superchat sydney: lester jones

© lester jones photography

lester jones is a sydney-based photographer, director and content maker. educated in the basics of photography at the university of westminster in london. he started out as a successful tv producer and writer, and now he not only runs his own very popular sneaker blog i did your sole man, which explorers interesting sneakers and ther owners all over the globe, but has collaborated with some of the world’s premier brands, including nike, sony, adidas and vans. he works in both stills and videos, larger commerical projects and smaller boutique self-shot set-ups, allowing him a diverse and electric body of work. lester took a moment out of his busy schedule to sit down with superfuture and offer us an insight into his world of photography. 

what first captured your imagination about photography? i wasn’t very academic at school, and ended up at art college where I felt hideously out of my depth in the company of aspiring fine artists and sculptors. i remember being in the library one lunchtime and finding a book about linda mccartney and annie leibovitz’s early photography from the 1960s documenting bands on tour and in the studio. something struck me about how these images captured amazing moments in time and the seed was planted. it wasn’t until much later that it was an area i could pursue though.

which photographers have inspired your work? other than linda mccartney and early leibovitz, from a technical and narrative perspective i love martin parr and w. eugene smith. the content may be different to my work, but i love incorporating a reportage feel within contemporary street culture. other influences include janette beckman, ricky powell and jamel shabazz.

what was your first sneaker purchase? man, i have no idea. i do remember rocking some puma dallas around 1986, but before that it’s a blur.

how many pairs of sneakers do you own? what are your favourites? i probably have about 80 pairs, which sounds like a lot i guess. my interest in sneaker culture is based around studying other people who are involved with this fascinating subculture but i guess the irony is that as my journey has developed i’ve acquired more shoes and knowledge.  i try to remain objective so i don’t have a favourite pair but right now i’m wearing some adidas stan smiths, some shoes that give me fond memories of my youth.

what inspired you to start taking street photography? i’ve always loved the idea of street photography due to my interest in reportage. my inspiration comes from photojournalism, through the likes of magnum and a few years ago i realised that many of the street fashion blogs that my wife was interested in felt quite sterile, cold and elitist to me. i had the idea of creating something different, something celebrating the style and texture of the streets we all walk everyday.

why the move to australia? i first came out here in 1998 to travel with some mates. i guess something about it got under my skin as it didn’t take much after meeting my wife in london, who’s australian by the way, to talk me into making a move out here.

what are some of your favourite shoots? and who has been your favourite people to shoot? off the top of my head; being approached to shoot an arsenal football match in london recently with a reportage approach – that was fun. shooting a backstreet hong kong tailor who works through the night in a dingy lane lit by a lamp and was one of the happiest people i have ever met. anything with my kids is fun, but to be honest i enjoy shooting every subject.

© lester jones photography

did you study photography professionally or are you self-taught? i studied the basics at art college and university but it wasn’t something I could pursue at the time as i couldn’t afford to buy cameras, lenses, film etcetera, so i ended up studying film and video making which was a cheaper option. after university i built a career producing, writing and directing tv shows [something I still do], and it wasn’t until i had money in the bank again that i had the chance to start snapping again. everything from that point has been self-taught.

what sort of camera do you use? primarily for digital I use a canon 5d mark III or a panasonic lumix gx7 and for film i use a contax g2. also in my toolbox is a canon 7d, go pro’s and my iphone 5s and that’s most of what i use.

what books or films do you love? and how does this impact upon your photography and your aesthetic? i read a bit, but of the two areas, film is the one that resonates with me the most. i have a pretty varied taste and love the aesthetic of wes anderson, the rawness of tarantino, the energy of scorsese, the innovation of welles, and on occasion the humour of the farrelly brothers.

what inspires you? art/architecture/design etc. all art forms inspire me, and you never know where or when inspiration may strike.

how do you separate yourself from the inundation of online street style bloggers? well a 'no-selfies’ policy certainly helps as does my style which is probably a bit grittier than many of the other street style shooters out there.

