Monthly Archives: March 2012

QLD AIPP Wedding Photographer of the Year

Well, last night was crazy. The AIPP – Australian Institute for Professional Photography hosted its yearly award gala here in Brisbane and I was there with Jacqui and some of my friends. I like awards, not because they’re a measure of greatness, but it’s nice to do something different now and then. Creating great prints is a craft and something I’m still very much learning. I like sitting in my studio working with photoshop, printing on nice paper, correcting, fiddling, printing again until you have a print you’re happy with.

Last year I won the QLD AIPP Wedding Album of the Year for the album I created for Nick and Surya, a result I was over the moon with. I also managed to come runner up as wedding photographer of the year behind my good buddy, Todd.

This year I entered four wedding images and an album. I’ve learned no to expect too much, the competition is extremely fierce and the judging is tough.

I had a pretty shit day leading up to the gala to be honest. First my plane was cancelled and then delayed again from Sydney and then I got stuck in traffic trying to get home to suit up for the night. Having shot two weddings, 30 hours, on Saturday and Sunday also added to the pain. We arrived late, sat down and almost immediately they started announcing awards. My main man, Todd, managed to snatch Wedding Album of the Year with an amazing entry, I came runner up. The next one up was for the Highest Scoring Print out of all entries and I almost fell off the chair when they announced I had won it. I honestly couldn’t believe it.

When they were about to announce Wedding Photographer of the Year, I think my heart stopped for a second. When they said “and the winner is…Jonas Peterson”, I blacked out.

The last award of the night is the big kahuna – Professional Photographer of the Year.

All the category winners are judged against each other and an overall winner is picked. Standing on the podium I looked around, some of the finest photographers in the country were standing next to me and I looked at them to check their reaction when one of their names would be called out as the Grand Prize Winner.

When my name was announced instead, I knew I was dreaming.

The rest of the night is a blur infused by champagne and high fives and I’m feeling it today.

QLD AIPP Highest Scoring Print
QLD AIPP Wedding Album of the Year R/U 
QLD AIPP Wedding Photographer of the Year
QLD AIPP Professional Photographer of the Year.

Jonas Peterson.


I can only share one image for now since the album, the highest scoring print and two other prints are being entered into other awards.
This one won a silver distinction at 88. You can view it large here.

March 27, 2012 - 12:49 pm

Erik Clausen - First.

March 27, 2012 - 12:50 pm

mike - Congratulations bro. You deserve it.

March 27, 2012 - 12:50 pm

Erik Clausen - But for real, that image deserves every bit of accolades it gets. I stands alone as my favorite image I have ever seen you produce. And you sir, deserve it as well. Bravo.

March 27, 2012 - 12:52 pm

Luisa Brimble - congratulations mr peterson!

March 27, 2012 - 12:52 pm

mike - ^ What Erik said. It looks like something out of a museum.

But it’s real.

Which is insane.

March 27, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Scout - fantastic news!!

well done buddy ;)

March 27, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Karalee - Phenomenal work, Jonas. Well deserved, congratulations!

March 27, 2012 - 12:56 pm

Oli Sansom - Amazing image, & well deserved… congrats.

March 27, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Dee Shepherd - Big kudos to you Jonas. Simply amazing!

March 27, 2012 - 1:02 pm

Curtis Wiklund - Congratulations Jonas. I am a fan from afar.

March 27, 2012 - 1:04 pm

Derek Ho - Congratulations Jonas. Really love your work.

March 27, 2012 - 1:04 pm

Matt - Congratulations, Jonas. I’m always amazed by your work and the awards just cement what everyone else was already thinking!

March 27, 2012 - 1:08 pm

Bryan - Congratulations! The image above is just amazing.

March 27, 2012 - 1:08 pm

Tenielle - Truly well done and deserved.

March 27, 2012 - 1:09 pm

Josie - Are we surprised? You are after all one of the most widely followed wedding photographers in the world, and deservedly so. You’ve been a wonderful fresh face to the industry. I’m only surprised it has taken AIPP this long to give you this award :)

March 27, 2012 - 1:10 pm

chris prestidge - well done jonas, you deserve it, what an milestone from one industry to the next!

March 27, 2012 - 1:12 pm

Andrew - Well done Jonas, hangovers pass so it was all worth it!

March 27, 2012 - 1:25 pm

Matt - Well done, much deserved. You’re a great spokesperson for Australian Photography. Hats off to you. ;o)

March 27, 2012 - 1:25 pm

Jennifer Blair - Congrats! You deserve it for sure!

March 27, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Ian Baugh - Congratulations Jonas!

March 27, 2012 - 1:34 pm

Erik F - Well done! Well earned! Congrats!!

March 27, 2012 - 1:36 pm

Mike Fiechtner - Congrats Jonas! Well deserved!

March 27, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Iblinc - Congratulations from across the ditch Jonas. I’m not surprised by this award and well deserved too. You have set a standard that many others can only dream of achieving.

March 27, 2012 - 1:53 pm

kati - i give that one 100

March 27, 2012 - 1:55 pm

Mattias - Congrats from a fellow Swede!

March 27, 2012 - 2:17 pm

Hailey - Can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. You’re still my favorite wedding photographer. Thanks for inspiring, again and again.

March 27, 2012 - 2:30 pm

Steph D - Wonderfully deserved, consistently magic work Jonas.

March 27, 2012 - 3:18 pm

liz arcus - You so very much deserve this Jonas, and after all that happening in the days leading up to the awards, i imagine that it is all a big blur, but big happy blur …. Congratulations !

