By Kate Ferguson
Today we’re catching up with photographer Jason Foster. He’s awesome, very talented, and recently relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego. (So we miss him over here.) He’s a master with the film portraits.
When/why did you first started shooting?
I retired from the Coast Guard in 2014 and had the GI Bill benefit. I attended all kinds of personal training schools to get certified so I could make that money. I always wanted to attend art school as I grew up drawing/painting, and it was my escape so to speak…that and skateboarding.
Anyway, after finishing all my training schools, I only had 2 years left of the benefit. I checked with the Art Institute Los Angeles, and they had a 2-year Photography program available, so I jumped in.
When I signed up for school, I was a bit naive as to what it entailed…99 percent of the program was digital-based, so I was less than thrilled. Having come from a time (before digital) I expected at the very least some film studies. I remember seeing my dad’s contact sheets laying around, and always enjoyed the aesthetic they brought. Anyway, flash forward two years and I’m graduating, and immediately selling all my digital gear.
Most memorable shoot?
Towards the end of school, I was working on my final which involved a lot of self-exploration/psychoanalysis. It was about growing up with an alcoholic mother…I was fortunate enough to find someone willing to share their similar upbringing through this process. We worked a couple of days a week for a couple of months really diving into some darker places. The results were beautifully honest.
Any film failures?
I’ll never tell… but yeah, I often shoot with expired film.
How would you describe your style?
All your pics feel intimate/thoughtful/something like that. How does that feeling come about?
It’s about connecting with whomever I shoot with… Sometimes it takes a few ‘shoots’ to gain the trust, or open the door if you will. I’m an open book, so a big part of it is willing to be transparent as well.
Favorite camera(s) and why?
If I tell you, my other cameras will be jealous and vindictive. To be completely honest, I don’t geek out on gear. I’ve tried most, and found that Nikon suits me just fine.
Tell me about pairing song lyrics with your pics.
Music is a big fucking deal for me. So when I go into a lot of shoots, I like to play music, often it will be music that my subject is into. I use to use lyrics from songs that we’d listen to during our shoots, but lately I’ve let that go. Right now though, I am listening to some good ole Radiohead (fake plastic trees) and I fucking love it. Sorry about all the fucks, but I am a sailor, so I have many excuses…
Favorite song/s in general:
Jeez. Radiohead (go slowly, nude, weird fishes, house of cards, present tense, tinker tailor soldier) a shit ton of others, but since we’re listening to Radiohead…
Trouble Coffee cinnamon toast with an americano, San Francisco. (look it up)
I have it… 1973 Ford F100, and her name is Christine.
How does SD compare to L.A.?
The humans here seem to be less about what’s around the corner, and more about what’s in front of them. It’s refreshing.
If you had a superpower it would be?
I don’t even know… to make everyone color blind… we are all the same inside and out.
Do you ever feel psychic?
Only when I drive.
What is success?
Finding my wife, Shawna.
Find Jason Foster on Instagram @thredays