Jahn Williams: Say Cheese, Adelaide!
To those willing to stop for a while and look beyond the obvious, Adelaide is a city of surprises. A city of many parts, it is both disciplined where buses and trains move like clockwork, and wild where strange creatures roam intoxicated among the beautiful vineyards. It is blue one minute, and a deep orange the other. Amateur photographer and founder of the hugely popular Instagram account Adelaide by Jahn, Jahn Williams tries to capture these little surprises the city throws our way. He walks through the streets of Adelaide with his iPhone, always shoot-ready, to catch the city as she changes her colours.
In a chat with TAL, the Brompton resident speaks about his passion for photography, cinema, and everything Adelaide.
What prompted you to start Adelaide By Jahn? What was the very first picture you took for the profile and what was the story behind it?
Adelaide by Jahn began approximately four years ago when I first acquired an iPhone. Making the most of the camera and its features I decided to open an Instagram account, which fundamentally originated as an outlet for sharing family photos and the like. From recollection, I believe my first photo was that of my frail auntie who was celebrating her birthday. As I progressed with the account I changed its name from @jahn234 to @_adelaide_by_jahn_ to reflect my changing outlook towards showcasing Adelaide and all the weird and wonderful little nooks and crannies the city has to offer.
The account is an opportunity for me to show Adelaide as I observe it through my eyes. Its unique angles, reflections, different locations and perspectives that I discover as I explore my city. I also like to promote all that this town and great state has to offer, from its beautiful beaches, interesting city streets to the glorious Adelaide Hills and beyond.
Would you call yourself a professional photographer?
I am far from a professional photographer. I consider myself an amateur, who largely uses an iPhone to capture images I share on Instagram. But I firmly believe it is not the equipment but the 'eye' behind the equipment that counts.
Were you always attracted to photography as a profession? Or was it something that grew on you?
Photography has always interested me, particularly from a cinematic point of view. Perhaps, thats where I derive my perspective and photographic 'eye'.
What are your favourite Adelaide photography spots?
I'm not sure if I could single out any particular favourite photography spots. I'm continuously looking at things from different perspectives, trying to discover a fresh angle- which one one would have thought to look from before.
I believe I've captured a large portion of Adelaide's streets, and have covered a lot of ground in that least few years. I'm forever returning to the same locations as they always seem to be evolving, revealing something a little different every time.
What, according to you, makes Adelaide such a photo-friendly place?
I believe Adelaide and South Australia in general has so much to offer for photographers. There's thriving and energetic street art culture, festivals, parades, celebrations, architecture and history. Beyond the city centre there are breathtaking landscapes, world class wine country, a vast array of stunning coastlines and beaches. There's so much to choose from, no matter where a photographer's interests may lie.
Which photographers have influenced you and why?
I've always loved and admired the work of American street photographer, Vivian Maier. I even use a quote of hers on my Instagram profile. In addition, there are countless photographers I have come to respect, who I have discovered since joining the wonderful world of Instagram. But fundamentally, I believe I am most heavily influenced by cinematographers and the magical way they use available natural light and artificial lighting in conjunction with perspective and angle to create a truly cinematic point of view.
What kind of pictures touch you emotionally?
I've always had an affinity with sunsets and especially sunrises and usually feel a strong emotional connection to them as day becomes night and vice versa. They are endings and beginnings, offering endless opportunities.
Do you have any advice for up and coming photographers?
My advice for up and coming photographers is to find what drives and motivates you, and through that, a passion usually emerges which grants you focus. And, of course always shoot from the heart.
What are your future plans regarding Adelaide by Jahn?
As for the future of Adelaide by Jahn, I shall endeavour to develop as a photographer, hoping to continue to gain exposure and ultimately obtain a professional grade DSLR and other equipment that will advance my passion. I might also undertake the necessary courses and learn to train my 'eye' further.
Through Instagram I have met some lovely people, been to some amazing places and seen things I may have never seen otherwise. I have had the pleasure of shooting a band, for which I was paid. To evolve my passion into a career and earn a living from doing something that I love, would be a dream come true. Till then, I will just keep shooting.
Jahn was born here in little old Adelaide at Queen Victoria Hospital in Rose Park 1971. A hospital that no longer exists. He grew up in Kent Town before moving to the suburbs with his parents. He now lives with his own family in Brompton just outside the city. His hobbies include a passionate love affair with cinema, and is fascinated with very genre and facet filmmaking. He loves listening to music and really enjoys singing, which occasionally includes braving the karaoke stage and mic. He likes drawing and art, street art and art galleries. He also used to write film reviews for a hobby, which he would share on social media garnering some great positive response and feedback.
Follow him on Instagram.