where do you see your website, photography and blog in ten years from now? well, i would hope that my work in all areas continues to develop interest and integrity. it’s important to me that all areas are acknowledged as the blog is only one part of what i do. i also shoot campaigns, personal projects, direct ads, and more. beyond that, i hope i get the chance to continue doing something i genuinely love as so far my stills and video work has given me the chance to meet some incredibly inspiring people, and visit some incredible places. 

do you see your photography as photojournalism or more of an art form? i would like to think people see it as a bit of both. i would like to think i document people, events, places in a photojournalism style that has an artistic approach. that’s my hope, i guess it’s what other people think that matters more though.

do you see yourself interacting with those you photograph or being outside and simply recording them? a bit of both. i consciously do not direct the subject too much as i like to observe their mood, look and tone in the most natural way possible.

© lester jones photography

amsterdam: troublemakers make the world go round

© bart invites / photography: rené mesman

artist laser 3.14 is widely regarded as amsterdam's unofficial iconoclast, capturing sharp observation, zeitgeist and sometimes sheer mockery in striking one liners that can be found on carefully selected surfaces around the city. although the creative still operates outdoors, his name has become so well-known that a shift towards the established gallery scene seemed a logical next step. but this context hasn't exactly changed laser 3.14’s perception as his new solo show at bart invites in the dutch capital demonstrates. presented in collab with the garage, the aptly named troublemakers make the world go round show explores the darker side of success, the sinister side of celebrity and the innate hedonism of human nature. central to the show is an eponymous artwork, a steel shield that acts as a point of dialogue between his works on wood, collage and printed matter that are also presented. a new fluorescent print edition of you wanted fame, now fame wants you in four colourways will be released to mark the show [on through apr 25]. location: bloemgracht 2 [centrum].

© bart invites / photography: rené mesman

miami: metropolitan by como hotel opening

© como hotels + resorts

the many alluring attributes of miami have charmed insouciant pleasure seekers for many decades. but while the sunny weather and the beaches have remained constant pulling factors, it's the area's hospitality scene that has heated up considerably with the arrival of tantalizing new options where to leisure, play and do business - if you really must - in grand style. given its superb location, the miami beach area has longtime been the epicentre of the good life with an appealing historic infrastructure to match, and it's right here where como hotels + resorts have opened their newest property. the metropolitan by como is ideally situated by the ocean and occupies a beautifully renovated 1930s building in art deco style with 74 rooms spread over several floors.

italian architect and designer paola navone created the new interior, preserving the hotel’s original details and playfully pairing these with a cool contemporary style. the art deco heritage now contrasts with it crispy shades of peppermint green and dusky grey and surfaces of white marble and shining chrome. this style extends across the premises into the rooms, which obviously meet the standards of today's discerning traveller. all six categories feature either king or twin beds, a rainfall shower, a 42-inch flatscreen tv and other amenities, but vary in size and some come with a balcony and gorgeous ocean view. top of the bill is the lavish como suite, a spacious apartment-style dwelling on the top floor. next to a bedroom it features separate living room and dining room areas, one-and-a-half bathrooms, a kitchenette and one large closet space.

it can just as easily connect with two additional guestrooms to create a three-bedroom suite. and if that's still not up to your spatial standards, an additional fourth bedroom is available adjacent to the como suite and the corridor can be secured to create a private wing environment. the metropolitan by como knows how to please its guests in more ways than one, featuring two restaurants on the premises. the traymore, situated in the hotel's eponymous heritage building, is the headline restaurant and a destination in its own right. headed by executive chef jonathan lane, it features a menu with an assortment of classic floridian seafood dishes and american favourites. the accompanying traymore bar is a perfect spot for pre-dinner drinks, serving anything from signature cocktails and fine wines to artisanal gins.

and to make lounging by the beautiful outdoor pool even more enjoyable, poolside dining is readily available at one of the private cabanas. the menu options includes classic american and mediterranean dishes, ranging from burgers and fresh pizzas from the brick oven, to small snacks and salads. located on the rooftop with sweeping ocean and city views is the como shambala juice bar, an intimate little place where to relax over a glass of freshly made juice. the metropolitan by como has one more trump up its sleeve, and that's the related como shambala urban escape. a full-fledged luxury spa, it offers a range of signature therapies for body and face in one of four treatment rooms. a separate steam room and a rootfop hydrotherapy pool certainly add up to the sense of ultimate relaxation. location: 2445 collins avenue [miami beach].

