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Considered Q&A: Photographer Jamie Ferguson
Vintage Omega and photography with "the most talked-about photographer in fashion"
Described as “one of the most talked-about photographers in fashion” by Blamo!’s Jeremy Kirkland, my guest this week is the man behind the lens of @jkf_man — photographer and, more recently, author, Jamie Ferguson. His work has been prominently featured in publications such as WM Brown and Permanent Style, as well as in lookbooks and marketing for brands like Drake’s and Ralph Lauren.
Fresh off the heels of releasing his first book This Guy late last year, Jamie was kind enough to play along and answer a few of our questions regarding his work, his style, and, obviously, watches.
As someone directly in what I assume is the target market, This Guy hit all the right chords for me and, of course, I was happy to see a few watches prominently featured. Can you tell us about the process of creating each portrait within the book?
The idea behind the book was to show a kind of behind the scenes look at the lives of 20 guys who I think have really great style and accompany that with a little interview about them and how their experiences and philosophies have shaped them. I wanted a real mix of different styles, ages, and locations. In terms of the creation of the portraits for each guy, it was a really relaxed, candid, and casual shoot. Just me and them, exploring their neighbourhoods, having a chat and snapping away. I love working like that.
This may have to do with who you photograph but I notice more watches in your work than that of other menswear photographers. Do you pay any special attention to watches when shooting and selecting shots?
Full disclosure I was not really into watches in any kind of way when I first got into the industry. Slowly though, over time, I've started to appreciate them, especially vintage ones and more and more I find my eye drawn to them, if someone I'm shooting happens to be wearing an example I like. It's never really knowledge of the actual watch that draws me in, more of a gut instinct.
Do any particular watches or brands consistently pop up on the wrists of men you photograph? Why do you think these are popular?
I feel like I see a lot of Omega's and for what reason I can't quite say. It could be a number of reasons; I quite like a lot of their models and I think they're also a good starting point for anyone looking to get into the vintage watch market. I've also shot a few Patek Philippe Nautiluses, it being such a beautiful and clean, classic example.
Along the same lines, any wristwatches you can remember seeing while shooting that surprised you as unique?
I always loved that Michael Hill, the Creative Director at Drake's, would often wear a simple Swatch, usually in a bright colour. Recently, while at Pitti, I photographed Chase Winfrey's Bulova, which I thought was a beautiful watch and I loved that it was his grandfather's.
While, over the years, the main focus of your work has been the style of others, the subject of your recent Instagram posts is the man behind @jkf_man. What do you enjoy about sharing your personal style rather than that of others?
Haha! There's not much that I like sharing about my own personal style. I'd rather be behind the lens than in front but due to recent events I've been slightly limited with who I can shoot! That being said it has turned out to be quite fun shooting these and the aim behind them was to try and show a lighter side to menswear. Hopefully, that has come across and people have enjoyed them to a degree.
Do you put on a watch most days? What goes into that choice for you?
I do. Limitation is usually what goes into that choice! I've only really got one decent watch and luckily it goes with most of what I tend to wear.
What is your favorite watch you own and most admired watch you do not own?
My favourite watch I own is my vintage Omega WWW. I bought it when my son was born and the idea is to pass it to him when he is old enough. I'm a bit of a sucker for Omegass so I would love a Constellation Pie Pan but I also really like the Universal Genève Polerouter.
Image courtesy of Jamie Ferguson (@jkf_man)
This Guy: Portraits of Modern Men’s Style is available on Amazon or at many local retailers such as Space 519 in Chicago, where I bought my copy. You can follow Jamie’s work through his Instagram @jkf_man and website jkfman.com.
“One decent watch” and it’s an Omega “Dirty Dozen” WWW? Jamie knows the way to a vintage guy’s heart… or something like that. Anyway, let’s start there.
Image courtesy of ssongwatches.com
Right, this is not an Omega Dirty Dozen. Issued WWW examples from the brand are very hard to find and I refuse to recommend a subpar example. Rather, I suggest a similar civilian brother with a beautiful gilt dial like this one from S. Song to hold you over until another example emerges such as this one from experts in the space Finest Hour Timepieces over in London.
Taking a break from Omega, Jamie mentions an interest in one of the hottest vintage watches over the past three to five years, Universal’s Polerouter. As a long time admirer and student of the Polerouter’s many variants, I would like to bring a special example to your attention. Too many tropical dialed Polerouters are popping up with a perfect and even brown hue; my taste leans toward a watch that is uneven. With an uneven dial, one can actually tell that what is on your wrist is unique and no dial will appear just the same.
Image courtesy of mannabouttime.com
Offered by Robin Mann of London-based Mann About Time is this 1966 ref. 168.010 “Pie Pan” Constellation in stunning condition. While the dial shape is what makes the constellation product line stand out, the case and lug design is nothing to skim over. The design is well represented in this exceptionally sharp condition. With original beads of rice bracelet, box, and papers to boot, you might have to beat Jamie to the punch on this one if it strikes your fancy.
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