The Inspirations: Jonas Peterson

The man himself

Jonas Peterson is a wedding photographer, originally from Sweden but now living in Brisbane Australia. I first became aware of his work back in 2009 when he exploded onto the wedding scene with a photographic style so daringly different and beautiful that people couldn’t help but stop and take notice.

Since then I’ve been lucky enough to feature his work on the pages of my blog again and again. However today I’m going one step further, peeling back the layers, peering behind that lens and talking to the man himself.

Hey Jonas, can you give us a little introduction to yourself – who you are, what you do, how you got into wedding photography and where you are in your career now?

I’m a wedding photographer based in Australia shooting a mix of international destination weddings and weddings around Australia. I left a long and successful career as a writer in advertising in late 2008 to shoot weddings, two years later I was named one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world by American Photo, the largest photography magazine in the world. It’s been a crazy journey in every way and I’m shaking my head on a daily basis. My life is amazing. Today I shoot about 50% of my work around the world, the rest all around Australia. Only 15% of my weddings are shot locally. I also teach workshops, the latest one was in Cape Town two weeks ago.

You used Flickr to share your images and talk to other wedding photographers (through the forum SWPB) a lot during the early part of your career. Do you feel this helped progress your career in any way and would you recommend people join forums/share their work in a similar fashion?

I still do. It’s a great way to connect with other photographers. Today’s world is so connected, we make virtual friends all the time and I’ve “used” that to my advantage. If we live in a world where word of mouth is everything, I need people to talk about me and my work. Common sense.

You must get a lot of emails from aspiring photographers wanting your help or advice. How do you deal with this and do you have time to respond?

Good question. I do get a lot of emails from other photographers and unfortunately I don’t have time to answer them all. These days I direct them to a site I have set up where I have answered over 3000 questions about my photography. You’ll find it here.

You hardly ever share photos of yourself (even your profile pictures you always have your head cut off!) Was this a conscious decision?

Yes and no. It started when I started writing a blog in 2004. I’ve used that image since the day I started blogging. I was writing anonymously and I found that people connected with what I had to say. We judge people as soon as we meet them and I realised that I wanted to connect with people BEFORE we met face to face. I don’t look like the Elephant Man or anything, it was just something I noticed.

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Best of Blogs – Issue 2 ~ Jonas Peterson

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Being a real life published writer is such an amazing feeling. I can’t get over that rush I feel seeing my thoughts and ideas in print. I’d like to thank the wonderful Jonas Peterson for being this month’s guinea pig and of course all the guys at Photo Pro Magazine for letting me loose! If you’re in the UK, pop into your local WH Smith and check out the magazine in real life. It’s aces.

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Jonas Peterson Rocks Out

When newcomer Jonas Peterson emailed me a link to some his weddings this morning, I knew I recognised his name…I did a search and realised I’d featured one of them before as it had some kick as Australian Groom Style!  The other wedding he sent me (he has only ever shot two – quite unbelievable when you see how amazing these photographs are!) was that of Geoff & Cait – a totally rockin’ riverside affair.  He has still most definatly got the Groom, Groomsmen (and women!) thing down…

I am loving the soft feel of these images – I’m really into this almost angelic, vintage look right now.

For the slideshow of this wedding, clicky right here
Thanks for sending these my way Jonas – I’m looking forward to featuring more of your weddings in future!

Credit: Jonas Peterson

A Johanna Johnson Bride – Belinda & Joel’s Rainy Australian Wedding

Belinda & Joel’s wedding is exciting to me for a number of reasons. Not only was it sent over by one of my favourite dress designers, Johanna Johnson (Belinda’s dress and headband were by the designer) but the wedding was shot by photographer Marcus Bell, who has just been included in the top 10 photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine (alongside a load of other Rock n Roll Bride favourites including Jonas Peterson, The Image is Found and Our Labor of Love.) So needless to say, this wedding is a crash! bang! smack-you-between-the-eyes-with-awesomeness of a wedding. “Once I found my beautiful Johanna Johnson dress the inspiration came from there!” the bride told me. “I didn’t want to be a traditional bride with the big dress and veil or have my bridesmaids in all the same dress, I wanted the wedding to be unique and individual – to be me.”

The couple were married at The Plantation in Queensland. The planning wasn’t always plain sailing, but in the end the wedding went ahead without a hitch (despite a lot of rain…which I actually think looks pretty darn awesome in the photos!) “We live in Sydney and decided that because we both love Noosa so much that we should get married in Queensland,” the bride continued. “We booked The Plantation in Cooroy a year before the date and were very happy. A couple of months before our wedding we were advised by the plantation that our wedding may have some problems as neighbours surrounding the area were complaining about noise issues.”

