Interview: Photographer Jacob Di Angelo (Thailand)
Tell us something about yourself.
My Name is Jacky Pecqueur and my Artist name is Jacob Di Angelo.
I was born in the north of France in a town called Lens. I'm coming from a very simple family. My Father was a mechanic and my mother was a housemaid. I studied science, but didn't like it very much. As a teenager I wanted to discover the world then I moved to Germany in 2000 without being able to speak German at all. I started to work as a courrier for an industrial copy shop who printed plans for architects. Few years later I became Key Account Manager for Hewlett Packard.
After 10 years spent in Germany, I decided to go back to France as a transition to refind myself. Then I moved to Thailand. This is where I met my wife who played a big role and was a great support for me as a photographer.
Why the name Jacob Di Angelo? Well, when I was in Germany most of my friends where Asian and Italian. They couldn't say my name correctly and always called me Jacob. Di Angelo is a reference to creativity and knowledge like a Guardian Angel who helps you to go on your journey. Also, this name had more potential to become a brand rather than my real name. Jacky Pecqueur is not that really commercial.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is far to be what most of people with a camera are used to think of. “Capturing the moment” is absolutly not what I'm looking for. Photography is my way to express my most intim thoughts, my mood, my sins. I'm not trying to express what things are but more how I think things should be or should not be. It is the outlet of my very soul.
How and when did you get into photography?
My Grand-father gave me my first camera when I was 10. I was very bad at photography for a very long time. After few years trying to shoot something correctly I got bored and quitted. Then in 1992, my sister met her husband who was a pationate Graphic Designer. He brought me into the basic of Photoshop and Corel Draw. At the same time, I tried myself as a catwalk model for a tailor brand called “Blondeau” but to go through the modeling world I needed an agency to promote me as model. I found one who proposed me to create my portfolio with a “Professional Photographer”. It was the worth experience of my life. When I received the pictures, they were so creepy bad that I couldn't have used any of them for anything. This is when I realized that newcomers models or more generally people deserve something better if they want to insure a career. Then I restarted to shoot photography but that time, I decided to learn it from the best. I spent nights and days learning from Michael Zelbel, Scott Kelby, Eric Almas, Chase Jarvis, and Joe McNally.
I didn't started to shoot people at first. I was fearing not to be good enough. Then I shot landscape and cityscape. In 2011, I won the 3rd price in a Nikon Contest for cityscape photography and in 2012, I made the October cover of Photocommunity in Germany. After that, I moved on Photographing colleagues at work and finally models. This is when I decided to become a full time photographer.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I am a contrast photographer. I love shadows. It gives a three dimentional expression on the pictures I create. Also I'm a creative. I think and create concepts by myself no matter how difficult it could be. Technically speaking, I'm using mostly the typical studio fashion technic style to photography. I might be one of the rare photographer who don't like Bokeh. That's why I'm mostly shooting at F8 to F11.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Generally, I get my inspiration from history and mythology. Both are full of resources. Movies and computer games are also something that I use sometimes. The only rule that I have is to do something that nobody has done before in the limit of possible.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I don't think about it, I know it exactly. When I create a concept and shoot it, I know exactly in advance how the pictures should look like when it's finished. It helps me to save time to concentrate on what really matter. It saves time to the models and it saves time for the postprocessing.
Studio, on location or both?
Both indeed. When I create images, I like to use both of it. Many time I use both in a same concept to create composites.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
In fact I'm Both. I shoot paid assignments and also I shoot fun stuff for myself or for friends. I have realized that being an artist goes beyond being paid.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session was to create a calendar project with PK (Panussuda Kongchankit) She was published in your Magazine in June. The thing is that I wanted to create a model calendar but in the same time I was diagnosed with advanced Cancer. I cancelled the project first and she contacted me and pushed me to finish it. Then, PK and I recreated completely the calendar with only her as model. I shot the pictures I could barely stand on my feet so I was full pumped with chemicals from the chemiotherapy. When we recieved the first print, I cried. I was so happy to see the finished product as a salary for all the sacrifices we went through.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
My Biggest source of inpiration has been Humanity. Even if I mostly shoot female models, I love to express our way of being human. Perfectly imperfect, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes saint, sometimes devil.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I'm a Nikon Shooter for many years. For the lenses, I love the Sigma Art series. However, behind that, I don't believe that the gear makes the photographer. I've seen many photographers with very expensive gears who are just able to click the shutter but have no clue about the real meaning of the craft.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Be creative. Be unique. The most successful photographers are not the most famous ones on social media. Give a part of your soul in each one of your pictures. Don't copy someone's work just because he got 1K likes on Facebook and you expect the same result. Never stop to learn and never stop questioning yourself if the pictures you create are what you really wanted to have. Don't limit yourself at thinking: ”Are my picture good enough to be published?” but ask yourself if the pictures you create are good enough to represent your legacy.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I like it. Already at the first view we can see lots of work and attentions involved in it. It's very well structured and goes to the essential. I really enjoy it.