March: Artist Spotlight - Erin Jackson

The member of our p52clicks community we have chosen to celebrate for March's black and white theme is the lovely Erin Jackson. I love how her images tell such beautiful stories, capturing the fun and details of her children's daily lives and how she uses black and white to really draw out the emotions and make these images feel so timeless. I hope you enjoy learning a little about her and be sure to check out her great tips for shooting black and white.

Abi xx

Tell us about your photography journey...

I have been playing around with photography since I was a teenager. I always had some kind of film or point and shoot camera around, and got myself a Canon Rebel for a trip to Europe about 10 years ago. I never really graduated from automatic settings until after my son was born and my Rebel quit on me right around his first birthday- about 4 years ago now. I wanted to learn more about photography so I upgraded to a Canon 6D Mark ii, switched it to manual, and never looked back.

I love photography because it gives me a creative outlet and something to learn in my free time, while still enjoying and being involved with my kids. On top of the P52 project, I completed my first 365 last year while I was on maternity leave and my husband was deployed, and am now three months into my second.

Tell us a bit about your style...

Because I am a hobbyist I jump around a lot trying different techniques, but I would describe my style as storytelling environmental portraiture. I mostly photograph my children and I try to capture the feel of our life, love and chaos and all.

What gear do you use?

I use a very well-loved Canon 6D Mark ii. With it, I have a Sigma 35mm 1.4, Canon 50mm and 85mm 1.8, and a Lensbaby Sol 45.

What's your go to lens and why?

My Sigma 35mm 1.4 is almost always attached to my camera. I just really love how many details I can include with the wide range of the 35. Because my kids are little it allows me to still be creative in tighter, darker spaces indoors when I can't make it out for golden hour at bedtime, and keeps my kids within a safe distance when I can.

Who and what inspires you?

I get my inspiration from my family. I try to capture the details of our life so that I have them for my kids when they are older. I also get a lot of inspiration from nature, movies, books, and connecting with other photographers on Instagram and through groups like P52 Clicks.

What tips do you have for shooting black and white?

My top tips for black and white images would be to (1) really nail your composition and (2) pay attention to contrast.

I often convert images that have very strong compositional elements, but might be lacking in dramatic light or have a weird colour cast or background objects that can be distracting. A mediocre image in colour can still be an incredible storytelling image in black and white if it has interesting composition. I also really love black and white for images that capture connection and details because I find that the conversion can add to the emotions I feel when I'm looking at the photo

On the flip side, dramatic light can make a really great black and white too because of the contrast it creates. Shooting for high contrast with dramatic light is a great way to make a really strong black and white image.

What black and white image are you most proud of and/or love the most and why?

I am most proud of my image of my son holding up and examining a worm. It was a cloudy, rainy day and there wasn't much interesting light, but I love how I captured the layers of his eyes and the wriggling worm in front of his face. It just freezes that magical childhood moment for me and the look of wonder in his eyes.

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