“Three weeks before the wedding we were told that we should look for an alternate location for our wedding. Joel and I were devasted to say the least. We had planned and booked everything for this wedding a year ago and already had 80 guests flying from around Australia. I am so proud of my husband as he was on to every newspaper and website he could find to tell our story so hopefully our wedding could go ahead. We were featured in a local paper in Qld telling our story.

“To cut a long story short we talked to the neighbours pleaded our case and asked them to consider how we felt, after the matter was taken to court between The Plantation and the neighbours. We were so blessed that only 3 weddings were allowed to proceed and ours was the first. I think that this experience made our relationship stronger and I couldn’t imagine what I would have done without Joel’s help he truly was amazing. On the 12th of March 2011 I married my best friend in front of all our closest family and friends, we had an amazing day!”

So beautiful!

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Anthony & Stephanie’s Sydney Harbour Wedding

Anthony & Stephanie were married in November in Sydney and had the wonderful and exceptionally talented Jonas Peterson to shoot their wedding. When Jonas emailed me to let me know he had a new wedding to share with me he didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to blog it or not! Regular readers will know I am a big (massive, enormousness) fan of Jonas and his work so it’s an absolute pleasure to feature this gorgeous wedding on these here pages.

The ceremony took place at St Peter Chanel (“oh yes I had a designer’s name in the title of MY church HA” laughed the bride) in Woolwich, Australia. After the ceremony the guests were treated to a boat ride across the Sydney harbour to Aqua Dining – a restaurant with the quintessential Sydney view – for the reception.

Stephanie excitedly told me all about their perfect day, “Just that it really was THE most magical day. Especially the weather. Sydney’s weather had been really crapola the week leading up to the Sunday. After stressing about it for weeks prior, I resolved that the weather would be what it would be. And it was what it was….TRULY AMAZING.”

“On the day the girls and I arrived early to the church….(um who does that? The one time you CAN be late and I was 15 mins early) the sky was blue and there was not a cloud in the sky. The ceremony was just the right length, not too long and stuffy as church weddings can, be but also not so short you left the guests wondering when exactly during the mass you said ‘I Do’. As we are both musical theatre performers, we had our pick of singers. Friends we had worked with, admired close up and from afar. All the music was arranged by superstar musical director extraordinaire Max. Our good friend Amy sang “Love Is a Big Deal” as I walked down the aisle and a beautiful rendition of “My Romance”. The whitest black man I know, Cameron sang a John Legend song “Stay With You” as we signed the registry and then the icing on the nuptial cake were his lead vocals during the recessional. A Stevie Wonder classic close to our hearts, “As”. The biggest surprise set up by my husband was the support choir singing back up for Cameron. All of our dear friends who were singers stood up and sang joyously as we exited our designer church in full voice. It was the most glorious, reverent, romantic sound I have been privileged to hear.”

“It was then treat time for our guests. You know that lengthy, awkward time between a wedding ceremony and the beginning of a reception? Sometimes people go to the pub in their finery, others head back to the hotel room to kick off their shoes for a sneaky nanna nap before the drinking starts. Not at our wedding you don’t. I liked the idea of everyone travelling to the reception together. I think it keeps the whole day bubbling along and you can get to know some of the other small, select and privileged few that were invited (HA). So what did we do? Not cab charges I hear you gasp? Not a red, open-air bus for our friends and family did you say? Oh heavens no. We hired a lah-di-dah boat to transport our wedding guests to the reception, combined that with shut-up amazeballs weather AND free-flowing alcohol all on the most famous harbour in (I think) the world. Now tell me you don’t want to be a guest to THAT wedding!”

“My bridesmaids were the absolute bomb. Nicola (MOH) was a craft queen machine, she & Jay spent countless hours glueing and cutting out paper for the place settings whilst pluggin me with wine, theyhelped me shop for all the bridesmaids accessories, all 3 gals Nicola, Jay & Nikki audibly ‘oohed’ and ‘aahhhed’ at my dress fittings. Nic made a speech at my wedding that made me laugh and cry and her greatest feat was organising the most fabulous girly Hen’s weekend away in wine country Hunter Valley NSW. For myself and 10 other girls that we SWEAR we are going to uphold as tradition every year. Legend.”

