Jonathan Leder is an enigma. He is kind of the king of low tech, without really trying. Or at least, I don’t think that was his intention. He dabbled in photography at about 15 years old, but it wasn’t until about 24 when he returned from Europe that he started working in an offshoot of the industry, shoot production, working for Steven Klein and eventually his agency. And did that for 10 years, where he was exposed to a lot of fashion photography.
Jonathan Leder – Specialize!
He says he did learn one thing very important: choose your path, and stick with it. All the greats, from Bruce Weber to Ellen von Unwerth had one thing in common. They chose a specialty,… a look,… and never varied from it.
He didn’t start shooting until about 2006! He was shooting with 35mm film and a Canon Pellix! Never heard of a Pellix? Look it up. You can’t get much more low tech than that. Even his latest images were from his Polaroid Big Shot! He has always used film or Polaroid, and it has become what he is known for. Fact is, you can only focus a Polaroid Big Shot with your feet. But he seems to coax the most sensuous of images from it. A sort of retro eroticism. Enough to have a show and produce a book.
City to Country Life
While he lived in NYC, (Brooklyn), for a while, even starting a publication, Jacques Magazine, it wasn’t until he moved to Woodstock that he began his great body of work in 2011. On Polaroids, and with various old cameras, he’s managed to develop his low tech style of erotic romanticism that rules to this day.
A True Low Tech Hero
However, behind every great artist is a woman. In this case, it’s Amy Hood, who helps with his shoots, is his muse, and keeps it real away from the party central of NYC. But it’s his almost intentional amateur process that’s made him a star. A true low tech hero! Like my last story on Ren Hang, you can see it’s not the equipment, but the artist. Find Canon Pellix or Find Polaroid Big Shot