Questions by Elliot Jones
Photos by Ellis Anton
Tell us a bit about how you got into photography.
I started with an iPhone, just taking photos on my travels. It was always with me so whenever I found myself somewhere interesting I’d try to take a few pictures. Around a year and a half ago I decided to purchase a DSLR to learn a lot more about photography. Almost immediately I committed to shooting on manual mode to make sure I learned the fundamentals of photography.
What inspires you when you are out shooting?
Music and film mostly. It’s part of the reason why I describe my Instagram as ‘Scenes from an Imaginary Film’. Combined with the captions, it’s like a monologue from a film – I like to take the world around me and augment it to fit a narrative in each photo.
Do you have any rules when you are shooting? Things you find you do consistently?
Not really – I try to do different things, and stretch myself as far as possible. It’s a gift and a curse in a way because you risk not creating a ‘brand’, which can make it harder for people to recognise your style. Conversely you’re not limited by anyone’s expectations – you’re free to create however you want, which is really what it’s all about.
What items are a ‘must have’ in your camera bag?
I try to carry as little as possible, but it has to be my gorillapod – especially during winter when the night lasts so long. I love that you can wrap it around anything and shoot from there. It can give you some really interesting perspectives because you’re using what’s around you, and not necessarily shooting the most obvious angle.
You’ve obviously travelled a lot, where has been the place you feel most productive and feel like you’ve got the best work from?
That’s tough. I feel like almost everywhere I’ve been has, at the time, inspired me and allowed me to create my best work. Tokyo was a dream for me – the clean modernity of it mixed with the bright, intrusive neon. But I would have to say Hong Kong just edges it, because of the contrast between the mountains on each island and the architecture developed to fit around that. It’s really unlike anywhere else.
Have platforms such as Instagram helped to progress your work?
Definitely. It’s the only platform I use, really. It encourages you to keep going. Especially at the beginning, when you’re still finding your feet and few people see your work. Now my account is bigger it’s still cool to read the comments and see the likes, but I use it more to take inspiration from so many great photographers on there and to connect with people from other cities.
From looking through your work, I’ve noticed you don’t shoot people very often. Why is this? Does Rick Owens quote, “Stop destroying the landscape with your outfit” ring true with your style?
Haha I suppose it does. A lot of the photos I get a ‘chance’ photos, and those conditions don’t exist often (like trying to get Fushimi Inari empty) so it’s cool to capture that while I can. I do enjoy shooting people, but I keep a pretty small circle so I feel like I would be shooting the same 2-3 people all the time. I’ve not really tried to push to find more people to shoot, but it’s something I think about doing more.
A lot of your work features interesting structures, what is it about architecture that fascinates you?
The variety out there. I like how some buildings become a part of their environment, whereas others rebel against it. That and the symmetry and simplicity of some structures. They’re always some of the most fun to shoot.
Check more of Ellis’ work out on his instagram.