Interview With Videographer and Photographer Amber Jones
Amber Jones is a New Zealand based photographer with a unique style and a seam-less ability to capture life as an adventure. Ambers images have a real, time-less sense of place and deep connection. She’s passionate about capturing stories in our underwater Kingdome and inspiring stories through her photographs.
Hey Amber, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us today. To start things off, can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
As in I’m 5’10, blonde, pigeon-toed and own 11 pairs of dungarees?...
When did you get into photography? Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I first frothed out on taking pics when mum bought me a Lumix “Amber- proof” (waterproof/smashproof) camera when I began to travel chasing snow seasons (don’t ask how long ago that was). The discovery of capturing pictures in all my favourite places with all my favourite people doing our favourite things had me hooked! I had never dreamed I could get snow and salt water all over my camera unless I was carrying around a huge professional rig but that little Lumix was enough to plant the seed within and have me save up for the next step up. A quote I always refer to is “Travelling is the greatest classroom - The lessons don't begin at 9am and finish at 5pm. You are constantly learning the minute you wake up and just before you head to sleep” so that’s what taught me. That, and Youtube. A lot of Youtube tutorials!
What inspired you to pick up a camera?
After my Lumix sadly passed away my friend happened to be selling her DSLR for a really good price as she bought it hoping she’d enjoy photography but fortunately for me, didn’t have the patience to persevere with it. Thus the little Canon 550D ended up in my hands. My friends, unbeknownst to them became models, my boyfriend’s friends became ‘pro’ surfers and every road trip began to be documented through my lens.
What are you looking for when capturing your shots, and what do you hope to portray or inspire with your photos?
Awesome question! I’m all about portraying connection. It is something we have severely forfeited in this new, inimically connected world. My lifestyle is one that heavily revolves around Mother Nature and all she has to offer and In this social-media-saturated society we become so easily influenced by what we see and read rather than what we experience, so whether it be an image from beneath our underwater kingdom, venturing through our native bush or portraying the hunter/gatherer lifestyle, if I can inspire one girl to turn off her phone and go explore our boundless adventure playground through an image I’ve captured then yeah, I’m doing my job.
You shoot in some pretty remote locations and underwater in what looks like some tricky circumstances. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in getting these difficult shots?
I have only just started to hone my underwater ability and the biggest challenge so far has been learning animal behaviour. You only really get a few seconds to get the shot you want so it’s crucial knowing the animals’ next move, and that instinct only comes with dedicated time in the water. I am so lucky to have the advice and close supervision of shark scientist (partner) Riley Elliott and to have learned some mad skills in Hawaii off some of the industry’s best ( Matt Draper, Juan Olliphant and Tom Braithwaite) so far but I still have a lot of learning to do!
Are there a few key pieces of gear you take with you on an adventure to get the shot?
I’m never without my Aquatech housing; Even if we’re hiking its likely there will be a waterfall involved, otherwise just a couple of extra lenses, spare batteries and memory cards!
Out of all the places you’ve been, if you could pinpoint one adventure as your favourite, which would it be?
Hands-down the big Island of Hawaii. It was an underwater playground and we were hosted by incredible families over there who showed us all the local treasures and the best beer in the world.
Do you aim for your images to tell a story or do you like to leave them open to interpretation?
I like to tell a story at my end but if others end up interpreting it another way then that’s cool too. As long as it comes across in a positive light then it’s all good.
Any tips for aspiring women photographers?
Life’s short. Surround yourself with inspiring people and don't take yourself too seriously!
When you’re not taking photos what do you like to do?
I’ll either be in or around water...or in the pantry.
As a local New Zealand resident, what’s on your ‘must do’ list for visitors?
I still have so much I’m yet to explore but from what I’ve seen in my 27 years I can personally recommend my top three spots;
- Great Barrier Island; As much as I’d love to keep it a secret its hands-down Mother Nature’s secret garden of Eden; Waterfalls, empty surf, bush hikes, world-class seafood..
- Hawkes Bay/Mahia Peninsula; for the active, small-wave seeker, wine-loving, art-appreciating, fresh-air-frothing women
- Tutukaka / Bay of Islands; For any water women - It is postcard perfect above and beneath the surface.
What’s your next adventure and when do you head out?
A road trip through the South Island with all our dive and surf gear! So frothy to explore our backyard as I’ve never done the mission all the way around. Spring should be pretty phenomenal for pictures too so pretty pumped for that.
Thanks for your time! Before we let you go, what other social platforms are you active on besides Instagram? I’m sure our readers would love to know where else they can connect with you on the web.
My personal website: www.amberandfriends.net