Aucklander Josh Griggs gained a degree in Graphic Design before fully realising his true calling. Now in no doubt – Josh has been working full time as a photographer since the start of 2015. He primarily shoots food, coffee (ours) and portraiture, with a liberal sprinkling of interior and landscape work. His documentary based style favours natural light and simplicity, allowing him to focus on what’s in front of him. That focus helped when we spoke to Josh about his craft, his inspiration and how he’s building a life behind the lens.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got quite a few fingers in quite a few pies at the moment… It’s always a broad mix and it changes dramatically week to week. This week I’ve had a bit of magazine work come up so have been planning, shooting and editing that. I’m putting the finishing touches on a fantastic wedding I shot a couple of weeks ago. I’m also just mentally prepping for some major jobs I have coming up in the next couple of weeks - it’s always nice having the time to really think a shoot over. Next week will be a whole new mix of things.
A personal project documenting the Whangarei Men’s Shed
You had to make a choice between graphic design and photography?
Why did photography win?
While I was still doing Graphic Design I felt more like someone just fulfilling orders than actually having a creative outlet in which to create meaningful work. I found clients were much more likely to want change after change and wouldn’t really have the trust that things has been done like that for a reason. It just eventually wore me down a bit. With photography on the other hand my creative freedom is astronomically greater. Clients hire me because of my vision and not because I know how to use Creative Suite (design software).
Capturing the rugged beauty of Auckland’s West Coast
What’s your favourite thing to photograph?
Telling the stories around food. Yes, photographing the finished plate of food is important but I often find that there is so much backstory in that single dish that has gone untold. Being able to visually document the field to plate concept is something I get a massive kick out of. I have an ongoing personal project centred around bees and honey. I get into a beekeeper’s suit and document all of the different processes of keeping bees. The inner workings of a hive are something you never really get to see (without getting a face full of stings) so it’s fantastic having the chance to show some of the amazing hidden world of a beehive. It ends up being far more interesting than an image of some toast with honey on it I think.
Describe your favourite piece of clothing/art/technology.
I really love my RAINS Raincoat. It’s lightweight but acts as a good windproof layer and has kept me dry in some pretty horrible downpours.
How do you have your coffee?
Over the past few months I’ve really taken to soft brew coffee. I keep coming back to the Kokako Sidamo made with a V60 or Chemex. I also recently scored a Stanley Flask as a birthday present so have been making a full flask in the morning and enjoying it throughout the day – both in the office and out.
Who or what inspires you?
Making better images. Whenever I am really stoked about a photograph it gives me an big inspiration boost. Just the idea of creating images that are always better than the last keeps me fired up.
Complete this sentence ‘If I had a spare, guilt-free $1000, I’d…’
Last year my girlfriend and I took a week long trip to Tonga and the whole thing only cost us about $1000 each.. Best $1000 I’ve ever spent. I would easily repeat that trip – Tonga is utterly fantastic. We were only there for seven days but it felt like twice that – we had definitely adjusted to island time.
Josh’s girlfriend Winnie on holiday in Tonga
What should we expect next from Josh Griggs?
I’ve got a number of personal projects either underway or soon to be underway that I’m excited about. I’m really making a push for larger projects as well, both personal and commercial. Shooting a cookbook with emphasis on paddock to plate is something that I am very interested in. Like I was talking about before though the main goal is just continuing to hone my craft and constantly improve my photographs.