DJ Cobalt 60: Why do you choose to express yourself creatively through photography?
Jacques Weyers: I’ve always been in love with the truth of pictures. They say what they mean without losing value in the interpretation of words.
DJ Cobalt 60: When did you first get into photography? Are you self-taught or did you study photography at all in school?
Jacques Weyers: I fell into photography after studying graphic design. I went to an academic school where the arts were overlooked.
DJ Cobalt 60: The last thing that inspired you?
Jacques Weyers: I was watching a movie called “Killing them Softly”. Its lighting and cinematography is beyond genius.
DJ Cobalt 60: What’s your set-up like? How has is evolved over the years? How much equipment do you typically bring to a shoot?
Jacques Weyers: I work off a no rules mentality and very rarely do anything technical twice. My shoot day can be comprised of no equipment to having every trick at my disposal depending on a client’s brief. I’m a huge believer in having it and not needing it rather than needing it and not having it.
DJ Cobalt 60: Digital is now the dominant photographic format within the industry. Is film dead at least as commercial and fashion photography is concerned? I almost unanimously hear from photographers that they only use digital on paid assignments.
Jacques Weyers: Absolutely digital is dominant, film however is most definitely not dead yet but after the few remaining old dudes like Bruce Webber who still shoot film are gone it most definitely will be. I recently shot an exhibition piece using film which was going to be hand printed but commercially it’s just not viable. Print processes have changed so much especially in the magazine world and methods such as film scanning are old and out dated and rarely yield good results.
DJ Cobalt 60: You’ve said before that if you want to do commercial photography well you have to think commercially and really understand the brands who commission work from you. At this point in your career have you settled into a style or are you still up for experimenting? Are you more selective about which clients you are willing to accept work from?
Jacques Weyers: In the past, being in SA I separated my personal style from my commercial style but as I’ve moved forward I decided to merge the two and stick to what I feel I do best, that’s obviously within reason. You can’t totally disregard a client’s brief. We live in a very small industry where you simply can’t be totally selective about the clients you work for unless you want to live with your parents forever.
DJ Cobalt 60: When you were first trying to get your foot in the door did you have the luxury of turning down assignments? If not do you think that forced you to try things you wouldn’t have?
Jacques Weyers: No absolutely not. I took what I could to get work and make money. Money gives you a means to try the things you normally wouldn’t, you can’t experiment on a job so you need to push yourself on your personal work and bring what you learn into your commercial work.
DJ Cobalt 60: You are one of only a few photographers who can say that they had the distinct privilege of having their worked featured in Sports Illustrated yearly Swimsuit Issue. That’s no small accomplishment in my opinion. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is one of those thing that is synonymous with commercial and fashion photography and modeling, almost if not on par with the Victoria Secret Angels, people who don’t even follow photography know about it or have heard about it. There is a certain legacy there that you have to live up to. Did you put a lot of pressure on yourself when you were presented with an opportunity to shoot for such a well-known brand?
Jacques Weyers: To be honest it’s just something that came very naturally and easily, without any pressure. I never considered it to be any kind of legacy just a fun job with amazing people.
DJ Cobalt 60: While we are on the subject of photographing models in swim wear I want to ask if you have any tips for photographers to help them stand out in such a popular field of photography. I sometimes feel swim wear is a sub-genre of fashion photography that gets taken for granted or doesn’t receive the respect it deserves. When done well it’s one of my favorite things to look at and I consider you one of the best photographers to ever do it.
Jacques Weyers: I appreciate that, thank you. My biggest advice is to concentrate on making the girls feel comfortable, don’t push them into positions that cross the overtly sexual line. That will come naturally when they trust you. Trust is your biggest weapon and it will show in your pictures. It’s very easy to overstep your power as a photographer especially accidentally, you can trust me when I say a girl will always feel your intention. In my opinion my best shots are with models I’ve photographed many times and that’s because I’ve won their trust.
DJ Cobalt 60: What is an image of yours that you believe best represents your style and aesthetic and what was the situation surrounding it?
Jacques Weyers: Hard question as I’d like to think they all do. If I have to choose one it would probably be a personal story for AFF I shot because of technical challenges. It consisted of light projections and required quiet a big set build. I shot it outside but had to make it look dark enough for the projections to have the right effect which meant I needed huge amounts of black out.
DJ Cobalt 60: Given the opportunity to photograph any person living or dead who would you choose?
Jacques Weyers: Jim Morrison, hands down.
MY DREAM CAMERA…Mamiya Rz67 with SLR auto-focus functionality and 50 and up pix back.
WHAT SEPARATES GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY FROM BAD PHOTOGRAPHY…nothing separates it. It’s in the eye of the beholder.
TOO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS…more photographers means a higher quality of work.
THE LAST TIME A PHOTO LEFT ME SPEECHLESS was when I came across the work of Jimmy Nelson.
MY IDEA OF SUCCESS is making a living loving what I do and never having to do a day’s work because of it.
DJ Cobalt 60: For people interested in your work or would like to learn more about you where can they go?
Jacques Weyers: Instagram: jacquesweyersstudio and of course my web site
Is there any you would like to thank who has either supported you throughout your career or been instrumental to your career?
Jacques Weyers: The list would be very long but at the top in equal order would be Aletha Carswell from Netsport, Chris Viljoen now at Spree and Bev Nates from Cosmopolitan and my agent Ingrid from AgencyBook.