March 27, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Manel Tamayo - The best every year !!! Congrats from Barcelona !!!

March 27, 2012 - 4:33 pm

Melanie - STORT grattis Jonas! Du har alltid varit en fantastisk fotograf så det var ett välförtjänt pris! Efter ha följt din blogg ända från dina St Kilda dagar är det roligt att se att du verkar ha hittat precis rätt.

March 27, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Anna - Grattis grattis grattis!

March 27, 2012 - 5:04 pm

Matt - Wow! What a stunning shot- the composition and lighting are perfect!

March 27, 2012 - 5:15 pm
March 27, 2012 - 5:15 pm

Amelia Rhea - That is one amazing photo, when I think of you and your work I always remember this particular one. =)
Congratulations!!! Enjoy it!

March 27, 2012 - 5:23 pm

Annelie - Grattis Jonas! Du ÄR ju bäst!

March 27, 2012 - 5:27 pm

Az - I absolutely love this shot!
Well done Jonas……I’m not surprised that you’ve won.

March 27, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Emily Adamson - well done Jonas, well deserved for all your hard work and talent. still inspiring :)

March 27, 2012 - 5:41 pm

emma - A huge smile and emotional-watery eyes overcame me as I read this. Very fricken awesome and I’m really happy for you Jonas – CONGRATULATIONS in all its enormity… em

March 27, 2012 - 6:06 pm

Anders - Grattis!;)

March 27, 2012 - 6:11 pm

Madeleine - Stort grattis! You are so deserving of this!

March 27, 2012 - 6:17 pm

matthew morgan - you’re so humbly appreciative. i really admire that about you Jonas. you have worked so tirelessly these last number of years taking care of your clients, capturing some stellar imagery, all the while continually sharpening your craft; it’s beautiful to see and i’m proud of you. cheers.

March 27, 2012 - 6:24 pm

Joachim - Kan bara instämma med föregående talare……Congratulations Jonas!

March 27, 2012 - 6:57 pm

Jeanette - Grattis! Det är du verkligen värd.

March 27, 2012 - 7:17 pm

Felicity - Felicitations to you, our dear and inspired friend, Jonas – It’s truly wonderful that you have some solid recognition within an Industry that is nothing like Advertising, hey! Cheers to you, from all the Tuckers.oxox

March 27, 2012 - 7:40 pm

Kim - Wow! Congrats!

March 27, 2012 - 7:41 pm

Pernilla S - G r a t t i s – du är bäst!
C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s – you’re the best!

March 27, 2012 - 7:42 pm

Anonymous - G r a t t i s – du är bäst!
C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s – you’re the best!

March 27, 2012 - 7:46 pm

Kirsty - Hearty congratulations Jonas…very well deserved!

March 27, 2012 - 7:59 pm

Martins Kikulis - Congrats Jonas!

March 27, 2012 - 8:24 pm

Sara - Grattis!

March 27, 2012 - 8:27 pm

Fotograf MissJeni - Congratulations Jonas, you are so worth it! And it gives me inspiration that I might one day win a similar prize. Somewhere. Sometime.

You rock!

March 27, 2012 - 10:38 pm

Anonymous - Wow what an amazing night you had! A big congratulations. Well deserved.

March 27, 2012 - 11:38 pm

Mario - Congrats. Well deserved.

March 28, 2012 - 12:25 am

kelly @ Boho Weddings - Congratulations Jonas and toatlly well deserved! xx

March 28, 2012 - 12:30 am

magda lukas - congratulations Jonas!!Well deserved!

March 28, 2012 - 1:50 am

Rob - Congrat! That’s great stuff.

March 28, 2012 - 2:46 am

Audrey - I am not surprised at all. You rock. Congratulations.

March 28, 2012 - 3:41 am

Dan Oksnevad - Brilliant work, Jonas. Well deserved awards. You are an inspiration.

March 28, 2012 - 7:01 am

Doug Palme Photography - WOW! Love the lighting Jonas. Just out of curiosity, how much post production work do you do on the images?

March 28, 2012 - 7:20 am

Yann - Well, I only have two words : deserved & champagne !

March 28, 2012 - 10:11 am

MItra - Flowers, champagne, or as we put it; antipasti, prosecco e TANTISSIMI AUGURI SEI GRANDE!!! =) =) =)

March 28, 2012 - 10:20 am

Kim - A huge congratulations to you. Such an honour and well deserved. Your work is amazing and it is so inspiring.

March 28, 2012 - 10:30 am

Mary Sylvia - Congratulations! Deserved 100%.

March 28, 2012 - 3:37 pm

Hanna - wow!! jättestort grattis!! vilken ära!
du har gjort dig väl förtjänt av den dock :)

March 28, 2012 - 3:45 pm

Marcus Bell - Truly a great achievement and very well deserved Jonas. The images really stood out when hanging on the walls amongst all the other prints.
There’s an old saying “You always get back what you put in” and with the photography industry that is very true. These accolades prove that statement and is a great testament to you as a photographer and a person. Congrats, Marcus

March 28, 2012 - 3:50 pm

Kyle - Congratulations Jonas, so well deserved.

March 28, 2012 - 4:02 pm

Jakub - Bananas indeed! Well done Jonas.

March 29, 2012 - 12:28 am

Chris Parker - Spectacular lighting and composition. Love it.

March 29, 2012 - 3:36 am

Anni - Congrats, Jonas! I truly can’t think of anyone who deserves it more at this moment.

