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From an early age Jonathan Bielaski knew he wanted to be a photographer. Jonathan's devotion to his profession inspired him to start his personal project "For the love of it". For the love of it studies the relationship between who you are and what you do. He captures strong personalities who have suceeded professionally doing what they love to do.
How did you get into using Phase One?
I have always been a believer of getting things right in camera. I started as a large format photographer shooting 4x5 and 8x10 sheet film and moved into digital at my first chance. Before my first Phase One system I spent way too much time in postproduction to achieve the look and feel of film. However the Phase One cameras and software have boosted my productivity and quality to new heights. I really have to say that I am a Phase One addict, having had many Phase One backs. I started with the P30+ then I moved to the P65+, and now I work with the IQ180.
Tell us about your project "For the love of it"
The whole idea started when I was coming back to the studio with my producer after a job lasting a couple of weeks. The assignment demanded heavy post-production and it was intense. I needed a break from this and I wanted to shoot something that was right from camera. I wanted no post, no editing, no nothing. I have always had a fascination with peoples jobs and how they got to live off of what they love, so I married the two and the project was born.
I started with a one-year time line and wanted to produce one environmental portrait a week. The idea developed and it grew into accompanying each image with a biography of the subject. After the first year I had such a huge body of work, but I decided to keep the project going, this time on a monthly basis.
My goal is to inspire people to do what they love, because if you do that you will never work another day in your life. So now I am working on a gallery show and a book coming soon.This for me is probably the most exciting part.
Is there any one personality you have worked with that stands out? Maybe someone you have gained something special from?
The thing is, throughout this process I have met people from all places in life. From rich to poor, educated to self-taught: the whole spectrum. They are all very fulfilled and happy because they have all at some point in life decided to follow their heart and they all affect me in different ways. You just need to listen. I love learning from the one on one interaction. Talking, exploring and asking questions always bring new stories and at some point you get cultivated from the experience. This is especially notable when talking to people who love what they do as they have no problem telling you about it! It is just amazing to meet all these personalities on their home court.
What are some of the more unusual experiences you have had when shooting? What does Phase One bring to your images?
All my images are created on location and each location has its challenges and utilizing the Phase One camera system has been key. The cameras color and tonal range is untouchable in the digital world. Its ability to capture what I see is the key I think.
Some of the more interesting work environments that I have been in are the dirty industrial and agricultural locations which are usually hot, humid and unforgiving. The Phase One system is a perfect match for location work because it will work anywhere.
What is your most used technical setup when shooting these portraits?
Since all my images are on location, AC outlets are always hard to find so I have created a location kit that is small, portable and all battery powered. No matter where I am shooting I always mix strobe lighting with ambient light and the Phase One system works wonders with that. My usual light setup is between 4-8 strobes usually using a deep octa as my main light source.
"My goal is to inspire people to do what they love, because if you do that you will never work another day in your life."