Born and raised in the heart of Chicago, Jonathan Inthavong grew up with a curiosity for concrete jungles and the captivating individuals he saw on his daily commute through the city. Consequently, his main love and primary focus is street photography as he enjoys focusing on the ordinary lives of everyday people moving through the city. Currently residing on Portland, OR, Jonathan’s work had been featured in Portland’s local the Willamette Week and other local restaurant ads.
Q: Where are you from?
Jonathan Inthavong: I spent most of my time on the Northside of Chicago; neighborhoods such as West Ridge, Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, and the Loop
Q: How long have you been a photographer?
Jonathan Inthavong: I started taking pictures when I was in grade school but was not serious until this past year. Growing up, I created a habit of carrying my pocket camera, an old Cannon power shot, wherever I went. In college I got my hands on my first DLSR and took photos of different academic events. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Portland where my interest in photography magnified. Now I mainly shoot on my Fujifilm camera and have recently started learning and practicing more with shooting with film.
Q: What inspired you to start photographing?
Jonathan Inthavong: Growing up in neighborhoods of Chicago I would take public transit, skateboard, or bike to commute to school or meet with friends. My commute time varied from 30 minutes - 2 hours one way and through my commute I spent a lot of time people watching. I noticed when observing others going about their day I would ask myself several questions; Where are they going? What are they carrying? Why are they carrying that? Is there a reason they are dressed like that? Wonder why they look stressed, happy, sad, or angry. I wonder what they are listening to. What are they talking about? I wonder if they see me. All these questions and more firing in my head, then “Ka-Chick”!
Selfishly I shoot street photography because it grounds me. When I am out and about my mind is fully engaged to look for something that is ordinarily interesting. I shoot with feelings; and depending on my mood I can either sit back and wait for a subject to enter the frame, or I can rush up to someone and snap a photo.
Q: What does your creative process look like?
Jonathan Inthavong: I do not have a set artist process. I try to bring my camera everywhere I go. If I don’t have my camera, I might regret missing a shot. There are days where I’ll decide today is the day I’ll walk around the city and hope I can find something interesting. Sometimes I’ll put on some music and walk around. Other times I’ll just go without music just to be immersed in the environment. That’s what makes it so fun; it’s dynamic. No day spent shooting is ever the same.
Q: What’s the driving force behind your work?
Jonathan Inthavong: The driving force behind my work is my desire to capture a moment in time where you are left with a feeling of curiosity and wonder. I want the viewer to take a moment and really observe that person in the environment; empathise and relate with the subject.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
Jonathan Inthavong: It is only within this past year that I decided to share my pictures. I converted my personal Instagram account to focus solely on my photography. This year my goal is to create a website to sell my prints. Until then, if you want to see more of my work hit me up on the gram! @jonny_street_