Jaedyn Taylor is a long time customer and Film Club Member and currently two of his photographs are on view in our gallery for the University Student Show: Photography in the Time of Covid. His photographs have always caught our eye so we thought we would interview him for our Member Moment this week.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: Honestly I would have to say my grandmother and then her unfortunate passing later on in my life.
Q: All of your photos are of people. What do you like about photographing people and what is challenging about it?
A: I meet a lot of people in my life. There's a story and a shared memory in every photograph I take. I care about pretty much every single person I photograph. But there are challenges, sometimes people are busy or they leave your life for one reason or another. But you must realize that's how life is sometimes. But as a funny answer, sometimes their outfit is bad lol.
Q: The composition and lighting of your photos is really striking. When photographing, what are you thinking before you click the shutter?
A: I have a few things running through my head, one of them is “omg is this even going to look right??” But besides that, I've been really getting into slowing down and telling a story or at least have a more thought out and planned idea. For my subjects; I say this all the time when people ask me; but my whole thing is I like to make people look like how they would look on their “best day.” My technical answer is ISO, aperture, then shutter speed.
Q: These photos feature a variety of locations and it seems some of the people are posed. How much direction do you give your subjects? Do you think of potential locations ahead of time? If so, what draws you to a certain location?
A: To tell you the truth I love it when my friends do their own thing that feels natural to them. Of course sometimes I'll give them some guidance but for the most part I let them do their thing. It also helps if your friends are already models haha. For locations I just like to shoot close to home, I'm kind of lazy honestly. But there's always different ways to transform even the most mundane of spaces, and since it's close to me I know the ins-and-outs. For the thing that draws me to a certain location I feel like where I'm from it's a mishmash of city and nature. So that sometimes, and also in my pictures I like to shoot in a more “time ambiguous” place.
Q: Out of all of these photos, which one is your favorite and why?
A: That is such a hard question because I swear after every photo shoot I do, I have a new “favorite photo” but I'm going to be selfish and say my self-portrait with me in my dorm reading a book and listening to music. It was for a school assignment which I ended up technically doing wrong. It was so spur of the moment! I was running out of sunlight, I was moving things out of the background, balancing cameras on boxes and my reflector all on my bed with a broom handle and a chair, and opening windows… It was quite a sight to see. But I rarely do self-portraits and I felt very true and honest with myself in that moment, even if it was “staged”. I feel like a lot of people could relate to those quiet moments; sometimes feeling lonely and sometimes feeling at peace.
Q: Most of your photos are in color. What type of film do you usually shoot with and what are some qualities that you like about color film vs black and white film?
A: I shoot both digital and film, primarily digital but! I've been recently obsessed with Kodak Ultramax but will forever have a soft spot for Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400. With color film I really like how shadows in midtones are rendered and still have a sort of color in them even if they are “black”. I've recently started to have an appreciation for black and white film. What I like about it is how sometimes it could help boost your story better than color can sometimes.
Everyday, Club Members take amazing pictures. If you are not a Film Club Member yet what are you waiting for? Join today to support the photo community in Philly and to start saving money on film processing!