March 29, 2012 - 4:57 am

Malin - Jag Ä L S K A R den här bilden. Antagligen det finaste jag har sett.

March 29, 2012 - 8:43 am

Bec - Wowsa!! You seem to go from high to higher with everything you do. So inspiring and well done.

March 29, 2012 - 11:32 am

Natalie Champa Jennings - Congratulations! Your work is an inspiration!

March 29, 2012 - 3:43 pm

Kepa López - Congratulations. Well deserved. I really love your work

March 29, 2012 - 10:17 pm

Johanna - WOW!! Vad häftigt, och så oerhört välförtjänt! Stort stort grattis.

March 30, 2012 - 7:13 pm

Rob Dunning - Congratulations Jonas, a fantastic but well deserved achievement :)

March 31, 2012 - 12:02 am

Markus Axelsson - One of my favorite images on your site. Beautiful in so many ways.

Your images really brings something new to the business.

March 31, 2012 - 3:28 am

Christine - Absolutely not surprised! Your work in fantastic, you are amazing!

March 31, 2012 - 3:37 am

Teresa I Westlund - So, I guess we booked the right man for our wedding :-)
Warm Congratulations!


March 31, 2012 - 7:44 am

Trish O'Brien - Congratulations on a brilliant success, I couldn’t agree more with the judges decision. You area an inspiration to all photographers and a wonderful artist!

March 31, 2012 - 7:09 pm

Nick Lance - Congratulations Jonas, well deserved! Love your work :)

March 31, 2012 - 10:57 pm

Helena - Grattis Jonas!!!

April 1, 2012 - 12:01 am

Adrian Bonet - Great light!

April 1, 2012 - 12:39 pm

Ilkka K - Wonderful work — truly well deserved. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. — I

April 2, 2012 - 10:35 am

maria - jonas, you deserve this. your work is incredible. i have to say, i’m not surprised that you won all those awards. it’s nice to see you get the recognition you deserve. thanks for sharing it with us! congratulations!!

April 2, 2012 - 10:44 am

Andy Power - Awesome man, a great achievement and much deserved.

April 4, 2012 - 6:20 am

gabe aceves - you are a bad man jonas. congrats on all your well deserved success friend.

April 4, 2012 - 2:25 pm

Anita Waters - Well Done Jonas. You’ve worked extremely hard and you deserve it!

April 4, 2012 - 11:21 pm

Sonia Jansson - You deserve it all! Stortm Stort Grattis!!!

April 5, 2012 - 12:23 am

jeremy - you, my friend, are amazing. Well done.

April 5, 2012 - 12:27 am

Priya Patel - Your photos are truly works of art. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration and congratulations on your deserved success!

April 6, 2012 - 8:46 am

Kevin Foley - Freakin’ gorgeous and poignant. Congratulations Jonas.

April 6, 2012 - 1:55 pm

Brad - I love how the viewer is naturally drawn to the bride, and then eventually you come across the fantastic surprise of the camera peeking out from the entry on the right. What a great surprise!

April 7, 2012 - 6:40 am

EMMAS! - Hej, vill du göra ett bloglovin byte? :D säg till när du följer mig så följer jag dig på engång :D kram

April 8, 2012 - 9:04 am

Krista Martin - Beautiful photos! I am in awe of your creativity. So inspiring.

April 8, 2012 - 4:15 pm

Nikki - So happy for you Jonas. I know you have worked so hard over the years and you deserve every bit of this.

April 10, 2012 - 6:43 am

anja - Grattis!!!!!!
Fantastisk för dig!
Så värd det.
Har följt dig från och till sedan silverfisktiden och inspireras ständigt av dina bilder!!!!
U Rock!

April 10, 2012 - 10:54 am

Otto Haring - great photos as always!!! :)

April 11, 2012 - 11:37 am

Jordan Groeneveld - Congratulations Jonas! Just reading about your recent success and spate of awards. Really looking forward for you joining Helena and I on Hamilton for our wedding this August. Best of luck for the upcoming competitions where I’m sure you will continue to do well.

Regards Jordan

April 21, 2012 - 1:32 am

Liverpool Wedding Photographer - Congratulations, stunning image. Your work is beautiful.

April 25, 2012 - 11:53 am

Miami Wedding Photographer - Congratulations! You have deserved it! Awesome! Otto from Miami

April 27, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Ben - About time…. the good ol boys at AIPP finally got with the program and recognised the best in the game!

May 1, 2012 - 11:27 pm

Anushe Low - A huge congrats Jonas! Just seen this, love this photo, love the light…it’s like a Rembrandt.

May 11, 2012 - 11:42 pm

M Lindsay Photography - Well deserved!

May 14, 2012 - 5:41 am

Sandra at CarryOnChiffon - Amazing! Congratulations…I am always inspired by your work!

May 22, 2012 - 4:13 pm

Sussex Wedding photographer - This year I entered four wedding images and an album. I’ve learned no to expect too much, the competition is extremely fierce and the judging is tough.

May 22, 2012 - 4:15 pm

Sussex Wedding photographer - thanks for good post ,I am also creative photographer .

May 24, 2012 - 6:19 pm

Janet - The lighting is so ethereal in the shot of the bride coming down the stairs.
Good job

March 23, 2013 - 5:13 pm

Sydney Wedding Photographer - Such a beautiful and one of a kind photo! Well done.

