Artist of The Week: Gabby Jones
Gabby Jones is the modern documentarian bringing her experience as a young artist to life through her lens. Her version of reality—whether it be as a post grad photographer, a young woman, or a fly on the wall observing her surrounding—is crystal clear, and we’re here for it. Through projects like “Group Chat”, which explores the complexities of what it means to be a woman, to “Scarier Dome”, which documents a community of boys in Syracuse hosting concerts in their home, Jones is on the front lines of life, plain and simple. We sat down with the photographer to talk new work, old work, and the intersection of people and places as she transitions from one chapter to the next.
What are you working on now? Do you have new projects coming up?
Yeah! So, I feel like I’ve started five different projects, and all of them have kind of fallen through. The one that I’m kind of coming back to is the one I started last summer, and it was just life after college. Just like transitioning into adulthood. I’m kind of back on that track right now, which is where I want to be.
Cool. What are you shooting for that? What kind of people are you photographing?
Well, I guess it was May of 2017—I was shooting everybody coming home from college and graduating. Just kind of dealing with being bored, trying to find a job, what the future might hold. There’s a big gap between then and now obviously. Not too big, it hasn’t been that long, but I’m kind of just shooting what I’m seeing. I’m starting more with what’s going on in my life, and my friends’ lives. So just how you live. We’re all on a tight budget—how do you make ends meet? It’s still super beginning stages of this project, now that I’m just picking it up again. Things like that. Very ordinary things that we all experience. I’m examining it a little deeper.
So when you went through the transition of leaving school, how did you feel? What was that like for you as an artist?
It was very scary actually [Laughs]. I don’t have deadlines anymore, so how am I going to get any projects done? And that’s kind of how this project started. After school, I was really nervous that I would stop shooting, so I thought I might as well do a weekly diary of life after graduation. I would post things on Instagram, and be like, “Week 1”, “Week 2”, you know. I could see the transition. It really started out as an exercise and just a way of coping with this transition I guess.
Cool. When you don’t have someone like a professor telling you when to turn stuff in, how do you find that motivation or discipline, how do you find that structure outside of school?
Honestly I don’t know. I’m still kind of figuring it out [Laughs]. It’s really hard sometimes. Sometimes you just forget to do what you are supposed to be doing. I guess it has to do with routine, you just have a routine. I’m also freelance, so life is still a business transition. Somedays I have to work, and other times, it’s the middle of the week and I get to sleep in. I have to wake up and do my stuff—just because I’m not getting paid for it, I still need to be doing my own work. I’m still figuring it out, but I’m on my way.
I’m still figuring it out, but I’m on my way.
What are some sources of inspiration that you can go back to when you’re starting a new project or brainstorming ideas?
Honestly, I think it’s like whenever I see other photographers who I really admire or other companions or students. If I ever see them, getting published or making their way, it motivates me. I know that sounds competitive, but I don’t mean it in a malicious way. It makes me think, “Oh, I really want that too.”
Since it’s Women’s History Month, you obviously have the “Group Chat” project, but how do you feel like your experience as a woman influences your work or affects how you interpret or create a photo?
Yeah! Well, I mean, for the “Group Chat” project, I would have never been able to document that if I was a boy. So of course, it influences that. Also, I think I’ve always been very intrigued by girls’ friendships. I’m a girl, I have friends, and I’ve always just found that those friendships are very intimate and are very special relationships. I’m interested by it, documenting it, photographing it. There are very intimate moments within that.
What is your vision for how you want to spend your time this summer? What do you want to be working towards?
Well I really, really, really want to just get another project fully developed. I want to be able to send it out, and I need to get more work. My goal is to just get hired more. Just because they like my style, and hopefully they’ll want me to work for them. Hire me.
That’s a great goal [Laughs]. Awesome!
Images and video courtesy of Jihad Dennis
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