Photo of the Week 25 June 2013
This whimsy carnival ride image “Dream of Ferris” by John Gessner caught our eye and that’s why we’ve chosen it to win Photo of the Week this week. Find out why carnivals in North Carolina are near and dear to John’s heart, what message he wants you to take away from this image, and what other photography he enjoys.
What is your hometown?
My hometown now is Pinehurst, NC. I was born in Monroe, NY and spent many years working in NYC as an assistant and photographer.
What type of camera, gear, and equipment did you use to capture the shot? Do you have a title for this image?
The title of the image is ”Dream of Ferris.” I used a Canon 20D, Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens, and Lightroom to capture the shot.
Where was the image taken? What is it about this particular ride that inspired you to capture it?
I took this image at Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina. My aunt Betty Gessner was the president of The Orange County Fair. As a child she would show me around all the rides and games. The Ferris wheel was my favorite, because I learned that at an early age you could ride to the top and if you knew the operator he would stop up there for awhile so you could take pictures. I have met carnival owners that have passed through here in NC that remember my aunt from thirty years ago. I wanted to make an iconic image that would connect with everyone, something simple but also an image that many instantly have a memory or great feeling about. I shoot a lot of architectural and interiors so I guess I look at things most of the time through those glasses. When I took this image the park had just opened and there was no one around. I love the feeling I get when I find something that seems to be suspended in time. That area is known for strange natural anomalies, so you do get the feeling that there is something else at work there, the same feeling I get when I am in places like Stonehenge or Avebury, England.
What is your favorite part about carnivals and summer? What is the message or story that you wanted to convey with this image?
Carnivals and summer conjure up great feelings for many people about the magic of their childhood. There is a feeling of electricity and excitement. It is a bit of a surreal environment that exists in a space for a few days and then is gone. When I go into this space now I feel almost in a trance, hypnotized by the lights and sounds. It is not until I get back to the studio that I really get to see the images I have captured.
The message is that the magic is still there, all you have to do is look for it. It is hiding in plain sight.
What kind of photography do you enjoy shooting most both for professional and personal photography projects?
I really enjoy all the photography I work on either professionally or for personal projects. I feel really lucky to be doing something I have loved since I was about five years old. I shoot editorial, advertising and fine art photography for regional and national clients. I started professionally as an archaeological photographer and worked on a dig in Bath, England. Fascinated by the geometry of the ancient stone megaliths, I love photographing ruins of cultures long forgotten and shrouded in mystery. Currently, I am working on 3D portraits of musicians.
Who are some of your favorite photographers that you draw inspiration from?
I was lucky during my life to have known and worked for many great photographers like:
- Sir Don McCullin- He was a next door neighbor and friend of mine. A great inspiration.
- Marilyn Bridges- Also a neighbor and tremendous aerial photographer
- Hashi- I worked for Hashi Studio for nearly five years. He is the master of the action still life and one of the world’s greatest commercial photographers
- Jeff Botz- A great friend and Himalayan photographer
- Richard Avedon- He was friends with Hashi and he liked this image of mine http://www.flickr.com/photos/therealjohngessner/5438030296/
- Henri Cartier-Bresson-The one photographer on my list I did not know, but I love the way he anticipates a shot that has not fully manifested itself yet, but his innate sense of perfect framing and timing allowed him to capture these incredible split seconds in time.
We weren’t the only ones who loved John’s ferris wheel shot. The folks at *Jones Soda Label thought it was a perfect match for their Blue Bubblegum Soda. See the label with his image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/therealjohngessner/6078913922/.
Want to see more of John’s work? Stop by his portfolio site www.JOHNGESSNER.com, his Photo Serve site www.PhotoServe.com/john-gessner, or find him on Twitter, Flickr, or Instagram. Want even more Photo of the Week fun? Don’t miss this great article by PDN featuring previous Photo of the Week wins from John Gessner and our own contest: http://www.pdnonline.com/photo-source/Calumet-Sets-the-Bar-7590.shtml
Feeling inspired to submit your own image? Here’s how:
To be considered for Calumet Photographic’s Photo of the Week email us your best photo at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name, title of the photo, the city where you live, portfolio website and the gear you used to get the shot. Files should be saved at 72 dpi JPEG at least 1000 pixels on its longest edge. Please do not include a watermark, if chosen we will add one to your photo. By submitting your image, you’re granting Calumet unrestricted permission to publish it in our email, website and/or social media outlets. For the full details on what this entails, please read the legal terms.