Interview with Jan-Tore Oevrevik from the United States

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Jan-Tore Oevrevik

Jan-Tore Oevrevik of JTO Photography has been in the photography industry for the past 20 years with a knack for turning simple life moments into stills with vivid stories that mesmerised. A self-taught maestro that proves skills and ability can be achieved as long as motivation and passion is put to good use.

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

Hey there! I'm JT, a Norwegian-American photographer with a knack for turning life's moments into vivid stories. My adventure started back in 1998, in my bathroom-turned-darkroom.

That first taste of film development, kindled in a local photography course, was like opening a door to an exhilarating world I never knew existed!

2Where did you study photography?

Well, I like to think of the world as my classroom! I'm mostly self-taught, but my journey started after earning a Bachelor's degree in Economy and Marketing, followed by further university studies in Creative Web and Graphical Design.

Over the years, I've taught design using Adobe software and held photography courses, becoming an Adobe Photoshop Certified Expert back in 2002. Although I captured countless photographs along the way, it was only in recent years that I turned this passionate hobby into a full-fledged profession. I've attended various workshops with world-renowned photographers, absorbing their techniques and then tweaking them to make them my own.

I also graduated as one of the top students from Photoserge Academy and have devoured countless online lessons from well-reputed photographers. Each step has been about layering knowledge, refining skills, and capturing life through my lens in ever more compelling ways.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?

I remember it like it was yesterday! My very first shot was with my dad’s camera. I was just a kid at the time, standing in front of our cabin on a quaint little island.

The backdrop was a breathtaking fjord, stretching out into the distance, and a charming little lighthouse standing watch. It was one of those magical moments that just sticks with you, kindling a lifelong love for capturing the beauty of the world around me.

4What equipment do you use?

Today, I'm all about Sony. I’m currently using their latest gem, the A7RV, along with a selection of Sony’s newest GM lenses. It’s like having an artist’s finest brushes at my fingertips! Over the years, my gear has evolved quite a bit. I started with Pentax, then spent a decade with Nikon, capturing everything from landscapes to cityscapes.

Eventually, I made the switch to Sony, starting with the A7RIII, moving on to the A7RIV, and now the A7RV. What I love most about Sony is not just the sublime quality of the images, but also the smaller, lighter gear. It’s just perfect for someone like me who’s always on the go, ready to capture the next scene.

5What do you hope to achieve?
I have several goals and aspirations as a photographer. Firstly, I aim to spread happiness, inspiration, and awe with my photographs, encouraging people to momentarily escape from the stresses and negativity of everyday life. Additionally, I am passionate about connecting with photographers of all skill levels to build a vibrant and supportive community.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

One of the most touching compliments I receive is when someone tells me, 'Your pictures make me want to visit those places,' or 'I feel drawn into your pictures.' Hearing that really affirms that I’ve accomplished my mission of not just capturing scenes, but evoking emotions and inspiring wanderlust.

Beyond that, I’m continually inspired by the community of photography friends I’ve made over the years. We stay in touch, exchange compliments, challenge each other, and travel together. It’s this blend of feedback and camaraderie that really enriches my journey as a photographer.

7What inspires your unique storytelling?

My inspiration for storytelling springs from my travels with my wife. It's vital for us to explore places that captivate us both—stunning locales that don't require extreme feats like mountain climbing. We seek out destinations with a 'wow' factor, where we can both savor the beauty of nature and cities together, sharing and enriching our experiences.

When I shoot, I look for unique vantage points or seek to capture something truly beautiful and intriguing, carefully considering the foreground, middle ground, and background. As I mentioned earlier, my ultimate goal is to inspire others to visit these places—to ignite a desire in them to explore and discover the same beauty and peace in our world of wonders.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Vibrant, immersive, and inspiring.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the London Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

Winning the London Photography Awards is an extraordinary honour that reflects the hard work and dedication I put into my photography. It's a validation of my creative vision and the effort to capture those unique moments that tell powerful stories through the lens.

Having my wife by my side throughout this journey has been a great support, and this award highlights not just my artistic growth but also our shared passion for exploring and documenting the world. This recognition inspires me to continue pushing the boundaries of my photography, striving to inspire others with the beauty we find together.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2024 London Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The photo that clinched the Category Winner of the Year in the 'London Photography - Black & White' at the London Photography Awards captured a truly magical moment with the London Eye under a moonlit sky.

