JUSTIN SWAIN

I appreciate it and I'm stoked that such an awesome online editorial wanted to partner up with me for a piece! As you mentioned, confidence is a huge part of doing what I do. It factors into so many different aspects of "the process." Being able to confidently reach out to established models or brands in regards to working together was definitely something that I struggled with when I first started shooting about four years ago. I had a lot of success shooting in the automotive scene for a while, but not many people knew of me outside of that realm.  It was almost like starting over in a way! I learned pretty quickly that not everybody is going to want to work with an inexperienced photographer... and that it wasn't something that I should ever take personal. Sure, I'd get bummed that the vision I presented to them wasn't something they were as excited about as I was, but there are too many other opportunities out there to dwell on that stuff.  Honestly, I have a pretty amazing group of social media followers and a lot of friends that love to remind me how much they love my work and I'm extremely grateful to them for coming along on this journey with me. I also live with the mentality that doing something just to please the masses isn't necessarily the right reason to do it. It's important to me that my work gives me happiness and impacts the viewer in some sort of way. If I like a specific photo or mood of a photo I'm going to take the time to make it better through post processing if necessary. I guess at the end of the day, I'm confident that with hard work and maybe some risk taking here and there my photography will take me to the places I want to go.

 

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Photography is a huge part of my self expression. I generally shoot subjects that interest me: women, streetwear fashion, urban landscape, and nature.  I think the very first time I saw it as a creative outlet was when I really started taking my photos to the next level with editing. Often times I'm happy with how a photo looks straight off of the camera, but there's always little things that catch my eye that I didn't notice in the moment. Once I learned some basic editing techniques from YouTube tutorials or just asking friends, I felt like I had taken a big step in the right direction. I primarily use editing to get rid of distractions or blemishes. I don't like over editing things like going crazy with the curves on a woman's body, I'd rather just shoot the photo right from the beginning. I want to keep my photos as true as possible, so I try not to get too caught up on every single detail.  I just want to enhance the photo and keep the attention on the subject.

 

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Communication is one of the single most important things involved with photography. Reaching out, planning, execution, and follow up are all vital to one another. It's so lazy to comment, "Let's shoot!" on an Instagram photo or to shoot a DM over to somebody who is probably tired of the endless stuff they get in their inbox daily. I always tell photographers and models they need to be prepared when they reach out… have a game plan. Present your ideas in a clear and concise way, see what the other creatives involved have to say! I definitely try to welcome other perspectives when it comes to a shoot. People often forget how much an established relationship can help when it comes to having a successful photoshoot. Figure out what they have interest in, what music they like, and see where they are creatively. Things like this will make everything more natural in the long run. I think my biggest change from when I started to where I am now would just be my confidence around my skills and what I bring to the table which allows me to approach models and brands with more enthusiasm around my ideas.

 

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Women have definitely been a huge focal point in the majority of my work thus far and I've had the pleasure of working with a lot of beautiful, intelligent, and captivating ladies over the years. I don't know exactly what steered me in the direction of shooting the style that I do, but I know I like to make people feel good. Whether it's the model in the photo getting back my edits and being happy about how she looks after so much hard work, or if it's evoking the emotion of the people that see my photos and wonder what's next. I really do try my best to keep my photos tasteful, exciting, and appealing to people and it's great when I get all of the positive feedback from them after I post a set to my website or on social media.

 

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Layers create so much more when it comes to an outfit. Having multiple stylish options in an outfit is harder to do, but the creative outcome is always better in my opinion. It also forces me to try new things in order to focus on each piece of the outfit. There's definitey something to be said for the more minimalist wardrobes out there as well, though. The saying "less is more" is something that definitely rings true for some people. I have a love-hate relationship with patterned lace/fishnet style items because they can bunch up or twist around limbs and create almost like an optical illusion. Our eyes aren't trained to deal with lines and curves meeting too often. With that being said, if it's done right it can be absolutely amazing!

 

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One of the most challenging aspects of my work, but one that I'm grateful for is: Balancing out my work and private life to make sure I don't get consumed by either one more than the other. I'm honoured to get the support that I have from people that enjoy my work, but I have to make time for my family, friends, and creating memorable moments with them as well.

 

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I try to be optimistic about everything I do. I feel like if I keep working hard and producing more and more examples of quality and growth with my skill set, there will be endless things I can achieve. I know a lot of people think success is based solely on hard work and dedication, but I think there's an equal amount of luck as well. Knowing the right people and having the right people know who you are is often times overlooked in my opinion. Networking is huge for anybody at almost any level of work. For me, comfort leads to a stagnant life and that's great for some people, but it's not the life I want. I recently moved to LA to get out of a comfort zone where I was having a lot of success. There are a tonne of talented creatives in the LA area, some of which I've looked up to since I began taking photos. I plan on making my presence known while I'm here and I really want to create some amazing visuals and work on some next level projects with the people I meet. There are a lot of other things I hope to achieve outside of photography as well, but I'll save those for another time.

 

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The end of civilization will be caused by: Eventually the aliens will just hit the on/off switch when they get bored.

 
















01 // Brandie Suicide // brandy_brandie
02 // Kristina Chai // itskristinachai
02 // Apúdssara Gronski // apudssara
03 // Lexi Shannon // lexishannon
04 // Alysha Nett // alyshanett
05 // Melanie Love // melroselove_
06 // Jessica Larson // kuksugare
07 // Lily Petrone // lilypetrone
08 // Dannie Riel // dannieriel
09 // Jessica Wilde // jessicawildemfc
10 // Amberleigh West // amberleighwest
11 // Alyssa Barbara // alyssabarbara
12 // Alyssa Barbara // alyssabarbara
13 // Victoria Sai // victoria_sai
14 // Lexi Shannon // lexishannon
15 // Victoria Sai // victoria_sai
16 // Ali Lynn // _xoalilynn

 

Justin Swain // jswainphoto // jswainphoto.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.