. I get that this seems backwards, I mean you’re working and putting time in, and your time is worth money, so what gives? Well, at the start you have no experience or portfolio to show a client your skills. And if they’re not impressed or have nothing to look at, they’re not going to want to put money into you. I suggest finding what genre of photography you want to work in, contact people who would need that service and offer it for free. After you’ve done it for a while and have a few good shoots under your belt, then you should start charging. I know some people will disagree with this, and thats fine, but this approach has worked, and still does work for me and many others.
For more information visit Temponics.