Overcome Heights

When I visited South Africa last month I was planning on going on a township tour in one of the larger shanty towns in Cape Town. I didn’t want to go and take photos of poor people, I wanted to meet them and understand their situation. When I told the attendees of my workshop this, Werner, one of them, asked me if I wanted the real deal or just a tour. I told him that I wanted to meet some real people, talk to them and hopefully get them to invite me in.

Werner told me he works as a volunteer in one of the poorest makeshift settlements on the Cape Peninsula. There’s shanty towns and then there’s the slums to the shanty towns.

This particular one is called Overcome Heights.

The organisation he volunteers for is called True North and they’re doing some amazing work. If you feel you want to help or support them financially in their cause, I know it would be appreciated.

When I arrived, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had been told Overcome Heights was a very dangerous place ruled by gangs. Over 70% of the people in the settlement are substance abusers. Many have HIV. And yet I noticed very little of that. I met people making the most of their situation. I saw pride. Love. And human spirit.

Life always finds a way.

Werner started off by taking me to a kindergarten. As soon as I walked in I was jumped by 30 kids who wanted to hug and kiss me. All my concerns disappeared there and then. The overwhelming love I felt from the people in Overcome Heights, people shaking my hand, telling me their stories, others wanting me to take their photos, will always stay with me.

I didn’t see poor people.

I saw people.

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All images shot on film with a Pentax 67ii.

music credit: Homeless – Ladysmith Black Mambazo (iTunes)

March 22, 2012 - 11:14 am

coler - man. that’s real. amazing.

March 22, 2012 - 11:14 am

En annan Sara - You never seize to amaze me. Stunning photos.

March 22, 2012 - 11:16 am

ash - I love this, Jonas.
in Africa, I spent my early childhood in a place so similar to this.
well done making images that matter.

March 22, 2012 - 11:17 am

eva - I love you in this situation, showing us these amazing people….some of your best work along the heartlines….

March 22, 2012 - 11:18 am

chris prestidge - the same reason i go back there every year…these people have so much love in their hearts. beautiful jonas! such a humbling experience too, more westerners should experience.

March 22, 2012 - 11:21 am

Matilda Beezley - I spent some time in the poorest villages in Cambodia last year and yet the people I met were kind, generous and friendly. In Western culture we have everything, but are so greedy and selfish. These beautiful people have so little yet they’d give you the shirt off their back. Poverty has bought out these people’s true love and spirits, while so often excess brings out our’s.

March 22, 2012 - 11:23 am

mike - As a preschool teacher, I’ll testify to the awesomeness of kids.

March 22, 2012 - 11:23 am

Kylie - I love seeing these portraits full of warmth and character in a place typically defined by its poverty (though of course this is an important issue).

Jonas, what is the diamond-shaped sign that so many of them are making with their fingers?
I especially like the picture of the two men + one woman crossing arms to make the shape together.

March 22, 2012 - 11:24 am

Chelsea Parsons - fantastic. beautiful. real. What does the finger joining mean in a few of the photos?

March 22, 2012 - 11:24 am

Jess - Love Love Love and love the Ladysmith Black Mambazo track as well – was totally drawn in to the portrait of the fellow with then ANC t-shirt on – amazing!

March 22, 2012 - 11:28 am

Jonas Peterson - The hand sign is a rastafari thing. I believe for Jah (God)?

March 22, 2012 - 11:29 am

Annabel - Love My Dress Wedding Blog - What beautiful photos, I particularly love the ones of the younger children, they look so playful and friendly and cute. This is something I’d love to do some day, visit and help out, if I can.
Inspiring – thank you x

March 22, 2012 - 11:34 am

samm blake - beautiful images jonas xo

March 22, 2012 - 11:43 am

megan alvarez - these are absolutely kick-ass stunning. this is the type of work that makes me feel alive and so very grateful. thanks so much for sharing these.

March 22, 2012 - 11:47 am

ricki ford - I love the look of film. These are awesome!

March 22, 2012 - 12:00 pm

Cam Neville - Fabulous story and images Jonas. Having worked with displaced and disadvantaged children it’s always sad to see this but you’re right about them, they have so little but give so much. Inspiring isn’t it……

March 22, 2012 - 12:02 pm

Rachel - Absolutely beautiful! Love them

March 22, 2012 - 12:05 pm

Kip - Hi Jonas! Amazing trip, surely. My wife Sasha has been to SA and is lobbying hard to get my butt there some day (not that I’m putting up a fight).

Love the exposures. However you’re metering and the decisions you’re making looks really, really good to me. This is your Pentax?

March 22, 2012 - 12:23 pm

sarah danaher - “I didn’t see poor people… I saw people.” \\ this is precisely how I felt photographing a girl’s home in Thailand, an school in Kenya, and villages in Fiji. They’re just people. We’re all just people. We all need the same things. Some just know it better than others.

Thanks for sharing.

March 22, 2012 - 12:29 pm

Manase Atanga - those are great photos of u i really like ‘em and i wish i would be in there one day :P

March 22, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Jason Mize - I went to Cape Town on a mission trip back in 2003, and our no was to help build some of those homes in the slums or we were told called squatter camps. Those camps/slums really sprung up after the Apartheid and are mostly built on old trash dumps. It is the mostly humbling experience I’ve ever been apart of. I wish I was passionate about photography back then as I am now… Well done Jonas!

March 22, 2012 - 12:51 pm

sabrina - Beautiful story and gorgeous pictures! Thank you of sharing your experience.

