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Lucas Jones Social Media Documentary Photographer

This month, you will notice that the issue’s web pages are adorned with the colourful results of the Bee in the City trail. The images are courtesy of Lucas Jones, a photographer who has embraced social media as a documentary platform for images that capture vistas, vernaculars, lines of view and scenic moods – a collection of which are featured on this page.

Using his personal account as a personal diary, Jones uses photography as a biographical tool to store memories in visual form, as well as to hone a discipline that can be of value to others. Through the social media platform of Instagram, he aims to pursue an artistic excellence whilst making it an everyday form. Lucas spoke to us about Instagram, punks and framing the Bee in the City trail.

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What is your earliest memory of photography and what made you pursue it more actively?

I grew up in a house filled with photo albums. My parents were punks back in their youth and it seems were also the principal photographers in their circle of friends. These albums, spanning from the mid-70s to the late 90s, chart the rise and fall of a whole subculture – coincidentally the most visually awesome one of the whole century. I often looked through them and even as a child realised that these were valuable social documents and treasured records of their early life. All I have done photographically since then has been to try and achieve that same goal: a record of who I am and where I am going.

What attracted you to Instagram as an outlet and have you shared your images by other means?

I more or less fell into Instagram years ago – just as a social media tool, without any motivations for ‘publicising’ myself or my work. However, I am at the age of transitions, where individuals come and go quickly, so I found myself running into old friends who had kept tabs on me through my Instagram account. They always said how stunning this picture was or how heartfelt that caption was. I see such friends more often now and carry around a disposable camera always. I take their pictures when we go out together and then always give them the picture as a memory.

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Do you set out with themes in mind or is it more a spontaneous urge to capture moments and then later assemble for social media?

My rule is always to ‘slow down’. Even before heading out to photograph or before taking a picture, take your time, understand the surroundings and, above all, visualise. The camera is the tool to capture the moment, but you’ve got to ‘spot’ it first – and I don’t believe you can do that with your eye permanently stuck to the viewfinder. You see a photograph before you take it – don’t be fooled and believe spontaneity is the soul of truth in photography. Any photograph I put out will always say what I wanted it to.

What catches your eye with other Instagram accounts?

Most of my friends from college and university are photographers so I am naturally biased to their Instagram accounts, which I envy tremendously. Whilst I often focus on form or personal ideas of what is worth photographing, they all have a great grasp for narrative and it shows in their accounts. One friend in particular travels a lot to the Far East, which means his speciality is travel photography – which is also another favourite genre of Instagram accounts – charting exotic and thrilling landscapes.

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How did you go about framing the Bee in the City trail?

I knew that the bees had two qualities I wanted to put across: first of all, their individual beauty and designs, and secondly the response they have drawn from the people of Manchester. In this selection of images, you’ll see some close-ups of the detailed and sometimes lustrous qualities of the bees; you’ll also see the ways in which they literally fit into the social landscape and the physical space they operate in as art pieces – which called for a wider view. It is always important to step back and admire the gravity of someone else’s art. As you can see, the bees attract some impressive crowds.

What are your aims for your photography?

I simply want my photography to remind me where I was and what I was doing; and hope that it was worth it.

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