Brighton-based photographer Joseph Ford was born in London in 1978. He began taking pictures while studying French and Italian at the University of Cambridge. In 2004 Ford snatched his first big and life changing job with an advertising campaign for TBWA Paris. Ever since he worked for clients around the world, shooting advertising and editorial images of people on location or in studio. Although he does collaborate with several post-production houses, Ford retouches most of his works by himself.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Outside my comfort zone is my comfort zone.
Whom do you look up to?
Almodovar, Nicolas Winding Refn, Nadav Kander and Bill Brandt.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very talented creatives – Olivier Lefebvre, Benjamin Marchal, Cedric Moutaud, Mohamed Bareche, and clients such as Pepe Jeans, Lacoste and Missoni who have trusted me and allowed me the space and freedom to develop.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?
My wife, who is a research scientist, and encourages me to take a step back to get an overview.
How did your photographic career start?
I came across Bill Brandt’s photographs and was hooked. Shortly afterwards I had the opportunity to move to Paris for a year as a student, and spent most of my time shooting on the street, in the darkroom and in exhibitions.
What was your favourite project and why?
Probably a series of diptychs I’ve been working on for the last couple of years, matching landscapes to fashion items. It has allowed me to travel and shoot from helicopters in some beautiful places, and has also provided an intellectual challenge, finding and creating matches between apparently disparate images.
How do you define creativity?
Looking at things as if you’ve never seen them before, and being able to convey that vision to others.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Collaborate, learn from others, be disciplined.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
Finding enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do is a constant challenge, but each project also provides its own challenges. One of the most complicated projects I’ve worked on, on a technical level, was a campaign for Hewlett Packard, which combined photography, CGI and multi-part composites. For this picture we shot on location, then went to Belgium to photograph an elephant to create a stock of textural images, then worked with a CGI artist who created part of the trunk and the head, and a matte painter who applied my photographs of the elephant to the CGI render.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
How young 21 is. There’s plenty of time.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
Directing a James Bond film.