TBS spoke with the keen photographic eyes of @jack_palma to discuss his process, policy and his love of nature – unfiltered.
TBS: Your Instagram pics are fabulous. If you found out, though, that you could only save three, which three pics would you save?
Well, there’s a trend I’ve noticed where my personal favourite photos are the photos that nobody really likes, so perhaps my taste is a bit subpar! But these ones are a few of my favourites from the past year travelling on the west coast of USA and around Wollongong.
TBS: Can you please tell The Big Smoke readers a little bit about yourself, and how @jack_palma came to be?
JP: My name is Jack Palma, I’m 22 and currently writing my thesis on environmental science at UOW. I started taking photographs on disposable cameras when I was around 10 years old whenever I visited my brother in Sydney. I had an early obsession with aeroplanes, and what better way to relive those moments of happiness when the planes flew over his place than to take photos, right? I then started doing a lot of long exposure photography such as star trails, which gave me a real appreciation for the process, as well as satisfying that urge to get out of the house. Photography has been pretty close to my heart for a long time now and it still feels just as “new” as when I started.
A couple of years ago I got really into hiking around the Illawarra. The Illawarra is a visually stunning area and I’ve been exploring the nooks and crannies hidden in familiar places. Photographing the outdoors was a natural marriage of two of my biggest loves. I’ve also been lucky to have had the chance to travel around North America a bit in the past year so that has allowed me to hone my skills and find my style. Photography still excites the hell out of me, and more than ever I’m keen to experiment with different styles, techniques, and subjects. Lately, I’ve been taking inspiration from photographers such as @withhearts, @franventer, and @thomas_prior.
InstaMoments: What do you think is the main reason people follow your Instagram?
I’m not sure! There’s something real special about those fleeting moments where the planets align, and the place you’re walking in can feel like pure magic. More than anything I love creating images that can put people in that moment. I guess there’s a bit of escapism in what I’m sharing both on a personal level and perhaps for the viewer. But as well as that, I also try to communicate a feeling of calmness in an image because when I’m taking these photos is when I’m at my happiest and most content. I suppose I’m just trying to get others in on what I was feeling at the time and I think people can maybe identify with that. On a practical level, I think these photos can help motivate people to go on their own little adventures to pursue that feeling. I think that’s what keeps me doing pursuing photography and I think that’s why people might follow me. But who knows! Instagram can be a fickle beast.
InstaStories: What is the main story you like to tell through your images?
I’ve got fairly strong ties to the ocean from growing up in Wollongong, so it seems to be a recurring theme throughout my images. But if there’s a message or story I’d like to communicate, it would be about being accountable when you’re out in nature. If you’ve gotta stomp on a plant, or break off the branch of a tree just to get a photo, then maybe that photo isn’t worth getting. We have the ability to affect the environment in large and irreversible ways so I think it’s best to avoid doing that as much as possible.
Instafans: What is the worst way for someone to try and get your attention on Instagram, and what is the best way?
The best way is to send me a direct message! I don’t bite. I try to reply to everyone who takes the time to comment or message. I have a strong passion for the environment and for both the technical and artistic aspects of photography so I always love talking about it. As for the worst way, well, asking for a follow is always a bit lame. I’m not a huge fan of viewing social media as a currency, which is what that reminds me of.