Mandatory Expression: Jon Smith from Wide Eyed Illuminations

Talk In this first interview in 2014 I would like to introduce you to Jon Smith. Jon describes himself as “a scientist and self-taught photographer.” Jon’s work focuses on accelerating entropy and captures the fraction of a second when destruction becomes art.

PortraitAsk an artist to describe their craft and you will unveil a fascinating revelation. And you just may see the world through their eyes.
And here is Jon talking about his work: “I started taking photos in 2010 and throughout the years I experimented with several different types of photography before eventually discovering and falling in love it high speed photography. I specialize in high speed photographs of light bulbs filled with different materials; using a sound trigger to set off a flash and capture the moment of destruction. I love the unpredictability of high speed photography; no matter how much planning goes into the shot ahead of time, you never know what the result will be until after the shot is taken.”

Jon, what is your “catalyst”
? What guilty pleasure inspires you and fuels your work?
I’m driven by my imagination. I am constantly asking ‘what if…’ questions and striving to create something new and different. I spend a lot of time in my head imagining shots before I take them.

Paint Bomb ((C) Wide Eyed Illuminations)

Paint Bomb (by Wide Eyed Illuminations)

What piece of technology makes your creative life easier?
The digital aspect of photography has no doubt made my life easier; without it I would have never learned photography. I am self-taught and learned photography though trial and error. Digital photography allowed me to immediately see the effect of the different camera settings, and allowed me the freedom to explore many different types of photography in a short time.

What frustrates you the most as a creative person?
My biggest frustration is not to be able to translate my vision into a final piece. Whether it’s because of a technical error (flash doesn’t go off, or goes off too early or too late), or because my vision just won’t work in the way I had imagined, it’s always very frustrating when things don’t go as planned.

Popped Top (by Wide Eyed Illuminations)

Popped Top (by Wide Eyed Illuminations)

What is the last thing you splurged on to help boost your creative productivity?
My last big purchase was a new camera. I upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III which allows me more room for cropping (I frame my shots with sufficient dead space to ensure I capture as much of the ‘splatter’ as possible) while maintaining the ability to print big.

…a parting gift – a piece of wisdom you discovered for yourself?
Love what you do and never stop looking for ways to improve.

Secondary Triplet (by Wide Eyed Illuminations)

Secondary Triplet (by Wide Eyed Illuminations)


The big words here are Persistence and Determination! You can see how Jon’s work progressed and how he grew as an artist on the web: see more of Jon’s work on Flickr and find out about his new exhibits on his website.

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