March 22, 2012 - 1:12 pm

Swede - Great work. Nice to see you not process your images as much.

March 22, 2012 - 1:39 pm

Steph D - Beautiful work Jonas, you’ve captured the character in the faces beautifully. Am interested, was it just coincidental that you there weren’t as many pictures of women, or was it because of local custom not necessarily being comfortable with women being photographed?

March 22, 2012 - 2:05 pm

Jade Sheldon - Obviously a trip and an experience you won’t soon forget.

March 22, 2012 - 3:04 pm

Ali M - This makes my heart so happy. Reminds me of my own experiences with “poor people” and how they are some of the best people I have met in the world : )

Thank you for sharing your story and photographs. The b&w suits perfectly. So beautiful. Also, love the last image.

March 22, 2012 - 3:57 pm

Nick - Great shots, Jonas. You are so right about these people.

March 22, 2012 - 4:33 pm

RHYS - fantastic. brilliant. beautiful.

March 22, 2012 - 5:19 pm

Manel Tamayo - You’re great, Jonas !!! And not only shooting weddings… great!

March 22, 2012 - 5:47 pm

Erik F - Love your work!

March 22, 2012 - 6:17 pm

Hanna La - When I saw the title I thought it was something in line of the Needle and your fear of hights, which you’ve shared with us on your former blog. This was so different and so beautiful.

Never forget how you influence people – through words or pictures, when you speak, you capture your crowd. Thank you for sharing.

March 22, 2012 - 7:22 pm

Amelia Rhea - you are very brave. I never got a chance to walk through the shanty towns. But, you know what, I guess I could have if I really wanted to. A lesson learnt through yours.

March 22, 2012 - 7:28 pm

Iblinc - Reminds me of my time in South Africa and visiting some shanty towns, but without a camera. Beautiful images Jonas. Thanks for sharing.

March 22, 2012 - 7:58 pm

Doktoranden - That is some of the most heartfelt and amazing images I have seen in a very long time. This is, truly, art to remember.

March 22, 2012 - 8:14 pm
March 22, 2012 - 8:16 pm

Stefan Hellberg - Photographer based in Luzern, Switzerland - Analog and well told, that’s a win!

March 22, 2012 - 8:23 pm

Annette - Truly awesome Jonas. Truly.

March 22, 2012 - 8:30 pm

Åsmund - Beautiful work!

March 22, 2012 - 9:36 pm

Dennis Pike - I am not the most eloquent person in the world, so I will keep this short. This is beautiful. Beautiful in practice, and beautiful in spirit.

March 22, 2012 - 11:00 pm

Kina - Lovely. “I didn’t see poor people, I saw people”. I love the beauty of the human spirit. On a technical note, it never ceases to amaze me how film handles full sun situations 100x better than digital!

March 22, 2012 - 11:11 pm

Tim - Great stuff, Jonas! I’m going to central Asia in a couple months and hope to do something similar!

March 22, 2012 - 11:32 pm

Christoffer R - Amazing quality.

March 23, 2012 - 1:27 am

ken kienow - Can I just say that I love your perspective?

“I didn’t see poor people.

I saw people.”

I love that. I think the immediate association with shooting somewhere like Overcome Heights is “oh these people need help” and often the dignity and individuality of the people there gets lost in that. I love that you showed personality and made great portraits of these people, without referencing their poverty or challenges and stuff like that. Not that helping others isn’t important, but that you focused on what makes them valuable as people without going to the “let’s help them” thing. I think that’s significant and shows them to be more than just people in need. Poverty is one part of the human experience, it’s not all of it. It sounds weird to say “kudos for not mentioning the poverty” since we’re so driven to always mention it in situations like this, but kudos for not mentioning the poverty. I love these photos.

March 23, 2012 - 1:30 am

andy gaines - Amazing work as ever. And great to see more of your none wedding work too. Cheers.

March 23, 2012 - 1:34 am

Heather Perera - Jonas, amazing body of work! It always amazes me when I travel that the people who seem to have the least, have smiles that can brighten their entire face! Especially the children, their authentic joy for life, when it seems they would have none. You captured this beautifully! Well done!

March 23, 2012 - 2:31 am

nirav - I absolutely love this. Such an important post and I’m glad to hear about the amazing experience you had. I feel that even without the words above, your images speak the same message of hope loud and clear. Beautifully captured my friend.

March 23, 2012 - 3:49 am

Danijela - These are touching, beautiful portraits Jonas!

March 23, 2012 - 6:41 am

Paul Krol - the more meaningful your comments, the more meaning there is to your pictures.

March 23, 2012 - 7:10 am

Rachel Glidden - As a photographer we have an incredible power to portray people and tell their stories the way we see them. You could have gone here and taken photos that make the people look desperate and something to pitty. You portrayed these people with respect, humble appreciation and the dignity all people deserve.

March 23, 2012 - 7:31 am

Werner - Jonas, a big thank you from me and all at True North. I will print and deliver every shot personally. The kindness you have shown the people living in this vulnerable community has spoken far louder than words. Actually blessing them with a printed portrait will be an experience I wish you could share.

March 23, 2012 - 1:12 pm
March 23, 2012 - 1:57 pm

Iliangna - Can’t get any more real and beautiful than this. Well done. You are such an inspiration !

March 23, 2012 - 3:18 pm

Ryan Brenizer - I love that you did this. Fantastic.

March 23, 2012 - 7:38 pm

Fotograf Sofia - Wow, beautiful!

