For us, it's always a lot of fun to scroll through an Instagram feed and see such a diversity of subjects that you can't help but be inquisitive about what may come next. This is precisely what we have found in the world of Jarryd Watson (@____rod_). Whether Jarryd is shooting digital or analog, his pictures invoke both emotion and curiosity. Regardless of what subject he may be photographing, Jarryd nearly always finds a way to use Mextures at some point in his process. Not long ago we had a chance to talk with him about all things photography, inspirational, and of course, Mextures. Read along!
My name is Jarryd Watson (AKA Rod). I am a 25 year old lad from Durban, South Africa.
At the time of writing this, I am going through the process of resigning from my current job as a draftsman for the local municipality/council and in the very near future I will be moving across to England for work, travel and of course to photograph the world, one place at a time. After spending far too long doing a job that brought me very little happiness, I feel it’s time to take the necessary steps to do something I am hugely passionate about. In the UK I want to make this passion a full-time affair. I couldn’t think of anything better than waking up in the morning and making art all day!
My passion for photography started many years back. I’d try photographing every little thing just to see what it would look like photographed. Slowly but surely I fell in love with it and around four years ago I got my first DSLR, a Nikon D3100 which, funny enough, I still shoot with today.
I was first introduced to Instagram around two years ago and I had the usual noob Instagram posts until one day when I stumbled across the feature account, @exklusive_shot, and everything changed from that point on. I began learning as much as I could about photography. I spent many, many hours on YouTube watching tutorials and trying to figure out how these guys were getting these incredible pictures. Then, while browsing through my feed, I came across a number of photographs with these wild crazy edits and had to find out how they were doing this. So I looked through the tags and saw #mextures and after a quick Google search I found the Editing App of the century! I couldn’t believe just how amazing it was. The variety of textures and the amount of functions you can perform blew my mind! I fell in love instantly and I absolutely adore this app! I use it for about 80% of my edits.
Moving out of the digital sphere, I am also hugely passionate about film photography. I purchased my first 35mm film camera, a Pentax SP1000 Spotmatic, about a year ago and after many “wasted” rolls of film I am starting to get the hang of it. The thing I love about shooting film apart from the look and feel is the way it makes you slow down and actually think about what it is you want to photograph. Unlike digital, you only get 36 shots.
Instagram and Mextures have had a huge influence on my life, allowing me to show my work and connect with people across the planet. It has put this burning desire in me to go out and explore and photograph the world we live in.
Do you have a favorite subject to shoot?
I'd say my favorite subject to shoot is people. I've been getting into a ton of portrait work recently and that's partly because I'm starting to shoot a lot more film now. Film and portraiture go so well together. Apart from people, I love shooting gloomy, misty landscapes with people in them. I feel it adds so much more depth and emotion to the photograph. Then of course you add the Mextures flare to the edit and it transforms this pretty plain image into something otherworldly.
What is it at the moment that has you shooting more film than digital?
You see, I've grown up with digital cameras. The very first camera I used was a digital point and shoot. It was around two or three years ago when I was first introduced to film and I fell in love immediately. I'd always try edit my digital photos to look like film but never really got the effect that I was looking for. So eventually I thought to myself, “Why don't I just actually shoot the real deal?" and I've been loving it ever since.
What does your editing process generally look like? And is it different for your digital work than for your film work?
I always start by importing the photographs into Lightroom. Then I make the usual corrections such as exposure, contrast, etc. I then apply a VSCO film preset to achieve that film look. I usually like to have a dark and gloomy mood to my photos so I edit with quite a bit of contrast and low saturation to get that look.
Once I'm happy with that I move across to mextures where I apply one of my existing formulas to the photo and then tweak it here and there. Sometimes though the existing formulas just don’t work so I have to start a new formula from scratch. I'd say my favorite thing to use in Mextures is the Stardust preset. It kind of looks like sparks from a fire floating through the air. It really adds to the mood.
When it comes to my film work I usually try keep the photos unedited but sometimes they require a slight touch up in Lightroom with contrast, highlights, etc. I feel that editing a film photograph too much retracts from its uniqueness. That's the amazing thing about film - if you get it right in camera it doesn't require any editing.
Is there anything in particular about Mextures that keeps you using the app?
Mextures is such a diverse app. The possibilities are almost endless. The way it can take an ordinary image and turn it in to something out of a fantasy is what keeps me coming back for more. I also love how easy it is to use the app. To achieve the same look in Photoshop would take hours but with Mextures mere minutes!
You mentioned that you have formulas that you use. Would you mind sharing a few?
1) B&W Film - ULLGMGN - This one is for black and white photos. It adds some grain and scratches to give somewhat of a old film look.
2) Color Film look - CLJEFTK - This formula is subtle but it gives the image that color film look.
3) Sombre - PMLZXEY - This formula creates a very moody image. It works well with low light black and white and sometimes works with color. Especially if you have a lot of black in the photo.
4) Demise - TSETZCB - This is very similar to the Sombre formula but adds even more doom and gloom.
5) Roads - VUADZIY - This one creates a very moody atmosphere. It works well with landscape shots.
What do you feel really motivates you to continue to take pictures and develop that creative side of yourself?
The biggest motivation for me is going on Instagram and seeing some of the amazing work by other photographers and wanting to create something equally as good. Most of the accounts that I follow inspire me to get out there and explore my surroundings - to capture amazing scenery and moments and share them with the Instagram community.
What is your favorite photo that you’ve captured so far?
My favorite photo so far has to be the one of my good friend @jonkat323 walking down this farm road completely surrounded by mist. I always love getting minimal shots and this one is hands down my favorite one to date. I like taking photos that have a bit of mystery to them. This pictures makes you wonder what's further down the road and really captures the imagination - basically walking into the unknown.
(The formula code for this photo is: EBXKLIF)
What are some of the things and who are some of the people that have most inspired your style and photography?
I've always found this question difficult to answer. I feel I am inspired all the time by different subjects, themes, and moods.
I love having a diverse style of photography. I can be inspired by almost anything - from a good movie with great cinematography to a song which makes me feel a certain way - and then I'll go out and try to bring those feelings and moods into my work.
Instagram has probably had the biggest influence on my style. Some of the accounts that I follow completely blow my mind! Seeing all of these amazing galleries always gets me inspired to get out there and shoot.
The people who have most influenced my work are as follows:
Andrew Ritter (@andrew_stanceworks) - His work has always been a huge influence to me, especially when it comes to automotive photography. The look, the composition and the editing of his work is what I aspire to achieve in my work.
Brandon Carroll (@digbickbrandon) - I absolutely love this guys account! He has such great moods and emotions in his work and is always a huge inspiration for me.
Nikki (@521gemini) - Her work has always inspired my darker, moody edits. Her gallery is incredible!
Kiel Milligan (@kielm) - I found this account by chance one day and immediately fell in love with it. His eye for cinematography has influenced me in some of my photographic work.
Kat Irlin (@kat_in_nyc) I have always loved Kat's work. The mood, the editing and the feel of her photos is something I wish to achieve in my work someday.
Tina Riera (@atthina) - I've been following her work on Flickr way before I even knew about Instagram and have always enjoyed the mood and style of her photos.
Ryan Muirhead (@ryanmuirhead) and Tanja Lippert (@tanjalippert) - After watching their film show on YouTube, I instantly fell in love with their film work. They have influenced me tremendously when it comes to shooting film and I am always in awe of their work.
Take a gander at more of Jarryd’s photography here!