Contextual Research | Jooney Woodward

In moving towards an editorial style of work, I decided to conduct some online research, looking for editorial portrait photographs. It was then that I found an interesting image on the guardian website, I saw that the the image was taken by Jooney Woodward. Curious to find out more, a quick google search and there I was. Amazed looking at the fluid and sophisticated work of Woodward. Initially I felt that her work was quite stunning and invigorating. I felt that this was a photographer who was at the top of their game. In researching the projects ‘The Riders’ and ‘Best in Show’ I felt that Woodward was able to reflect the environment, creating a union with her subjects in a quiet, powerful manner achieving a type of peace to look at. Viewing her work I felt was surmised by Laurent (2017) ‘to some by they are the ones who sort all the chaos of the world into images that bring clarity to the free-for-all of life. They are the witnesses and artists who can distill the mayhem and beauty that surrounds us.’  The way in which Woodward is able to isolate subjects against the background appears effortless in addition to utilizing natural light with a discerning ease. When speaking of her approach to making work Arnold, R (2014) cites Woodward who comments It’s all about the opening few minutes of a relationship. I want to capture how they were feeling before I came up to them’ –when something about their appearance, ‘their look’ made her choose them as subjects.When considering this approach against my own methodology of making work. I was interested to learn that Woodward takes a photograph at the early stage of an encounter with a subject in order to capture their feelings. This is something I haven’t done when conducting interviews for my latest work. My approach has been to conduct the interview before taking a photograph. My thoughts on this approach were to build a rapport before making an image. On reflection of this I am going to make an image at the early stage of an encounter before, I will still make my images after an interview, I will then compare the images and seek feedback, maybe in the week’s narrative task to seek some general feedback. 

I was interested to learn that Woodward shoots using a medium format camera, I felt this was relevant due to the richness of her work. On initial inspection I felt that her work could have come from a digital photograph, maybe using an 85mm lens. Upon learning that she uses a Mamiya RZ 67 my initial reaction was to go straight to ebay to price up the same equipment. More research is needed in this area, when the wedding money begins to come in once again I think this type of camera will be purchased for personal work.

As I continue to research Woodward I get a real feeling for her work and think I could recognise a Woodward portrait in the future. I highlight this because I feel that I am the stage where I need to be developing my own style of portraits. At present I feel that this is emerging and my knowledge is broadening however I understand that I am still at the experimentation stage. By the time I engage with the FMP module I would like to have developed an approach which is based on my own thoughts and feelings as opposed to shooting something because it look like someone else’s work, and merely aiming for something that is clean and tidy. At this stage of the MA I am really valuing the course for equipping me with the skills to understand and be so affected by such work in addition to thinking about the process of making the work in both a philosophical and technical sense. 

Arnold, R (2014) The Courtauld, ‘I Spotted You There’: An Interview With Jooney Woodward. [Online] Available at:  (Accessed 30 Oct 2020)

Laurent (2017) Why We Do It: Photographers and Photo Editors on the Passion That Drives Their Work [Online] Available at: 

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