Interview Joel Thorpe

A visual genius.

Well firstly, a huge thanks for placing the camera down and sharing your time with Ledin Gray. We are so excited to share your story and insights as part of our ‘define yourself’ series. You’re an incredible talent, and one of our first UK features, this is going to be a great chat.

So with every interview comes the generic introduction. Can you intro yourself for us… Imagine you’re walking out at Wembley stadium in front of 100,000 people who haven’t met you yet. No pressure!

Hey, I’m Joel Thorpe. I’m an 18 year old filmmaker/photographer based in Brighton, England.

What inspired you to pick up a camera and begin shooting?

I received a Nikon J1 as a birthday gift a few years back, and at first I shot anything and everything (not really knowing what I was doing). Over time, I found a photographic style that suited me well, and have been developing it since.

Joel Thorpe

Your photos have an amazingly consistent theme (Mornings, Evenings, Soft light, subtle colours). Is this something that is pre planned, or just a matter of how you love to shoot and it’s how the shots come out?

Yeah that’s all taken into consideration beforehand! My favourite time of the day is sunset/dusk; the light is great at those hours and provides really moody tones. The consistency in my shots is aided by my go-to post-processing technique.

What gear are you running?

I use a Canon 6d with a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

What gear is next on the wish list?

I mean I’d love to shoot video on a Sony A7s II, but I’d rather spend that kind of money on an adventure somewhere exotic! Besides, when photographing/filming, I prioritise subject matter/the story over what gear I’m using.

For those wanting to pick up a camera, where do we start?

Hmm, I’d say choose a body which won’t break the bank, and accompany it with a lens that works for the kind of photography you’re interested in (kit lenses tend to be limiting). Just do lots of research before rushing into anything!

Do you have a process for editing your shots? Locked away with your favourite tunes playing, coffee in hand etc?

You hit the nail on the head there; that’s exactly how it goes, haha.

Is editing done straight away or do you leave a few days before launching into it?

I usually get back late from shoots, so I’ll edit first thing in the morning. But yeah, I’m always eager to get stuck into the editing, I think it’s my favourite part of the process.

Joel Thorpe

Are you constantly learning new techniques and tricks for shooting?

I always try to push myself creatively, for sure. Although the new techniques I’d like to explore tend to involve buying new equipment which sucks.

We’ve noticed your constantly on the move, capturing new locations. Is travel important for you? We imagine it could generate some inspiration?

Travel is everything to me. I guess I just love the feeling of escapism; leaving the mundane lifestyle behind and immersing myself in brand new environments. Yeah, travel definitely fuels my work.

When your showing people your work, are there some things that you wish people appreciated more about your shots? One thing that musicians despise is when people only listen to 30 seconds of a song and click next. Is there an element of this you can relate too?

I really appreciate it when people see beyond the surface of my work; whether it be understanding the effort that’s gone into the piece, or identifying an underlying meaning/message.

What is Joel’s best platform for showcasing his work?

For photography, Instagram, and for film, YouTube. Both platforms have a great community aspect to them.

We’ve noticed a few videos floating around on your YouTube and Vimeo channels. Is there a stronger passion for photography or video?

Honestly, I think I prefer filmmaking. Personally, I feel films tell a greater story, and the different elements involved allow for a deeper meaning to be embedded. Also, since films take longer to produce, the end outcome is often more rewarding.

We’ve all heard photographers speak of taking the ‘perfect shot’. Is this a regular occurrence for you? Is there one shot you’re extremely proud of capturing?

It’s not a regular occurrence, for me photography has always been a process of trial and error. Shoots don’t always go to plan, but at times you’ll exceed your expectations and capture something special.

What is it about landscape and outdoor/nature photography that you love most?

The experience whilst shooting! Getting out of the house, exploring, the fresh air, gazing in awe of nature…

Any horror stories? Forgotten SD cards, broken gear?

I dropped my GoPro in a pool of water at the beach one time. It didn’t have the waterproof housing on, and it didn’t survive.