March 24, 2012 - 9:41 am

maria - what moving images. you really captured the warmth of these folks. i’m curious about the hand signs. what does it mean?

March 24, 2012 - 10:36 pm

Matt - Good honest work as usual. Your outlook is always inspiring. Photographing people and not subjects makes all the difference.

March 26, 2012 - 7:54 am

Kim - This post made me cry. Thank you for these beautiful and inspiring images and WORDS. I was just having almost the same exact conversation with my brother last week, who went on his first trip out of the USA to visit Europe. In Western Europe he said he found lots of attitudes regarding “Otherness” and warnings about what seediness he could expect in Eastern Europe. But when he made it East, everyone was warm. Kind. Real. He loved it. And that’s what it really comes down to — treating people like others, like spectacles, like victims… Or treating them like human beings.

March 26, 2012 - 8:38 pm

andy green - Great pics as ever, love your way with this :)

March 27, 2012 - 1:18 am

Pete - Phewwwwwww Jonas, keep them coming. This is why I enjoy to see your work so much.

March 28, 2012 - 4:40 am

Mario - Great reportage. Thanks for posting.

March 28, 2012 - 9:31 pm

Jen R - beautiful

March 29, 2012 - 3:45 pm

Kepa López - Beautifull point of view. I love it

March 31, 2012 - 7:14 pm

Nick Lance - Great job on capturing the warmth of their character. Beautiful :)

April 1, 2012 - 9:16 pm

Lauren Kim Photography - Being a South African – this makes me so proud and so happy that you saw the beauty that this country holds in every corner of it. Thank you for your beautiful images from the rainbow nation

April 5, 2012 - 6:56 am

simon remark - inspired.

April 5, 2012 - 10:03 pm

Matt at Matt Foden Photography - A great post- I love how you’ve used film for this project- somehow it suits what you’re looking for here..

April 12, 2012 - 4:12 am

Moureen Praise - Wow, it’s amazing. I was there last January to mid Feb. People in Overcome Heights are so welcoming all they need is a listening hear. And the kids are so cute! They are real people indeed.

May 2, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Katie - I happened upon these pictures by just googling “Overcome Heights”. I worked in this township this past summer through an AIDS and HIV organization. I know many of these kids. They are precious and there are so so many more like them all over cape town!

May 18, 2012 - 8:23 pm

Wedding Photography - WAO! gorgeous pictures i have never seen before. really you have golden hands.. Thanks for sharing and Love you work!!!!

December 4, 2012 - 7:15 am

Derek - Powerful work Jonas, thanks for sharing.

December 10, 2013 - 2:31 pm

Freelance Photography Melbourne - excellent photos and great framing. Really impressed!


I wrote something stupid on Facebook the other night.

Basically I was having a go at a guy who keeps posting about how awesome he is and I ended up writing something shitty directed at the world. A lot of other people took offense and I erased it, but that’s not why I’m writing now. I just can’t figure out why I wrote it in the first place. I left a long career behind where I rarely if ever came home from work feeling I had accomplished anything worthwhile or made anyone’s life better.

And now I do all the time.

And that is awesome.

Not every shot I take is taking photography forward or re-shaping the business as we see it. But that doesn’t matter. In my workshops I talk about not looking at other wedding photographers for inspiration and that greatness is something we find within.

Black belt is a frame of mind.

So complaining about some random dude’s douchbaggery seems a little strange in hindsight. My whole social media presence can be interpreted as one long humble brag – here I am, tomorrow I’m flying here, eating mussels in Peru, oh, sorry, now I’m sipping margaritas in Stellenbosch.

Live and let live.

Shooting weddings is life-affirming and that in itself is awesome. Having a good afternoon in a park with a great couple can be equally fantastic. Receiving an email about how our images made someone cry DOES change worlds – our clients’ and ours.

So why not celebrate that?

I shot a wedding yesterday.

It was awesome.

March 16, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Alex Kennison - Love it.

March 16, 2012 - 12:20 pm

Emma Sharkey - Bravo & beautiful image.

March 16, 2012 - 12:21 pm

Molly - oh dear, jonas, you heart makes me wish i knew you in person. plus douchebaggery is such an excellent word.

March 16, 2012 - 12:23 pm

Dan O'Day - Amen and rad.

March 16, 2012 - 12:28 pm

Sarah Wood - So true-,Love it – thank you :)

March 16, 2012 - 12:30 pm

Jakob - Awesome it is.

March 16, 2012 - 12:30 pm

Matt - Super elegant. Have to agree on the blackbelt… nice analogy.
Keep on keeping on.

March 16, 2012 - 12:33 pm

cam - To true. Love your writing.

March 16, 2012 - 12:33 pm

Flávia/Brazil - Captivating!

March 16, 2012 - 12:36 pm

Leslie Krom - love. love. love. didn’t see the previous post, but you are right. Live and let live. If we were all the same, wouldn’t this be a boring world indeed?

March 16, 2012 - 12:37 pm

chris prestidge - keep it simple – beautiful !

March 16, 2012 - 12:40 pm

Alison - Thank you for always inspiring, and creating images that are always a feast for the eyes. Your work always makes me want to be better.

March 16, 2012 - 12:51 pm

mike - Keep on trucking. Enjoy the ride.

March 16, 2012 - 12:52 pm

Ngaio - Wow. That is such a beautiful picture. That dress is such a dream!

March 16, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Erica - This is great Jonas.. breathtaking image.. can’t wait to see more of this wedding!

