John W. Williams

John W. Williams is a photographer working in central Arkansas, who documents the life around him, pursuing realism and detail.

Instagram: @jwwimages

How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

I was always making home movies and skate videos when I was younger so a camera has always been with me in one form or another. Then around fourteen I took a film photography course in middle school and immediately got hooked with analog photograph. 35mm to medium and large format to field cameras. I shoot mostly digital now because of the cost and accessibility, but I always have my 645 Pro or my 95B ready. I suppose my current style is influenced by photographers like Bruce Gilden, Martin Schoeller, Platon, Ryan McGinley, and I really dig what JR is doing now. Detail and sharpness is what I like. Flaws and scars: that's what really churns the butter for me. 

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

The arts are a very big part of the city I live in. It took a lot of work to take things in a more expressive, creative, and modern direction but there is a big revitalization for artist here. Only problem I have with it is the medium itself. A lot of “photographers” around now. I know that sounds really pretentious but sometimes it just hurts to see a person really passionate about his or her craft only to be overlooked by an Instagram filter or hashtag like#nofilters!

How do you choose your subjects?

Cliche answer: they choose me…But, really, if they have an interesting face and an interesting story then I just walk up, talk to them, and before you know it I am taking a photograph.

Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?

Bruce Gilden, Martin Schoeller, Platon, Ryan McGinley, and JR.

Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of? 

There is this place in town called Emergent Arts that is pretty hip, but mostly I am a solo act.

Where do you go to draw inspiration?

Mountains, hillsides, dirty alleyways, music venues. When I want to get inspiration I go to the woods far away from people and just walk around for a couple hours.

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

Do I feel creatively satisfied? No, never. I have a good friend that has a mantra of "Comfort kills Creativity." I kind of live by that. Never satisfied, never comfortable.