“I just love people, I think that goes back to why I love photography too, it’s a way to celebrate people, and to treasure them”.
Jackson Devereux finds human beings fascinating. He is intrigued by our life stories and trajectories. There are now close to eight billion of us on this planet, all so unique yet at the same time so similar. Jackson sees photography as a beautiful magic trick on the flow of time. The ability to capture a fleeting moment, allows him to appreciate how lucky we all are to be here. An opportunity to bottle the human spirit. For him, “photography is like hitting the pause button”.
Initially inspired by his family photo albums, Devereux first started shooting so he too could have a record of his experiences for when he’s old and grey. After being gifted his mother’s Minolta XG-1 towards the end of high school and tackling analog photo courses during university, film photography soon became a full-time hobby. Since then, he’s also added a Hasselblad 500 w/80mm lens and a Nikon 28ti to his arsenal.
“Why film…? I think the way it captures light is unparalleled, and I love the patience and extra thought that goes into each photo. It makes me work to find the right moments”.
Born and raised in Sydney, Jackson has called New York City home for many years. As a documentary filmmaker, Jackson spends his days immersed in strangers’ lives, which translates into his frames. “I think I am a voyeur, an observer, a people watcher”. In a place like the Big Apple, there are moments abound to point a camera at. Jackson always latches onto people. He looks for characters, those with an edge.
“I love playing pick-up basketball. There’s this kid who used to commentate games in Bushwick. He’s this tiny 13-year old dude who’d rep all these bright coloured durags. An amazing trash talker, so confident and hilarious…He nicknamed me the White Devil that day”.
Jackson is on the hunt for those a little bit out of the ordinary, those who impart wisdom and make him smile. He recalls a flight he took from New York to Maine some years ago whilst sat next to a friendly old gentleman. “No rain no rainbow he told me. It was the way he said it that stuck…like he’d been thinking on it himself a lot lately”.
Although his eye is trained heavily on homo sapiens, Jackson admits he’s “in a bit of a funk” with his photography right now. “I don’t really know what photos of my own I like anymore”. The pandemic has played a big part. Being trapped indoors sapped his thirst for interacting with shots he’d already developed. “I was shooting a bunch from my window in lockdown…but I want to get close to subjects, see the lines on their faces”.
Now the city is opening up, Devereux has set himself a summer goal, celebrating friendship and connection where both have been pushed to the brink. “I’ll start with portraiture of my pals in NY, taking record of people I know and championing them and the relationship we share”. It seems the Hasselblad will play a major role with Jackson keen to zoom in and really study his friends in fine detail.
Although travel seems a far cry for a lot of us, Jackson daydreams on trips past. Not too long ago, he was lucky enough to work on a documentary about Lebron James’ I Promise School. As an avid fan of hoops, this was literally a dream come true. During filming, Jackson not only forged closed bonds with the students but captured them gorgeously too.
Outside the U.S, he’s been lucky enough to shoot across foreign lands including Bolivia and The Caribbean (St Lucia, St Kitts, St Thomas). “The Caribbean is a special place, each and every island has its own distinct flavour”. When I ask about wishlist spots, he’s quick to mention Eastern Europe by the Black Sea and Japan. There’s also an idea floating around in his head about a photo series that contrasts the vast differences between Australiana and Americana cultures.
Until then, delve into the faces of people you’ve never met before. Taste the human spirit that Jackson captures ever so gracefully.