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© Joe Lannandrea

Member Since:
May 15, 2006

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Profotos Member Biography - Joe Iannandrea

I grew up with photography all around me, but it's hard to say at what point it went from being an element of my surroundings to a passion of my own. Some of my earliest memories involve car trips to local fields and wooded areas where my parents would spend the afternoon huddled over a wildflower with camera, tripod, reflectors and whatnot as I climbed rocks and chased frogs. To me, that whole photography business was just craziness. Little did I know.

When I was seven my father moved his small home photography business to a studio location and we moved with it to a small apartment upstairs. To supplement the studio business the front third of the floor space became a retail camera store. At twelve I got my first experience in the photography business working in the store as a part time summer job.

Though I had observed the goings on in photography and the culture surrounding it, now that I was involved in it everything started to change. I started looking at the photographs that surrounded me all my life differently. What had been just pretty pictures held new fascination.

I would ask "What is it about this image? Why does it stand out among thousands of others? How does a photographer succeed in making an image like this?" Though I began finding answers to these questions many years ago, they are the same questions I still ask today.

By the time I finished high school my interest in photography had exploded, but it wasn't until I graduated from University and started thinking about what I was going to do with the rest of my life that I really started considering it as a career. So it was that, after studying photography at Sheridan College, I entered the family business on a full time basis. Photography had become my world, not just at work, but at home where the bedroom of my tiny bachelor apartment doubled as a darkroom. I was set up to print negatives up to 4x5, usually on fiber based papers which I would rinse overnight in a print washer that I made from a plastic storage tub.

The business climate was changing however. Increased competition from big-name retailers were making it harder for a specialty shop in a small town to survive. With my parents both starting to transition into retired life it was clear the family business would not grow into a life long career for me. Having started a family of my own by now, and with little demand for my particular set of skills in a small market, it was time for me to get a regular job.

Though the thought of returning to photography professionally was always in the back of my mind, for a long time it was waaay at the back. I did pick up a few wedding assignments in this time from people who knew me or heard through word of mouth that I was a photographer. I probably didn’t make a cent on any of them, but it did keep me in touch just enough to start looking at what was going on in the field. Being exposed to the works of wedding specialists like Jeff Ascough and Bambi Cantrell gave me a fresh take on what had seemed like a formulistic bread and butter field.

Their approach started influencing my own, not just in the field of wedding photography, but as a way of photographing people in general. Eventually the idea of returning to photography full time wasn't such a distant wistful thought and the ideas were churning. I sold off my medium format equipment, not just to go digital as is becoming the norm, but because it's important for me to bring the camera to the subject rather than the other way around. With a lot of planning and leg work, Evermore Photography was born.

I’m sure most would describe my general approach to wedding photography as "documentary", but to me that's just the start. It's a mistake to think that "documenting" means one's task is to produce a visual record of events with each image serving like an entry in a book keeper's ledger.

The greatest, most influential documentary photographs are the ones that don’t just serve as a record of something has happened, they make a statement about what it means. To create images like this you have to keep watching and keep thinking – sometimes the most significant images come out of the little moments that would usually pass unnoticed. Anyone can witness an event. It is my job to interpret them so that the images have meaning whether or not one was part of the event. That's why pressing the shutter to record the image is not the end, it's just a step in the process. To me the creative process doesn't end until everything is ready for final presentation. The ability to control every step of this process from beginning to end is immensely gratifying and gives me an advantage over photographers who routinely turn their work over to their clients half finished.

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247 Phipps St
Fort Erie, L2A 2V4  Canada
PH: 905 871 3259

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