Q&A with the Portrait King: Jeff Isy
Jeff Isy was born and raised on the little African island, Mauritius, before moving to Canada in 2009. He speaks three languages, French, Creole and English. But perhaps the best way he expresses himself is behind the camera lens. Jeff has nailed the art of the portrait. His striking feed of overhead portraits of women has attracted a following of over 80,000 followers!
We catch up with Jeff and find out what brands he has worked with and his advice for upcoming photographers.
Why did you first pick up the camera?
I started taking pictures in Grade 11. I was doing it just for the art credit, I didn’t know that I was going to love it that much.
When did you realize your own talent?
Honestly, I did it because I just enjoyed it. I just loved how you could create basically anything. It’s like an escape from reality. My high school teacher is the one who encouraged me and told me that I was good at it so that’s probably when I realized that I was good at it.
I’m sure every girl wants to be shot by you, so how do you choose your subjects?
I normally choose them based on my taste and preferences. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a huge fan of eyes and want them to be the focus. I feel like the eyes are everything in an image, especially in a portrait. It sets the mood and emotion. It tells a story.
When did you realize photography could be a career option?
When I started receiving DMs and emails from companies wanting me to photograph their products. And also, when people started asking me for my rates and asking how to book a shoot with me.
Were you ever discouraged?
Yes, plenty of times.. that’s a part of life. I can either quit and let all my hard work go to waste or keep going to achieve the goals that I set.
What are some clients you’ve worked with?
I’ve worked with MVMT Watches, Casamigos Tequila, Pura Vida Bracelets, Brandy Melville Canada, STLO, and many more.
Some say that Instagram takes away the novelty of being a professional photographer, what are your thoughts on that?
I think Instagram is a great tool for people to connect, get inspired and to inspire others. I honestly don’t think it takes away much. I say it depends on who uses it. Everyone is different.
You recently started the page @humannatureproject. What inspired this project?
I started It’s Human Nature Project because nowadays everything seem to be all about sex and stuff. And I wanted to take it out of the map and create something beautiful, something that’s natural and has meaning. I love the human body. It’s so beautiful. From the spine to every single bones, shoulder blades, rips, and etc… It’s beautiful and if you think of it, it’s natural…it’s human nature. So combining the human body with nature was perfect for this series.
Any advice for aspiring photographers?
Hard work – Don’t expect to be good right away. You’ll need dedication, commitment and patience. Some of the greatest photographers out there didn’t learn what they know in just one day. They learned with time. They experienced, they failed and then continued trying. Be kind/nice to people. The photography industry might look big but honestly it’s so small and everybody knows each other. So keep your reputation clean. Do it because you love it and for nothing else. Do what you love always. This will reflect on your images.
See more of Jeff’s work here.