Getting the next featured photographer interview took ages to get done – giving yourself a deadline to get work done does help sometimes! But it does pay out often to take your time and pick the best. So Dive in and listen to what Jake Seal has to say and while your at it, enjoy the great photography as well.
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself (age, what you do in life, where you live)
My name is Jake Seal, Iâ€™m 26 and Iâ€™m a freelance photographer based in Leeds, UK. Most of my paid work is photographing products, people, and room sets for catalogues and advertising, but I use any spare time photographing live music and skateboarding.
How did you get into photography, especially skateboard photography?
I started photography and skateboarding at the same time, so they were a natural combination for me. I took a photography course at college, so by photographing the thing I loved most (skateboarding) it meant college work was always fun to do. When I came to the end of my uni course, I took a skate trip with some friends to Barcelona. It was after that trip when I really decided it was something Iâ€™d like to pursue further.
Paul Webster – FS boarslide – Cromford, UK
What type of equipment do you use for your photos? (outside shots, night shots, indoor shots)
I use different equipment depending on what Iâ€™m shooting. For action shots iâ€™ve got a canon digital slr with fish eye and 70â€“200mm lens. I also use a canon 1n and mamiya 645 for shooting film. For lighting Iâ€™ve got some sunpak 555â€™s and a speedlite.
Do you have any special set-ups which you like to use for certain types of pictures/scenes?
I wouldnâ€™t say I have any special set-ups, I generally just try to adapt to what ever situation / location Iâ€™m in.
If you could get any new equipment for free, what would you love to have?
Iâ€™d love to have some hasselblad kit, or a new dslr. The list of kit Iâ€™d like is never ending. But saying that, some of my favourite shots are taken on 35mm black and white. Having the best kit doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™ll get the best shots. I just try to get the best out of the equipment I have until I can afford some upgrades.
Tilla – nollie backside heelflip – Mallorca
What is your opinion on post-processing, especially enhancing specific parts of shots?
I tend to try and stay away from it. Iâ€™ll make small adjustments to curves or levels sometimes but I take a lot more pride in shots Iâ€™ve got right through camera. If itâ€™s a technique you could do in the darkroom, like adjusting brightness, contrast, dodge / burn, spotting, cropping, I think thatâ€™s fine, anything more than that and I think it starts to leave the confines of photography.
What makes up a good photo for you? What elements do you look out for?
I wouldnâ€™t say there are elements that I look for, sometimes an image can just jump out at you and stick in your mind. For me I guess composition is my main concern, you can light a shot a hundred different ways but if the composition doesnâ€™t work the shot will look shit.
skaters chilling at MACBA – Barcelona, Spain
Which photographers have had an influence on you and your style of photography? Tell us a bit about why you like their pictures.
I guess Iâ€™ve been influenced mainly by skate photographers from uk magazines, like Sam Ashley, Percy Dean, and Leo Sharp. Iâ€™d always look forward to seeing their work every month in Sidewalk and Document (R.I.P!). Then there are people like Tobin Yelland and Angela Boatwright. Their work looks so real and uncontrived, plus they work on a variety of projects, which is something Iâ€™d like to be able to do.
What are you currently working on and do you have any projects planned?
Iâ€™m currently working on spotting over 300 medium format shots I took in India at the start of the year. Plus as always, Iâ€™m trying to find more studio work to keep a roof over my head. Now itâ€™s a bit dryer I have a few skate shoots I need to line up with some friends in Derbyshire. Thereâ€™s always plenty to do.
A big thanks to Jake for his patience with me putting this interview up and all the best for the future. Check out his website over at jakeseal.co.uk and don’t miss the last picture below!
Tilla – backside tailslide – Mallorca