March 16, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Jay Guilloty - You’re human, that’s just how it goes. From the same place that indirectly/publicly called out his douchbaggery comes words/photos that inspire/remind us to look within ourselves to express our vision. Hope that guy knows who he is and takes a lesson from this.

March 16, 2012 - 1:05 pm

Jason - Is that HDR?

March 16, 2012 - 1:05 pm

Nerryl - Don’t take other photographers to heart, there are some great photographers out there with great personalities and there are some reall arrogant ones as well, you sound like you fall into the first. Just enjoy what you do and do it well is what I say. I love taking inspirations of things I see and use that to create beautiful images.

March 16, 2012 - 1:08 pm

sarah danaher - I applaud you. both for saying “everyone’s work isn’t awesome all the time, wake up.” AND for saying “shooting a wedding is, in and of itself, awesome.” thanks.

March 16, 2012 - 1:12 pm

tim coulson - word up. i completely agree.

March 16, 2012 - 1:23 pm

Nick - Surround yourself with happy people and your life will be happier – Weddings are one of the happiest times of peoples lives!

March 16, 2012 - 1:31 pm

Missy Wuertz - Right on. you are awesome! Well said.

March 16, 2012 - 1:33 pm

kate - Jonas- You write as well as you shoot… now that is awesome!

March 16, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Tamara - awesome. as for the image; speechless.

March 16, 2012 - 1:45 pm

john benavente - ett ord bror. häftigt. my sweedish is awesome.

March 16, 2012 - 1:47 pm

john benavente - swedish is awesome+ :)

March 16, 2012 - 2:19 pm

Sally Hicks - Amazing texture in that photos…WOW… the problem with written text rather than spoken word is people put their own tone in so often when you’re not trying to offend they do. I like how you say it how it is!

March 16, 2012 - 3:09 pm

Derek - Beautiful work from an interesting point of view which goes hand in hand. Awesome! :)

March 16, 2012 - 3:48 pm

Joachim - Bilden har fångat mig….kan inte sluta titta på den.

March 16, 2012 - 4:14 pm

Bambi - This image takes me down the rabbit-hole. I hope Karen and Armin live in a castle and hang it in the halls..!

March 16, 2012 - 4:21 pm

Joel C - Adelaide - This scene felt eerily familiar – then I saw the tag “McClaren Vale”. I was born there (it’s spelt ‘McLaren’ by the way, champ).

March 16, 2012 - 4:22 pm

Juraj - True words !! U must be a great guy.. :-) Our lives would be always about make someone happy.. that’s the point..

March 16, 2012 - 4:31 pm

Poročni Fotograf - Some honest words! Great shot, looks almost like 3D.

March 16, 2012 - 5:38 pm

Manel Tamayo - True words and magical picture from your yesterday wedding. All of us can write stupid words in any situation, this is not important and easy to understand. The most important are your conclusion for your and your blog followers: LIVE AND LET LIVE

March 16, 2012 - 6:12 pm

Fredric - Looking forward to a full blog post!

March 16, 2012 - 6:27 pm

Michel quijorna - Amen… VIVE Y DEJA VIVIR, great words

March 16, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Kirsty - This is absolutely breathtaking!

March 16, 2012 - 7:48 pm

Pete Slaney - I just love the softness of the trees and the ease of the shot- fantastical.

March 16, 2012 - 8:03 pm

Karen - Best wedding ever!! x

March 16, 2012 - 9:57 pm

steven - I applaud your honesty Jonas.

March 16, 2012 - 10:30 pm

Max - Yeah I read that the other day… Maybe its just marketing, it creates hype for the clients. I wouldn’t think too much about it.

This pic is awesome though.

March 17, 2012 - 12:31 am

Howard - Hey Jonas,

I think the most revealing thing in your blog was when you said “I just can’t figure out why I wrote it in the first place.”

That’s cool. We’re all in the same boat. Everyone has issues that pop up from time to time, because the issues aren’t dealt with, or we’re not even aware of issues: anger, insecurities, ego – the list goes on. We all had to go through life to get to today, and sometimes we pick up shitty experiences and bring them with us.

While shooting a wonderful event like a wedding and having the career you’re building, and meeting all the wonderful people you have along the way, can be something you are happy with, satisfied about, … happiness with yourself, is something that you have to find on your own. You can’t get happiness from a thing (job, other people, an accomplishment), it’s something you sort of … have to decide to be. Maybe this all sounds dumb, I don’t know, it’s just what I believe.

My point is, yes, you get to make other people’s life better doing something you love. Yes, that is awesome, no doubt. Meeting people, being creative, making people happy and getting paid for it is truly wonderful. But you can be just as happy being a street cleaner to make a living (not that there is anything wrong with that), as you can with your current career if you decide to be.

Anyway, didn’t mean to dive deep into this… and I hope I don’t sound like a dick. Great photograph, it would look so good as a large print. Keep them coming.

March 17, 2012 - 1:11 am

kh - Think twice, speak once. Use your fame to influence, not belittle or berate others.

March 17, 2012 - 1:59 am

Jason Mark Harris - Stunning as always.

March 17, 2012 - 2:22 am

nadine - after taking the foundation workshop, i was so critical of the wedding i shot afterwards. i was too embarrassed to social media it because i didn’t think it was good enough for my new mentors to see. i quietly published the wedding, sent the slideshow to my clients. she wrote back ecstatically, saying that the pictures were even more amazing then she expected and how happy she was, and how her new husband loved it so much. It humbled me and made me realize, that in the end, wedding photography is about the clients. yeah winning recognition and awards is wonderful, but that’s just icing on the cake.

