JOHN ELLIS

Confidence is an interesting thing in this business. Too much of it and you are labeled arrogant, not enough and people will walk all over you. I pull mine from the support I get from my closest people around me. They are my biggest critics and supporters, but they keep me focused and on track. --Reminding me of my goals when things start to waver.

I have always had a love for photography from a young age, but could never afford a camera. So, when a friend offered his DSLR for a really great price, I jumped on it. Just like anyone, I was taking pictures of everything, mostly nature, working with models and fashion never even crossed my mind at the time. Until one day a really close friend who was an up and coming model/photographer herself asked me to come hang out in her studio and take some photos, I was hooked. So naturally, I dove into this lifestyle. I had my friend to help as a spring board and was able to start contacting and working with a lot of the local talent back in Richmond, Va. Now I feel like I have shot a little bit of everything before finding what I really love, which is fashion. There is something about these ad campaigns and editorials that just captivate me, especially the black and whites. I just knew this is what I needed to do. The only problem with that is that I did not really know any fashion photographers and being in a small market really did not help either. --Did I mention I never do things the easy way?!

I started networking within local groups, hoping to find more people like myself and, to my surprise, there were a few of us. Most of these guys were super talented and putting up work that just intimidated me to no end. I'm a watcher by nature, so I sat back and watched things for a bit before growing a pair and showing my work. Want to talk about a humbling experience, having something you love being ripped apart by anyone, especially if you admire their work. But this was huge for my growth, not really in what they were saying but growing that thick skin and understanding not everyone will love what you do, nor will they be nice about voicing said opinion. I eventually started reaching out to a few of these photographers and forged some really great friendships that I have to this day. These guys have been my support from the jump and continue to push me, along with a ton of self motivation and plenty of mistakes to learn from along the way.

I guess what pushed me to take the plunge and really focus on my photography was a multitude of things that all happened about the same time. I had become such a closed off person and so focused on living the American dream that I forgot about my dreams and what I wanted to do. So I decided that it was time to cleanse my life of things that were not good for me and my growth. I wanted to travel and see the world again, get out of my comfort zone, meet new and interesting people, along with trying to maintain a decent lifestyle along the way. Has it been easy? Hell no. Do I regret anything? Hell no. Eventually I felt like VA was now holding me back. I had to make a choice, take a chance on moving to NYC to keep that momentum going and to keep pushing my work and business further or try and make it all work from VA and possibly change how and what I shoot. This was probably one of the toughest decisions I have made to date. But it feels right, so I'm running with it. I have some high hopes and aggressive plans but, nothing great ever came from being comfortable.

 

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I feel like when you are changing things up, it's basically pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Sure, I can shoot fashion editorials, but these lingerie shoots are much easier. So naturally, I start shooting more fashion editorials. This is how I keep myself going and motivated. As for staying true to my vision and ideas, I try and work with people who complement me. We have similar ideas and can come to some sort of middle ground to make sure everyone is happy with the end result. So yes, I say it's definitely something that is on my radar and I keep in the forefront when working on anything.

 

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Coming from the corporate world helped with problem solving during shoots. I try and keep a pretty level head and pull back to look at the bigger picture. What's the ultimate goal here and how does this change the outcome or final product? Then try and figure out ways to fix the issue and also knowing when something just can't be fixed and must be redone. These challenges were all a part of my growth; having that feeling of pure disappointment is probably the worst. But I tried to not even let things like this slow me down. Only way to get past it is to keep pushing, and not settling for anything less than your best. I have adopted this approach and it continues to help me to this day, there will always be something that goes wrong, how you handle it is what counts. 

 

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One of the most challenging aspects of my work but one that I am truly grateful for is: That I'm different. I see things differently. I capture things differently. I want to do things differently. I think being an individual can be a gift and a curse in this day and age. There is so much cookie cutter stuff going on, people are afraid of doing anything different. I don't want someone to say, "Oh your work looks like…." I want people to look at my work and know, "John shot this shit." No matter if they love it or hate it, I want that reaction. 

 

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Gotta try and keep a positive outlook on things. I have aggressive goals for the next twelve months and plan on hitting them all.

 

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The end of civilization will be caused by: A big ass comet piloted by little green men... BOOM! 

 














01 // Heather Carr // heather_carr__
02 // Hillary // hillaryh2o
03 // Lauren Krysta // lc_xo
04 // Uncredited
05 // Allegra Ream // allegritabonita
06 // Allison Ponthier // allisonponthier
07 // Jessica Crovato // jessicacrovato
08 // Uncredited
09 // Heather Carr // heather_carr__
10 // Uncredited
11 // Alexandra Nicole // ayee__bee
12 // Cindy Stella Nguyen // cindy_stella
13 // Allegra Ream // allegritabonita
14 // Uncredited

 

John Ellis // john___ellis // johnellismedia.com

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.