My wife and I were out enjoying the city's electric atmosphere during the annual pride parade, basking in the glow of rainbow lights. While reveling in the light shows, I kept one eye on the moon, plotting the perfect moment to frame it within the iconic Eye.

As luck would have it, just as everything aligned, the moon drifted into a cloud painted like brush strokes across the night sky. I dashed to the ideal spot and snapped the fleeting scene—moon perfectly cradled by the London Eye, a poetic dance of nature and architecture. Moments later, the scene dissolved as the cloud shifted, a stark reminder that in photography, like in life, timing is everything. Always be ready to catch the magic!

11How has winning an award developed your career?

Winning awards like the London Photography Awards has been a significant milestone in my career. Each award serves as both a statement of accomplishment and a proof of my dedication to the craft of photography. These recognitions have not only bolstered my reputation but have also made it easier to market and sell my work.

While I am honoured by each award I receive, I am always on the lookout for new challenges and accolades. I believe that continuing to compete and succeed in various prestigious forums can further enhance my visibility and credibility in the art world, opening more doors and creating more opportunities to share my vision with a broader audience.

12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Tim Laman, Albert Dros, and Sergei Ramelli.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?

One of the best pieces of advice I received came from Serge Ramelli, a seasoned photographer, who suggested using the camera on my iPhone to scout the perfect angles, perspectives, and framings for my shots. This technique involves moving around the scene, holding my phone low and high to pinpoint the ideal viewpoint before setting up my professional camera.

It’s a simple yet effective strategy that leverages the convenience and agility of a smartphone, making it much easier to experiment with different compositions quickly. This approach has become an integral part of my shooting process and has significantly contributed to the success of my photographs.

14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

If you're diving into the world of photography today, my best piece of advice is to bring your camera along as often as you can. Practice really does make perfect! Experiment with shooting in various weather conditions and lighting scenarios. Focus on finding unique angles that highlight a beautiful or clean foreground, avoiding clutter that can detract from your main subject.

After each session, take the time to review your images critically—identify what worked and what didn’t, and consider why. Learning from other photographers is invaluable, but the most crucial ingredient? Passion. It fuels your journey, drives your growth, and turns photography from a hobby into an art form. So keep that passion alive, and let it guide you through your photographic adventures!

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

My key to success? It's undoubtedly my passion. This driving force keeps me going, whether it's capturing the serene moments of sunrise or the tranquil blue hour after sunset. It might seem like a vacation to some when they glance at my pictures, but the reality is it's hard work that spans from early morning until late at night.

I invest considerable time researching and scouting areas before I even arrive. During the day, I explore to find the perfect spots, ensuring that by golden hour, I'm ready to shoot without a moment wasted. For bird photography, patience has become my closest companion.

I blend into the environment and might wait hours for the perfect shot, like when I spent seven days from dawn till dusk following pelicans, studying the wind and sun to predict their movements. It's this passion that empowers me to persevere and craft images that aren't just photographs, but true masterpieces. So, to anyone pursuing this path, remember: let your passion guide you, and fuel your patience, and the results will speak for themselves.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?

The landscape of photography might seem constant over the years, but the truth is, it's continuously evolving with new technologies that open up fresh possibilities. Staying receptive to new information and embracing these advancements is key.

While the essence of capturing light and moments remains the same, the tools we use have transformed dramatically. The traditional darkroom has been replaced by powerful software that can enhance images in ways we once only imagined.

I make it a point to keep up with the latest developments in photography technology and techniques, regularly updating my skills and integrating new tools into my workflow. This not only enhances my work but also keeps my approach fresh and dynamic. By staying informed and adaptable, I ensure that I am always ready to leverage the best that technology has to offer.

17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I'd like to share a bit of encouragement with fellow photographers: Don’t get disheartened if you don't win the most prestigious awards right away. Remember, if you’re truly proud of a photo you've captured, that in itself is a significant achievement. Appreciation of art is incredibly subjective—what resonates deeply with one person might not strike the same chord with another. So cherish the satisfaction that comes from creating work you love, and view each photo you're proud of as its own reward.

Winning Entry

Moonlit in the eye of London | London Photography Award

Jan-Tore Oevrevik

Jan-Tore Oevrevik of JTO Photography has been in the photography industry for the past 20 years with a knack for turning simple life moments into stills with vivid stories that mesmerised. A self-taught maestro that proves skills and ability can be achieved as long as motivation and passion is put to good use.


Interested in exploring more about the talented individuals that participated and won the London Photography Awards? View the complete list of winners here.