March 17, 2012 - 2:36 am

Amelia Rhea - I guess that’s one thing I’ve begun telling myself starting this year, to stop comparing, to stop looking at other people’s works because it will only cause personal grief. I’d still love to admire though (grogeous photo as always btw). And oh… Stellenbosch… believe it or not I was there late February for a day. A day was too short. Needless to say I tried cramping all the wine tasting I could in one day. I fell ill close to the end of it =P… good times!

March 17, 2012 - 2:58 am

Sachin Khona - Many lessons in this post. Keep doing what you do Jonas!

March 17, 2012 - 3:36 am

Fotograf MissJeni - You are awsome!

March 17, 2012 - 5:17 am

Em - Love this post! LOTS
Ps) does the douchebag live in the same state as you shot this wedding?

March 17, 2012 - 5:28 am

andy green - incredible image, love seeing whats new on your blog :)

March 17, 2012 - 5:44 am

Joel Conner - absolutely freaking killer…

March 17, 2012 - 11:01 am

Anushe low - You’re such a dude Jonas :-)

March 17, 2012 - 12:23 pm

Jarvis - This looks like an interesting departure from your recent style. I’m keen to see where this goes.

March 17, 2012 - 2:08 pm

Carey - Perfect. The image and your words.

March 17, 2012 - 4:22 pm

Hayden Phoenix - Awesome image as ever Jonas! Douchebags are a gift as they allow us the opportunity to overcome our desire to judge and condemn.

March 17, 2012 - 8:39 pm

John & Kellie & Sam - Jonas,
You were right .. AWSOME!!!!!!!!!

March 17, 2012 - 9:27 pm

Alex - Thats why people warm to you because you are human and not afraid to make mistakes! Great pic as well :-)

March 18, 2012 - 11:13 am

Justine Kores - douchebaggery? I love it….that alone was worth reading this. And that was before I saw the pic. I got one of my niece I’ll upload for you

March 18, 2012 - 5:35 pm

matthew morgan - well said, amigo.

March 18, 2012 - 5:57 pm

Gary Lashmar - Jonas don’t stop being genuine mate.

Gary (London)

March 19, 2012 - 10:32 am

Mark Tatton - Did you ever figure out why you might have said it?

March 19, 2012 - 7:16 pm

steven - Nice outlook. Beautiful image. Thanks

March 20, 2012 - 2:45 am

Luke Hayden - Nice photo. It has a really dreamy/smooth look to it. Gee whiz you’re good.

March 20, 2012 - 8:31 am

Wedding Photographer - Took my breath away when I logged on today and saw that. How the hell???????? Blown away Jonas, totally

March 20, 2012 - 1:27 pm

Jonathan - Sometimes you have to call a Dbag a Dbag…

Don’t beat yourself up over it brah!

March 20, 2012 - 7:26 pm

gill maheu - brilliant – and just what i needed to be reminded of ! thank you.

March 20, 2012 - 9:19 pm

Emma - wow… this wedding looks amazing. Can not wait to see more! That.Dress.

March 21, 2012 - 12:27 am

Yvette Macdowell - I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very glad that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something regarding this.

March 21, 2012 - 12:58 am

Stefan Hellberg -Photographer based in Luzern - your shots are pretty awesome, thanks for sharing!

March 21, 2012 - 8:02 am

boxes brisbane - that is just amazing. the tree and huge colour and size of it makes this look surreal. thanks and give us more!

March 21, 2012 - 9:42 am

Steph - Without wanting to sound corny, you are truly an inspiration Jonas. In a industry where there seem to be many wedding photographers who are in “the biz” for the wrong reasons, you truly stand out as one who actually loves and understands your clients, is very talented, humble, down-to earth, and takes pride in their work. A daggy high five to you! :)

March 21, 2012 - 8:51 pm

Paintball - Love your photographs.
I’m not good photographer at all.
I try hard, but whatever you do is amazing
Thanks for sharing.

March 22, 2012 - 9:11 am

nirav - Looking forward to this one dude.

March 28, 2012 - 4:41 am

Mario - Is it infrared?

March 29, 2012 - 11:33 pm

Otto Haring - Miami - This a fantastic!

March 30, 2012 - 5:53 pm

Gerardo Cano - wow! lo que puede llegar a expresar una solo fotografía! sigo tu trabajo desde hace poquito y me resulta espectacular! felicidades!

March 30, 2012 - 11:10 pm

Giuseppe Bivins - Once I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

March 31, 2012 - 7:33 pm

Nick Lance - What can I say but ‘Awesome!’ :)

April 3, 2012 - 4:54 pm

jorge portillo - Magia pura!

April 4, 2012 - 6:59 am

Sofie - Wow! I just found your blog.. I really adore your photos! They are beautiful, really fantastic! I spontaneously said ‘wow’ out-loud to myself. :) Good job, and a great blog!

April 9, 2012 - 1:45 pm

Tara - Karen – your dress is simply stunning. Who is the designer?

May 1, 2012 - 9:16 am

Fotograf nunta Iasi - I like the atmosphere and how color photography make it worth.

May 14, 2012 - 5:43 am

Sandra at CarryOnChiffon - Jonas! This photo is breathtaking! How did you do it!?

October 11, 2012 - 6:55 pm

a4931389 - I’ve said that least 4931389 times. SKC was here…