© como hotels + resorts

paris: davide quayola + joanie lemercier

© galerie l.j. / joanie lemercier - eyjafjallajökull

the digital age has put an ongoing turbo spin on creativity, rapidly expanding our horizons and frequently having us marvel at yet another innovative concoction. the current exhibition by visual wizzards davide quayola [1982] and joanie lemercier [1982] at galerie l.j. in paris has this label written all over. while the first is interested in renaissance painting and classical sculptures, and simultaneously uses video, photography, sound and live performance, the latter's creative output shifted from vj-ing to set design, digital installations and architectural projection, in addition to a strong focus on mapping projection. on display is a series of stunning audio-visual installations that showcase the very specific craft and unbridled imagination of both talented artists [on through may 13]. location: 12 rue commines [marais]. 

© galerie l.j. / joanie lemercier - origami and mapping and light canvas III

sydney: aesop store opening

© aesop

aesop have opened a beautiful new store in balmain, an upscale seaside neighbourhood of sydney. the space was designed in collaboration with local architect henry wilson, and utilises the stunning raw sandstone, fireplaces and hidden doorways that were discovered during the removal of the previous fit out. these incredible natural elements are combined with pale native timber and then off set by industrial components in the shelving and the demonstration sinks, giving the site a raw but beautifully tender feel. the site has an abundance of natural light which is harmonised with the soft palette of the space, creating a warm and inviting retail environment. the new aesop store carries the brand's complete range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 297 darling street [balmain]. 

© aesop

melbourne: aesop nasothèque

© aesop

aesop have taken over the typically ostentatious myer windows with a thought-provoking and visually stunning examination of the human olfactory sense. the oft forgotten and ignored 'nose' takes centre stage in this seven window performance piece, the aesop nasothèque. It includes a production lab with live nose castings, curing lab, installation lab and the aesop nasothèque display which houses the collection of hand-cast plaster noses, as well as a product display and explanatory notes on the evocative aromas of the aesop formulations. the aesop lab will be taking nose castings from the general public. your author having experienced the procedure himself, highly recommends you find time to not only visit these stunning windows but get your nose cast as well. the procedure involves mild, non-irritating substances that are suitable for use on most skin types. sessions will be held at 20-minute intervals according to the following schedule: thu-fri [excluding good friday]: 12pm-2pm and 3pm-5pm, sat-sun: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, and during the final session on apr 22: 12pm-2pm and 3pm-5pm. location: myer, 314-344 bourke street [cbd].

© aesop

berlin: supernova concept store opening

© supernova

have we exhausted you with news on bikini berlin? exactly, the retail there couldn't possibly have that effect. another gem we haven't talked about yet is supernova, an evolving concept store curated by berlin-based creative agency kemmler kemmler. supernova's first edition is a collab with the boys behind the firmament store and nike, and is themed future of football in celebration of the upcoming football world cup in brazil. the setting has been designed by architect christian weinecke, locally known for designing and running the original comme des garçons guerilla store in the german capital.

weinecke created an interior that's reminiscent of a brutalist-style science-fiction film set, taking shoppers on a journey of a talented football player from the streets who gets lucky and achieves global stardom. this journey kicks off amidst the meticulously crafted chaos of a futuristic city, replete with mini shops, video installations and changing rooms. the logical next setting is the training pitch where shoppers can try out the many products on display. hi-tech adds an interactive cool factor by way of a goal-shooting wall and sensors that visualize speed and goal-shooting accuracy.

obviously, it's connected to social media, so you can brag about your score. the player tunnel leads into the stadium, a gigantic, half-transparent steel construction, which towers above the store city. from there, shoppers reach a tunnel and a podium where they experience the stardom. a series of video and audio systems make it an immersive experience. what's on the shelves? nike has stocked supernova with an exclusive selection of football and lifestyle products, while firmament has also curated an eclectic mix of products for the trendsetting and stylish football fan. this football-infused edition of supernova runs through jul 13. location: bikini berlin, budapesterstrasse 38-50 [tiergarten].

