Ethan Jones is a freshman in the physician assistant program but his science-driven major doesn’t stop his artistic side from flourishing. Jones, who has been taking photos for years, credits the hobby to encourage him to slow down and take in more of the world. 

“My favorite thing about taking photos is that it's taught me to pay more attention. I’ve started to see things that normally I wouldn’t have taken a second glance at, now I think ‘that’s actually really beautiful, I’d like to take a picture of that,’ I think that all the time now.” Jones said, “I think it’s made me pay more attention to the world.”  

“What really got me going with photography is when I moved to Las Vegas [from Valparaiso] in my junior year of high school. I started hiking and kind of got a new sense of nature.” Jones said, “I got a camera for Christmas and started to use it and I realized I was having a lot of fun with it.” 

His experience with learning photography has mostly been self-taught. Although Jones did take a photography class in high school, he considers his first semester Photo I class to be his “first major class [in photography].” 

When describing his process, Jones said, “a lot of it is on the fly. I’ll have my camera in my car and if I see something I want to take a picture of, like an angel or something I like, I’ll pull over and go take it. It’s very spur of the moment.” Jones continued, “I’m starting to move toward portraits, I like to take pictures of people and capture their emotions and just the essence of them… I also enjoy taking pictures of nature.” 

In regards to his inspirations, Jones was quick to name his favorite photographer. “Peter McKinnon is the first person I’ve followed closely that’s a photographer. He’s a very genuine person and I really take what he says to be correct. I really enjoy his videos and photography a lot.” 

His favorite thing about taking photos is finding things other people may overlook. “Just trying to pay attention,” Jones said, “I think I notice a lot more.” 

“Personally, I like my photos because I have an emotional connection to them. Seeing them brings me back to the moment I took them, and for me that’s really important.” Jones said, “My photo ‘Wise Man’ is my favorite because it was a moment I really appreciated and enjoyed.” 

“I want my audience to understand something about me when they see my work. Obviously, I want them to have their own interpretation but I want them to understand what I was feeling in the moment, what I was seeing, why I did it. I want people to think.” 

“Don’t be intimidated by the fact that there are so many other good pictures and talented people. You should do it for yourself and because you enjoy it and you’re creating memories that are personal to you. That should be your main motivation in photography.” 

To see more of Jones’s work, check out his Instagram @ej.photosss. 

If you would like to nominate someone for an artist spotlight feature in The Torch, please contact torch@valpo.edu.

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