john fletcher feature - fletchjr photography

A Road Less Traveled – Our Q&A with John Fletcher of FletchJr Photography

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John “Fletch” Fletcher keeps busy.  Photography, acting, doing voice-overs, playing bass, dancing salsa, teaching English…the list goes on.  He studied film and video production in college at Notre Dame (and worked on the movie Rudy, which was shot on the campus). But he got away from his film roots for a while, working for years in the insurance industry.   Recently, he’s been focused more on the artistic side of life, and he’s currently working on making the world a little brighter, one image at a time.  He recently kindly agreed to answer some questions about what he’s up to (focusing on the photography bit, mostly–he has been selling fine art, travel, and astro-photography prints, as well as stock photography work, pictures for advertising campaigns, and portraits).  Here’s what he had to say.

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Photographer John Fletcher - SelfPortrait WM-8990-John “Fletch” Fletcher

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Date: June 19, 2019

Hometown and current town: I’m currently living in Valencia, Spain, but preparing to head back to Atlanta, GA, where I’ve lived for the last 20 years.

Occupation: With my current gig as an English teacher ending in Valencia, I would say my profession is transitioning more over to photography, acting/voice-over, and bass playing, probably in that order. Even though I have taught and performed salsa dancing in the past, I really consider that more of a hobby right now. I may eventually go back to teaching, but I really want to focus on the photography at this point in time with some side performance jobs.

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What’s your “elevator pitch” for your photography work?

I honestly don’t have one. I’ve been so busy taking photos that I really haven’t had time to work on one. I promise to have that and a fully functional website once I get back to Atlanta. I have a couple incredible friends up in Nashville, Dave and Paul Bregande, that I plan on working with to develop a strategy for marketing my work and talents.

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Who are your favorite photographers, either of the past, or working today?

I’d say the first name I learned about in photography was Ansel Adams, and I’ve always appreciated his amazing landscapes and use of light and shadow. I would love to be able to go back and watch his techniques for dodging and burning in the darkroom. I can only imagine what that was like compared to the process in Lightroom and Photoshop nowadays. I can’t say there is any one other photographer who is my favorite. Part of that is probably because I love to work in so many different types and styles of photography. I think Dan Brouillette does some cool environmental portraits and then there are many people I’ve found on Instagram that offer me inspiration daily, such as @steviekahn for nighttime cityscapes, @shanore for digitally composited images, @soosseli for wildlife, @stratigos.eu for black and white long exposure…the list goes on and on. I even have a friend from high school, @amy.gottlieb1, who has traveled the world and is amazing at taking environmental portraits of the people she meets along way.

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Made from 31 light frames with 15 dark frames by Starry Landscape Stacker 1.8.0. Algorithm: Min Horizon Noise Zermatt

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What is your favorite location to work?

I’d say I’m generally more comfortable outside; it really doesn’t matter too much where. But I do have to admit, bringing and utilizing the equipment for some of the shoots can be difficult when you’re shooting outside. Just last night, I had to carry my camera, a couple of high mm lenses, my tripod, and various other devices with me up a fairly steep mountain without a path just to get a shot of the strawberry moon coming up over the town where I’m staying. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend had to assist with lights and reflectors at a shoot we did for a new musical talent, Aliya and the New Andalus, at a castle in a town north of Valencia. The castle was on top of a mountain.

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What artists (photographers, or musicians, writers, visual artists, etc.) have influenced you the most?

Really too numerous to mention. I know earlier in my life, cinema influenced me greatly. I had dreams of being a director, cinematographer and/or special effects artist. That’s probably what’s drawn me to photography. It’s also what influences my interest in time-lapse photography and what are called cinemagraphs (still images with parts of them that move).

