Faith & Belief is an ongoing project by my photographically-gifted friend, Joseph John. He has been studying at London College of Communication in Elephant & Castle for the past year or two and has been a resident of South East London for the same amount of time. Back home we were close friends who were a few towns apart, up here the same is true but with a two minute walk between us. It’s great to be able to spend more time with somebody who has been such a supportive force (both creatively and psychologically) but who was always so far away in distance.
The fundamental concept of Joe’s latest work is the Church, its patrons and the various connections and ties that bring them together. This could be parishioners, vocal spirits in the community or even the priests themselves. In some circumstances there might be no ties at all. The focus of his inquiry lies in understanding religion, people and, most importantly, what is it that draws people towards religion? Furthermore, what is it that brings religion to people?
Joe has been doing photography for as long as I’ve known him, and the progression and evolution of his style has been very apparent. Starting with a digital SLR and doing mainly skateboarding and portrait photography, his approach to photography has become gradually more organic – I am a big fan of how he places and positions subjects within photographs – but he is also incredibly skilled at presenting a collection of images and photographs as a completed concept; that is, there will often be shots within projects that seem misplaced or anomalous at first, until you realise that the message is perhaps not as clear as you had once thought. His lateral approach towards even the most mundane subject matter allows him to create and form meanings in ways that not many other photographers I have met can.
I have taken a selection of photographs from his new tumblr page dedicated to the Faith & Belief project, but if you click through you will also find personal insights from Joe on the project, as well as interviews with people he has met and information on other aspects of his ongoing work. I would really recommend clicking through. He also lives just down the road from me and knows how to have a good time (oh yes) so maybe you’ll become subject matter in the coming months. We can only pray!