Joshua Foo is a self-taught photographer based in Sydney, Australia. His warm-toned photos often feature tiny figures wandering through larger-than-life landscapes and sky-high views of vast oceans — and thousands of Instagram users are beginning to take note! We caught up with Joshua to learn more about his creative process, the way he tells stories through photography, and the themes he incorporates into his photos.
How and why did you begin taking photographs?
I started taking photographs as a hobby with a few mates in mid-2016. We would go around Sydney just for fun after work and it grew on me.
After messing about for a while, I started to really enjoy photography and videography. At the same time, I was also contemplating what to do on social media. Everyone was creating a brand or establishing themselves on social media and I thought to myself, I’ll give this a go. I started uploading daily, and the rest is history!
What does your photographic process look like? Do you plan your images before you shoot?
It’s definitely changed a lot over time. Back when I started, it was all about shooting loads and loads of images and hoping for the best. As of right now, my process is planned out way ahead.
I start by researching and finding inspiration in beautiful places I would like to visit, or by sitting down and watching hours of videos of places that I want to travel. (For example, China is up next and I’ve been watching way too many 4K videos on YouTube.) Next I use Google, Pinterest and Instagram to search for all the places and angles I would like to cover while I’m there. Then I’ll create a custom map on Google Maps and plot every single location.
Sunrises and sunsets are the only times of the day that I shoot, and it may take a longer time shooting these images (as you only have limited time per day, with no guarantee of good lighting). However, the results are way better!
What are some of your favorite subjects to photograph?
Beautiful landscapes. If there are mountains, hills, or beaches, I’ll be there!
What kind of theme have you adapted in your photography? How has your theme evolved over time, if at all?
I think it has evolved a lot based on my improvements and growth as a photographer. At first I would just edit and post whatever I felt looked good; over time, certain things resonate with you more — angles, composition, colors, tones, editing style, etc. Photographers tend to gravitate toward whatever resonates with them, as it’s all an expression of personality through their photos and edits. The better your technical skills are, the more you can express through your editing.
Right now I’m shooting a lot of landscapes with the addition of a human subject to give it more context and relevance to the viewer, as if he or she was there. My colors have also really swayed to the green and yellow-orange side of things at the moment. That might change in the future … who knows?
As a photographer, what can you do to make each photo unique when you already have an established theme?
Just go with what emotions you want to express through the edit. But always remember that keeping the edits consistent throughout all your photos is important, too.
And what type of stories do you try to tell?
That’s a tough one, but I would say that I’d like the viewer to feel awe, but at the same time, experience a balance of good emotions when they look at my work. Some places that I’ve seen with my own eyes are really out of this world and I hope that anyone who looks at my work feels the same. I would also say that no matter how amazing a photo is, it will never replace the emotions you feel while you are there witnessing it with your own eyes, so I hope my images inspire others to travel more often.
What has photography taught you about creativity and travel?
So, so much! Photography has let me express myself. But most importantly, it has really forced me to appreciate what’s around me. In many ways, it’s made me a very “switched on” person, because I’m always paying careful attention to my surroundings.