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John Fletcher - Fountain WM-8730Fountain

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Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere. I make sure I have at least one camera and lens with me on all of my trips. I often find myself running and grabbing a camera when I see something I really want to photograph. It might just be a little dragonfly by the side of a swimming pool. I often find myself looking at the sky and figuring out when and where the sun will be setting or where the moon will be coming up and where I can get the best shot of that. The more I’ve been doing portrait photography and working with people in my images, the more I find great inspiration in that collaboration. I love getting shots of people caught in a conversation or singing and dancing to music. I love hearing other people’s ideas of what they’d like to see or how they’d like to be photographed and then making that happen. Having subjects with certain interests or special talents and capturing that can be very inspiring.

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John Fletcher - Sahara WM-5691-
Sahara

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What is a book everyone should read about photography?

I honestly can’t think of one. There are so many types of photography that I can’t say there’s one book everyone who does it needs to read. I would say that you should spend time researching the type of things you want to do so that you know technically how things can and are executed. Not that you have to follow that exactly, but I guess it’s one of those things where it helps to know the rules so you can break the rules. Understanding how to use your camera in manual mode is huge. Again, you don’t have to shoot that way all the time, but understanding manual mode means you know the exposure triangle. Every photograph relies on a balance of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture size, and then adding in a flash compounds that. So if you see a certain thing you like such as a shot of a waterfall with really blurry looking water or you see a picture of the milky way you really like, google it, look it up, research it, and learn how different people have achieved those things. And get out and shoot!!! Everything’s digital now (unless you still want to shoot on film). You can shoot as many photos as you like and experiment as much as you like. You don’t have to have a darkroom to develop and print stuff anymore either. It can be very hands-on, and you can do everything on your computer.

What is a book everyone should read not about photography?

Again, it’s tough for me to name something specific. Something connected to what you want to shoot, even if loosely so.

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John Fletcher - Asturias pano WM-1058-1058Asturias Pano

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What is your favorite movie?

It’s not any sort of art masterpiece, but Raiders of the Lost Ark has got to be way up on that list, if not the top. I assume that has to do with my age and when it first came out. It was pretty much “the” movie when I was really getting into cinema and making my own movies when I was a kid.

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John Fletcher - Aliya WM-9453Aliya

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What is the best advice you’ve been given?

“Just get out and shoot.” Too many people buy a camera and maybe even some lenses, and they never really use them. Or they just break them out once a year or something like that. 

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What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I think a lot of people who know me from one thing I do don’t really know about the other things I do.  I don’t know if I just don’t talk about myself enough, or maybe it’s my more introverted nature.  People who know me from salsa probably don’t know I’m a photographer.  People who know me from photography don’t necessarily know I act.  People who know me through acting don’t know I play bass, etc.  If you follow me closely and over a long period of time on Facebook, you might know.  Obviously if you’re my good friend, you know, but I think most people don’t know the variety of things I enjoy doing.

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John Fletcher - Moon WM-2526-Moon

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What is the best or the worst thing that has happened to you this week?

I’d say the best thing is getting to stay at a friend’s house in a small town south of Valencia called Corbera.  We had to move out of our apartment prior to moving back to Atlanta because our lease ran out before our flights home.  A friend offered to let us stay at their place, and it’s amazing.  There are orange groves surrounding us where we can pick fresh oranges anytime we want, and there are hens out back laying fresh eggs daily.  It’s so peaceful here after being in more of a city environment for the last year and a half or so.

That sounds lovely! If you could go back in time and do something over, what would it be?

There’s not much I’d change because I think I’d lose too many good things by changing others, like people I’ve met along my journey. That said, I’d probably have worked more on learning a new language earlier in my life. I also wish I’d purchased a DSLR camera sooner.

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John Fletcher - Elisa WM-9709-Elisa

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One last question: Is there anything else you’d like to pitch, promote, or discuss?

Not right now.  Just please check out my Instagram @fletchjrphotography and my FB page FletchJr Photography, and let me know if you’d like a print of any of my work or if you’d like to collaborate on a project.  I’ll be posting information on Facebook and Instagram once my website is up and working.