© supernova

online: minute bike

© behave bicycles

as traffic congestion and related pollution continues to soar in many cities across the planet, a classic mode of transport is rapidly gaining in popularity among smart urban dwellers. aided by visionary city planners who need to provide the necessary infrastructure, bikes are definitely back and the boom has only just begun. just as quickly dozens of manufacturers have sprung up just about anywhere to cater to this mobile demographic that puts both environment and efficient mobility first when it comes to their daily commute. a clever new initiative comes from the netherlands, the iconic land of bikes, where behave bicycles have just released their first ride, the rather nifty minute. pronounced à la française, it's a small and highly agile bike for forward thinking commuters.

based on the mini vélo, a hugely popular bike model in asia, the minute is a handmade custom bike built to last a lifetime. the remarkable small wheels are a deliberate choice. small wheels are not only stronger, lighter and more agile, but also also allow greater speed. the minute comes in a men's and women's version, both equipped with a duomatic system with two gears and a coaster brake. a mounted rack with integrated bungee cord is positioned at the front. the two-wheeler will be available in the course of 2014 at select retailers. but that's not all folks. the first 100 bikes are offered in pre-sale as a limited edition, uniquely numbered and finished with stainless steel fenders and an authentic brooks saddle. and in case you wondered, bikes are shipped internationally. a cool deal? we certainly think so. 

© behave bicycles

mumbai: kulture shop opening

© kulture shop

india's transformation goes leaps and bounds, and just as quickly emerges an interesting new infrastructure that specifically caters to the lifestyle requirements of a savvy new generation. retail is very much at the forefront of new initiatives, and it's in the country's top-tier cities where these manifest most visibly. the newly opened kulture shop in mumbai is emblematic of this trend. situated in bandra west, an upscale suburb of this sprawling city of over 18 million inhabitants, it's an initiative of arjun charanjiva, founder and c.e.o., and kunal anand, jas charanjiva and rajeev sathe. these four professionals share a wealth of prior work experience in the creative and corporate fields both in india and abroad, and they've now joined forces to set up shop out of a sheer passion for graphic art.

they see the craft as the art of the modern age, one that also provides commentary on a new india and aptly capable of reflecting a dynamic indian identity. and abiding by this belief, the entrepreneurs conclude that lifestyle products are logically the very canvas of our time as they're accessible to anyone. but the modern approach doesn't stop there. kulture shop aims to establish itself as a hub of sorts of a new wave of art that’s driven by graphic art and inspired by the many facets of culture both indian and global. so, what's the deal here? in support of established and emerging indian artists, kulture shop serves as a platform with a financially viable eco-system that helps these creatives to monetize their work. for every artwork sold on a product the artist involved is compensated fairly.

kulture shop works with a curated mix of graphic designers, illustrators, urban artists and graphic novelist who mastered a style and technique that not only reflects the store's modern vision but which also will connect with next-generation shoppers in india and across the planet. the collective of artists are spread across the shop’s three current labels: select, labs and showcase. a fourth more premium label called presents will be launched very soon. artists are categorized by labels based broadly on how established they are within the realm of graphics art and contemporary art. to keep shopping matters tantalizing, each month 5 new limited edition art tees and 5-10 new limited edition art prints will be released, each under a new theme. happy shopping! location: hill view 2, 241 hill road, second floor, above dcb bank [bandra west].

© kulture shop

paris: julien soulier + adrien landre

© julien soulier + adrien landre

julien soulier and adrien landre are two french photographers that we've come to know through their striking collaborations with fashion label bwgh. coinciding with the release of issue #13 of photography magazine fast , an exhibition of their work has opened at galerie spree in montmartre. the very talented duo joined forces and headed earlier to blackpool a.k.a. the city of lights of northern england. they shot a body of new work, entitled fast night, that's entirely inspired by the resort's somewhat fading nightlife and features portraits, still life shots and street photography in which various forms of lighting are masterfully captured [on through apr 28]. location: 11 rue lavieuville [montmartre].

© julien soulier + adrien landre