“Ant and I are actors, so immediately people think that we are going to be “out there” and have crazy wild nudie runs during the reception. As appealing as that sounds, we are simple folk that like to put our own stamp on things. Many people get caught up in the details of their wedding day. Everything has to be ‘perfect’. Don’t get me wrong I’m as much a perfectionist as the next asian bride but I believe that your wedding day is about you and your soulmate, sharing a pretty important lifelong commitment to each other in front of the people you care about the most.”

“Our photos weren’t particularly “traditional” as weddings go, we just had fun and the brilliant Jonas cleverly documented it all. He really captured the essence of the day and the personalities of each and every person he snapped. It was pretty Rock n Roll for us. I feel like we manifested the things we wanted on the day, great weather, precious company, mouth-watering food and drink and copious amounts of love. We put it out there and got it all, right down to the last detail.”

Ready to swoon at the rest of the photos? Check them out after the ‘jump’…

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Monique & Lee’s 1920’s Powerhouse Wedding

Jonas Peterson weddings are like gold dust and I’m so honoured that he lets me feature so many of them (for those of you that don’t know the inner workings of blog-land, a wedding will generally go to one blog or magazine only, so being allowed to be the lucky one is really something when a wedding is as stunning as this one.)

Monique & Lee were married at Brisbane Powerhouse – a wonderfully urban and industrial converted powerhouse. It is now home to a theatre and a couple of restaurants and is right on the river. Stunning! Monique wore a gorgeous reproduction vintage dress from Le Luxe Clothing. “I never even set foot into a bridal store, let alone tried on a ”proper” bridal dress – I always wanted a vintage, flapper inspired dress but found it incredibly difficult to find one in my size – I’m an AU 14, and I’m pretty sure chicks in the 1920s had waists the size of my thigh! I spent months searching for one and really hit the jackpot when I found Le Luxe Clothing. Because it’s not enough for me to just have beads and sequins, I added a feather capelet by Ksubi, that I bought on ebay.” She chose not to carry real flowers, and instead created her own vintage brooch bouquet.

“The bouquet took a lot of work but it was worth it! It’s just a Styrofoam ball, which Lee covered in chicken wire for support. We gathered lots of vintage brooches, and he wired them onto the chicken wire. He looped the wire through the back of the brooch, and attached it by sticking the ends of the wire stick into the Styrofoam ball. He also glued some of them down with hot glue. We used some fabric to mask the messy bottom of the sphere, and the handle is just a thick bit of wood wrapped in the fabric. It was time consuming but easy (says me, who watched him work while I sat back with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other) thanks to hot glue guns and a bit of patience (why he made it and not me!)”

To keep their wedding personal, the couple decorated the venue themselves and asked friends and relatives to help out where they could. “We didn’t have any fresh flowers. Again, for some reason I never really considered it. We had a cocktail-style reception, so we didn’t need centrepieces or anything, which let me have a bit more fun with the ”flowers”. I decorated using a combination of button flowers, newspaper roses, fabric flowers and paper flowers, stuck in old jars and glass milk bottles. I sourced all the flower decorations from some super talented people on Etsy.”

“There’s nothing more Rock n Roll, in my opinion, than being exactly who you are and standing by that. Which is why I think there is still something super Rock n Roll in uber traditional weddings,” Monique told me. “I’d never been to a wedding until my own, so I didn’t approach it with any preconceived notions about what a wedding should be. So I just made it about the things that we like. And while I know it was different, and unique, I very rarely felt we were planning a wedding that was really out there. We did (mostly) all the traditional stuff, but just tweaked it to suit our style. For example, I wear 20’s inspired clothing anyway, so I glammed it up several notches for the wedding.”

“Lee loves zombies and Transformers and explosions, so I vowed to ”fight and die by your side in the event of a zombie invasion or robot attack”. We approached the wedding as a big fat celebration of our love, not just for each other but for the people around us. And being a celebration, our main goal was to have a lot of fun. There was tequila, and dancing, and big rock god slides across the floor. I got so drunk I could barely cut the cake and sang until my throat hurt. And we had so so so much fun.”

“I’m 24, and there were quite a few people who felt I shouldnt be getting married at all, let alone in the ”alternative” way I did it. (Funny how some words take on such negative connotations at times!) I don’t know what it is about weddings, but I found that people aren’t shy in telling you that what you’re doing isn’t the norm, or that you’ll look back and regret not being more traditional. But I’m exceptionally lucky to have family and friends that stood by me and my ideas even when they thought I was crazy.”

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