It’s in 2015 that John Bowno, an amateur photographer from Lille and creator of the Instagram account “john_bowno”, started photography. « I started photography to tame light in an image and to be able to apply it in my drawings. I have always drawn in black and white, because I am colorblind, from a very young age. Although I have not studied photography, I still did a year in a school of Illustration oriented to comics in Paris. I learned there that I had big gaps in mastering the light in my drawings. » he tells.
His interest in art ? John has it from 17th century Flemish painting, but also from works by Sempé and Magritte which he greatly appreciates. ‘But I must admit that I am quite mediocre culturally and that I do not have the necessary codes to understand certain works of art. I can define myself as a narrow-minded appreciating art without understanding its meaning… If there is one.’ he says.
John creates fake photographs that invite reflection and contemplation to tell a story or convey emotions to the viewer. ‘The purpose of my photographs is to share a little joy or emotions in this strange world, as well as cultivate a certain self-mockery !’ he says. ‘Each of the photos has a title and the two are intimately linked because the title makes it possible to understand the reading of the photo, sometimes difficult, that I wanted to transmit. If there were no title, the photo would only have the meaning you give it… I create the titles based on the photos, or vice versa. The special effects in some photos are sometimes very simple, sometimes real headache ! Regarding the aesthetic of my photos, I try to make it as sober as possible regarding colors because I am colorblind and that avoids mixing slightly questionable colors and therefore the disaster !’ he adds.
His sources of inspiration ? John draws them from his daily life. ‘My inspiration comes according to my moods, my emotions of the moment, the place where I am, and especially thanks to the objects around, all mixed with some of my personal stories. For example, I was obsessed with the breakup of a couple and it is a recurring theme that we find in my photos.’ he explains.
3 years now, I have given myself the final goal of making a portrait of Natalie Portman, and once done, I will move on to another life project ! As I still have a lot to learn by then, I take my time before this ultimate portrait (that Natalie Portman may never give me !)’ he finally tells us. Humor and self-mockery until the end. We love it !