JAN Gonzales has been in the photography business—and one of the more notable in the industry at that—for about 10 years.
He has earned numerous awards including Hasselblad Masters Finalist 2016 and 2018.He is also an endorser of brands like Lowepro, Benro Ph, Nisi and Fujifilm (He has been Fujifilm Philippines’ Ambassador since 2013).
His work has taken him to different parts of the Philippines as well as Japan, Singapore and the United States with works exhibited at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City last October 2017 which also included a talk and live demo shooting; and works showcased at the Imaging USA Trade Show last week at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee to name a few.
A passion turned part-time profession, Jan started developing an interest when he laid eyes on some surreal images and how they were made.
So how did it come to all this?
“I think it’s just timing and maybe luck, style of work and getting noticed on the internet,” he surmised. One photo that comes to mind is the crying guy portrait of Matteo Guidicelli last 2008 which got a lot of attention.
“It got noticed by a U.S. Lighting Company and it was used to promote their product. It got published in five international magazines and from there I got known globally,” he said.
Learning the tricks of the trade on his own, this Cebu-based “X-Photograher” is known for conveying stories through the lens with a distinct feel, look and style and continuing to experiment and create one-of-a-kind visual stunners.
“I am an advertising and a portrait photographer. A big part of what I do is conceptual photography that involves composites in post-production. Now, I have been also shooting automobiles and they get featured here and there too,” he said. Jan considers people apart from cars as his favorite subjects. As for his choice of equipment, his current favorite is the Fujifilm GFX50s Medium Format Camera. “I think of a concept and work with a set in my studio to get what I have in mind,” he said.
When asked what keeps him motivated: “It would be the challenge to make mind bending photographs that have not been made yet.”
“I don’t do this full time though. I have another business that divides my time and of course, my family.” Jan together with his wife Ivy has two kids named Casey and Selina, and they have a software development business called Medisoft Inc.
But whether the choice is to do it full-time or part-time, there’s more to this profession than just having the best equipment in order to stand out. “Shoot on what you are drawn to. Create a unique style and stand out. Build a strong portfolio and choose your influences carefully,” he advised aspiring photographers.