On the other side of the spectrum, what is your dream shoot? What does it look like? Where would it be? What would you be shooting?

High up in the alps during winter. I’d watch the sunset, then gaze at the stars. I’d probably shoot a night-lapse, and just photograph the views.

Joel Thorpe

When Joel puts the camera down, what can we find him doing?

Chilling on the beach at sundown, whether it be with friends or not. Either that, sitting in a coffee shop, or maybe at the gym some evenings.

Your social following seems to growing at nice rate, quickly approaching 50K (Why thank you). Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers on building a loyal following?

I try not to get caught up in the numbers. Of course, I’m super appreciative of everyone who supports what I do, but I just focus on my game and strive for better work. I would advise any aspiring photographers to do the same. Posting often helps maintain/generate interest. I aim for quality over quantity, though.

Your top 3 musical artists?

Hmm. G-Eazy, Childish Gambino and Mac Miller.

Any tattoos?


The perfect wind down after long day of shooting?

Hot shower, downtempo music, maybe a film. I don’t really have a routine, though.

Are there some things other photographers do that make you cringe?

Hahaha, I guess when people take themselves too seriously.

We imagine there are a lot of requests from followers and admirers to have you shoot with them. Is it hard to turn down offers and Is it important to be careful of the types of projects you undertake?

I got an email not long ago that read “I’m currently in Korea. Do you think you could go there to shoot?” Yeah, sure! I’ll just book a flight real quick. But in all seriousness, I struggle to make time for extra shoots, I wish I could; I’d like to meet/work with new people.

One piece of advice that Joel takes with him through life?

Go with your gut.

Joel Thorpe

What traits has photography taught you?

Photography’s taught me to be patient, to persevere, to be open-minded, and to be adventurous.

Who inspires Joel Thorpe?

So many people! To name a few; Abe Kislevitz, Tim Kellner, Gerald Gillum, Morgan Maassen and Nathan Drake from Uncharted if that counts.

Afternoon beers or morning coffee?

Coffee. Always.

Tying back into our previous question, where do you see your passion taking you? Is there a goal or vision that gets you out of bed every day?

I would just love to wake up each day looking forward to what lies ahead. To earn a living off of something that doesn’t feel like work, if you know what I mean.

Will you always call the UK home? Or are there plans to relocate?

I ask myself this question a lot. I could see myself living in Canada, but I’ll continue to travel to find out whether or not I ‘belong’ somewhere else.

Most iconic person you’ve meet so far on your journey?

I haven’t really met anyone iconic before.

Joel Thorpe

With Ledin Gray having a mixture of storytelling and where fashion meets lifestyle, we need to ask, what are Joel’s outfit essentials? Share with us some UK wardrobe tips.

Simplicity and comfort over everything for me! Long sleeve tee and jogging shorts is my go-to outfit. Neutral colours. Cozy trainers: some Nike SBs. Sometimes a cap to prevent my hair from having a fit in Brighton’s relentless wind.

I guess I’m a fox or lone wolf, in the sense that I try to lead my own path.

Joel Thorpe

When you hear of the term ‘Define Yourself’, what does it truly mean to you?

I think about what I stand for, and my mentality. My mind wanders a lot; I’m always seeking more from life, something else. Yet I still appreciate the small things. Generally speaking, I just do me. However you define yourself, just do you.

A simplified logo of ours is a fox dressed as an open book. We believe most dream seekers, game changers (much like yourself) are foxes. They steer away a little from the pack. How’s it feel to be a fox Joel? haha

I agree. I guess I’m a fox or lone wolf in the sense that I try to tread my own path. This is getting very metaphorical, haha.

Joel, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us about your journey so far. We can’t wait to share your story and work with our followers. A big welcome hug from the Ledin Gray family and we look forward to seeing more of Joel Thorpe’s amazing photography showcased. Until next time!

Any final words?

Thanks for having me! It’s been fun.