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San Domenico School News & Events

Q and A with Photographer Jonah Richards ’22

As seen in the Winter 2019-20 issue of School Ties

Jonah Richards ’22


If I had to use adjectives to describe Jonah, they would be: humble, motivated, and passionate. He has a deep intrinsic motivation for photography because he finds joy in it. I don’t know if he’ll pursue a career in this, but he should. He’s already doing what the AP portfolio has asked for - so, I’ve upgraded the program to suit his needs. We are now working on submitting his work and learning more techniques. He’s working on pursuing a concept and letting it evolve - tapping into the rhythm of the process of inquiry, and revision, all the while taking risks, guided by his primary inquiry and question.

- Carina Ybarra, Art Department Chair and Jonah’s AP 2-D Art & Design teacher

Q. How do you define creativity?

A. I define creativity by creating something that’s unique–not necessarily new. Possibly creating something different from what’s been done before, even from the same vantage point.

Q. What steps do you take to be original in your photography?

A. I try not to think of trying to be new and creative. I photograph what inspires me, and I’m a different person so my photographs will be different. I tend to set out for the day with a certain location in mind, and then I make stops along the way. I find new perspectives, using both a drone and camera. I use a Nikon D-3400 and a Mavic Pro.

Q. Who and/or what in your life has encouraged your creativity?

A. My mom originally suggested I try photography. She’s really creative and crafty herself–she creates art and does scrapbooking. I started photography in the eighth grade, about three years ago.

Q. Do you have any people whose work you admire?

A. I like the @UWO account on Instagram, run by Simon Timbers, who is about 19. I actually went on a photo shoot with him! He had commented on one of my photos (the Converse on fire photograph) so we connected; it was a real thrill to do a shoot with him! And I am a fan of David Yarrow, from London. He is a fine arts photographer who shoots black and white photographs of wildlife in Africa. The composition of his photos is incredible.

Q. Have you taken any photography courses at SD? How have they helped you?

A. I am currently enrolled in Advanced Placement 2-D Art and Design, with a focus on photography with Carina Ybarra. The class is focused on finding your creative style and new ways to be creative. My creative style is creating colorful images and images with multiple layers and depth. I want to produce photos that draw you in.

Q. What inspires you?

A. I like getting out and shooting in nature or in a city. I look around and see what inspires me.

Q. What’s your creative process?

A.  First, I have an idea of what I want to capture - either in the city or in nature. I go out by myself or with friends and explore. At the end of the day, I upload all photos. Then, I edit all the photos using Lightroom CC, which is an Adobe software product. I edit that day, then on the next day I look at them all and determine if I want to edit more. Then, I will post my favorite ones.

If it’s a sunset I may enhance colors, adding color or deepening existing colors. I don’t use photoshop as I prefer enhancing what is there, and not introducing new elements.

Q. What led you to one of your best pieces?

A. I was going into San Francisco and it was really smoky from the Paradise Fires. I was going to try to capture the smoke in the air.. I wandered up on a hill and turned around and saw “The Shot”–a green traffic light in the foreground near some iconic Victorian houses, with the backdrop of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.