What’s your name?
My name is Jamie Drew, but it used to be Roberts, hence the Princess Bride reference in my Twitter name.
Where are you from?
I was born in Blackburn, a former industrial town in the North of England. From there I went up to Glasgow for university, back down to Newcastle after graduation, and right now I’m in London.
How old are you?
I’m 28 years old. 196 in dog years; 207 in koala.
What was your dream job as a child?
My mum likes to tell the story of when I went to the pantomime when I was a kid; a few of us were pulled up on stage and asked who we were, how old we were, etc., and what we wanted to be when we grew up.
The other kids, I don’t know, but I said I wanted to be a paleontologist. A man dressed as the fairy godmother didn’t know what that was. “What, are you stupid?” I asked him. He might have been stupid, I don’t know. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry, guy. I know you were just asking questions.
Anyway, I saw Jurassic Park and realised paleontology would just be brushing dirt off bones in the baking desert, so no thank you.
What is your lucky number?
I’m six months away from my birthday, so I hope it’s 29.
What is your favorite pizza?
I’m of the opinion that all pizza is good pizza, even if it’s bad pizza.
What’s your favorite time of the day?
You know when it gets to about three in the morning, and everything goes quiet except for maybe a couple of birds, when the whole city’s dark except for a few night owls leaving their lights on? Yeah, I hate that. I live in London. We have foxes here. They’re in their mating season right now, and foxes are so fucking loud.
I wish I was a morning person, but I’m a lifelong insomniac and it’s time to accept that that’s never going to happen. I like the evenings. Can I say evenings?
I’ll take what I can get, basically.
Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous?
A mix of both? When it comes to travelling around, I like to just kind of wander around and see what happens, except maybe for a couple of things I want to see. When it comes to my work, I like to know exactly what I’m doing but leave a little room for flexibility.
What drives your creativity?
How would you describe your photographic style?
“Loose.” I never learned any of this in any formal fashion. I’ve been doing it professionally for a couple of years, and I still feel like I’m making it up as I go.
I mean, I guess the thing that makes me good at what I do is my ability to connect with people, to make someone more comfortable in front of a camera. For portrait shoots, I spend at least half our time together hanging out, chatting, getting to know the person I’m shooting. It makes for better pictures and a day that’s more fun. If you’re going to make up a ridiculous non-job and say “this is what I do now”, it might as well be a fun one.
The technical stuff falls behind that, I think.
How many cameras do you own?
A couple of Canon DSLRs, a few relics I found at flea markets, and last year my grandpa found a couple of super-old 35mm point and shoots. Kurt Cobain collected cheap guitars; I have an affinity for shitty cameras.
I was very, very broke when I took up this hobby, so I’ve had a lot more old cameras I’ve had to fix up and sell on to buy groceries. I miss my Trip 35.
What is your typical shooting gear?
I swear I’ll upgrade to a full-frame soon, but right now I’m very attached to my Canon 60D with a 50mm f/1.8 attached. I just ordered one of those EF-S 24mm f/2.8 pancakes, too, which look amazing.
Best camera ever built?
I feel like I should have an answer to this, but I don’t. I don’t know. I used a Hasselblad last year and couldn’t get the hang of the viewfinder (I am… very dyspraxic), but the photos came out fantastic.
PC or Mac?
PC; I’m very much “Team Things You Can Take Apart And Modify, If You Want To”.
What is your post production workflow?
Make a folder with the template I’ve painstakingly organised in Post Haste; import and convert to DNG in Lightroom; RAW conversion and colour correction in Lightroom; Photoshop for the heavy lifting; back into Lightroom to keep everything organised; export; send to clients using Gdrive.
Natural light or flash?
Natural light where possible — I’m a documentary photographer at heart — but strobes and speedlights have their place, too. It depends on the shoot!
Black and white or color?
I tend towards colour, but sometimes you need a bit of monochrome in your life.
Portrait or horizontally?
Horizontal, probably too often.
Which is the most unnecessary trend in the field of photography?
I’ve been as guilty as anyone, and the work that VSCO, etc., do is fantastic, but I’d like to see less film emulation in my various timelines. They’re a good starting point for many pictures, but everything’s starting to look the same, you know?
I’ve made a conscious move away from this kind of thing over the last year or so. Personally, I don’t like deciding on the look of a photograph long after I’ve taken it.
What is success for you?
An enjoyable life. I’d like to be richer, I’d like to be more famous, but really, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, branch out more into more of what I want to do, and kind of see what happens.