Josh Cole’s talent for capturing street life at its most expressive has won him commissions with countless international brands. Innova Art, which launched an exhibition of his images on its stand at Photokina 2010, is the company Josh looks to for media, to create his stunning prints.
Cole made his name as a photographer on the inside track of the UK’s nascent hip hop scene, capturing the indefinable cool of graffiti artists, rappers and break dancers, a style that crosses all boundaries: racial, religious, social and geographical.
But what really distinguishes Josh Cole’s images of urban living from London and Durban to Kigali and Buenos Aires is his talent for capturing people at their most expressive – whether they are freerunners, lofted into the air, mid-somersault, or immigrant workers in Abu Dhabi, patiently sitting and waiting. High-profile campaigns for Nokia, Nike, Levis, Vodafone, Tmobile and Converse reflect his appeal.
Josh’s natural affinity with his subjects is what clients value most. “People get me to do stuff when they want ‘natural’,” he explains. “I’m the natural guy!”
Josh began printing with Innova Art, after being introduced to the company by the street artist RYCA. This piece of serendipity couldn’t have been better timed as it coincided with Josh’s newfound conversion to digital photography.
“I’d just bought my first proper digital camera – a Hasselblad – and had to begun to move from analogue printed photos to printing digital files with digital retouch,” Josh explains. “The camera really turned me around – it’s the first digital camera I’ve felt this way about because it reacts so much more like a film camera.”
However, Josh’s early experiments with printing were disappointing until he matched the capabilities of the Hasselblad with Innova Art’s award-winning digital media. Now he produces his exhibition prints on the Innova Art IFA29 – FibaPrint® White Semi Matte 300gsm, and his portfolio work on the unique double-sided IFA25 – Décor Smooth Art Matte 220gsm paper. The results in both cases are easily on a par with traditional darkroom prints, says Josh – “they may even be better.’
“The quality and finish of the prints with the Innova papers has been absolutely amazing. I love it that you can print so large and still see every detail – all the artistry of the retouching process – in the finished print. I’ve also really enjoyed being able to present my work in book format with the double-sided paper, as opposed to individual prints in horrible shiny sleeves.”
“For me, digital is the only way forward,” Josh says. “There are statements that I want to make with my work, now I need to push on. And now I’m sure I’ve everything I need to make that happen.”
See more of Josh’s work at www.joshcole.co.uk