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com

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IMAGE CREDITS

All images courtesy of John Fletcher and FletchJr Photography

John Fletcher - Milky Way Mora WM-1952-2Milky Way Mora

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Other Q&As by Laura LaVelle

Alexi Auld, author

Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director, Historic Districts Council

* Eric Bennett, author

*Lydia Bourne, Rastrello

Victor Calise, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Alexander Campos, Executive Director, Center for Book Arts

Mark Cheever, Friends of Hudson River Park

Yvonne Chu, Kimera Design

*Claudia Connor, International Institute of Connecticut

Sarah Cox, Write A House

Betsy Crapps, founder of Mom Prom

Cynthia Davis, Our Woven Community

Margaret Dorsey, anthropologist

Mamady Doumbouya, Jonathan Halloran, & Robert Hornsby, founders of American Homebuilders of West Africa

Wendy Dutwin, Limelight Media

Kinsey Dyckman, Board Member, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

Rhonda Eleish & Edie van Breems, interior designers

Martha Albertson Fineman, law professor

Christopher Fowler, author

*Guy Fraser-Sampson, author

Bob Freeman, Committee on Open Government

Les Friedman, Mikey’s Way Foundation

Alex Gaudelet, INVEST HOSPITALITY

Carrie Goldberg, internet privacy and sexual consent attorney

Dr. Ramis Gheith, pain management physician

Alex Gruhin, co-founder of Nightcap Riot

Leslie Green Guilbault, artist, potter

Garnet Heraman, brand strategist for Karina Dresses, serial entrepreneur

Bill Harley, children’s entertainer and storyteller

Meredith Sorin Horsford, Executive Director, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

Margaret Pritchard Houston, author and youth worker

Camilla Huey, artist, designer

Michelle Jenab, anti-racism activist

Dr. Brett Jarrell & Dr. Walter Neto, founders of Biovita

Beth Johnson, Townsend Press editor

Mahanth Joishy, founder of United States – India Monitor

Alexandra Kennedy,  Executive Director, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Jim Knable, playwright and musician

Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art & Antiquities for NYC Parks Department

Elizabeth Larison, Director of Programs for apexart

Ann Lawrence, Co-Founder of Pink51

Jessica Lee, dancer, Sable Project Administrator

Najaam Lee, artist and sickle cell advocate

Devoney Looser, English professor

Chris Mallin, theorem painting teacher

Melanie Marks, CT House Histories

Anthony Monaghan, documentary filmmaker

Ellie Montazeri, Tunisian towel manufacturer

Heather-Marie Montilla, Executive Director, Pequot Library

* Lorin Morgan-Richards, author

Yurika Nakazono, rainwear designer, Terra New York

Jibrail Nor, drummer

Nick Page, composer, song leader, conductor

Craig Pomranz, cabaret singer, children’s book author

Alice Quinn, Executive Director, Poetry Society of America

Ryan Ringholz, children’s shoe designer, Plae Shoes

*Carrie Roble, Park Over Plastic / Hudson River Park Trust

Alanna Rutherford, Board Member, Andrew Glover Youth Program

Deborah Ryan & Frank Vagnone, Historic House Anarchists

Steve Sandberg, musician

Bill Sanderson, author, reporter, and editor

Lawrence Schwartzwald, photographer

Rose Servitova, author

* Lisa Shaub, milliner

Marjorie Silver, law professor

Peter Sís, writer and illustrator

Charlotte Smith, blogger, At Charlotte’s House

Patrick Smith, author and pilot

Juliet Sorensen, law professor

Jeffrey Sumber, psychotherapist and author

Diana Swartz, Liger Leadership Academy

Rich Tafel, life coach and Swedenborgian minister

*Jonathan Todres, law professor

Andra Tomsa, creator of SPARE app

Maggie Topkis, mystery fiction publisher

Pauline Turley, Irish Arts Center

Vickie Volpano, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut

Carol Ward, Executive Director, Morris-Jumel Mansion

Krissa Watry, Dynepic & iOKids

Adamu Waziri, creator of children’s television program Bino and Fino

Ekow Yankah, law professor

Brigit Young, author

 

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