In conversation with Photographer Jordan Hearns
Earlier this week The Balti Club had the pleasure of having a quick conversation with Portlaoise based photographer Jordan Hearns. He spoke to us about his ongoing series 'We Just used to like', which documents the underground Electronic music scene in small town Ireland, along with his recent work with District Magazine and also his plans for the coming year with regards to his photography.
The Balti Club: Jordan, thanks for taking the time to do this. So how long have you been into photography, and what was it that initially got you hooked?
Jordan: I got into photography and art in general when I was around 15/16. I never had anyone to guide me with this stuff so I used to hunt Tumblr, Youtube etc to try and educate myself. After a while I found some people I liked and kinda just went on from there. The stuff I was looking at was quite raw and in-your-face, but in a cool way, not a super-fake-edgy-fashion-editorial kinda way. It had a certain vibe to it, and when you’re that age you’re quite impressionable so I like to say I was sucked in by it all. It was a window to a world I didn’t live in, which is what intrigued me the most.
The Balti Club: Would you say that your work comes under a particular style?
Jordan: I’m not sure if my own work is a specific style other than them being simply my photos, but I love abstract imagery and big blasts of colour. I try to incorporate those elements into my own work. I love not knowing what’s presented in a photograph. It makes me think and immerse myself into the place and time the photograph was taken. I loved the abstract expressionist movement and that’s mainly why I have a fondness for more ‘out there’ photography.
The Balti Club: Where would you take your inspiration from with regards to your work?
Jordan: It depends really. I try not to emulate anyone’s style because I’d hate to make a name for myself through copying someone else, but I just try to capture what catches my eye. People who constantly blow me away include Harley Weir, Jim Mangan, Matt Sukkar, Joshua Gordon, etc. Outside of them, it’s hard to say. I just like what I like, y’know?
The Balti Club: I completely get you. You have your inspirations but you just like what you like. So how did ‘We Just Used To Like’ come about?
Jordan: Well, being from Portlaoise, I’m not exactly spoiled with interesting going ons in terms of music. It’s either rock bands or top 40, and no in-between. As I got older, I got more and more invested into Electronic Music and less into band-orientated stuff. Being frustrated with the lack of stuff for us to do in that field down home, we decided to make a night for ourselves, called Arcade. I did all of the artwork, videos, flyers etc and that’s kinda when the series took off. I had taken some photos at odd gigs here and there before we started our night, but Arcade gave me the push to pursue it consistently.
The Balti Club: Would I be right in saying that the Series title is in reference to the Joy Orbison track?
Jordan Hearns: Yeah the title is a reference to the Joy O track. Around 2012, I was getting heavily into rave culture and all that, watching old clips and listening to pirate radio tapes I’d find on SoundCloud and YouTube. I saw the Palace x Umbro video of all the team and friends in their local recreating Italia ‘90. The track was in that (Joy himself is even in the video!) and it blew me away. It’s something that’s never left my playlist(s) and I play it out whenever I DJ.
When I heard it soundtracking that Palace video, I thought it was from the 90s. Like I had no idea it was semi-recent, which only added to its appeal! It was played twice at the first Arcade night my friends and I put on, so I thought it’d fit the series well.
The Balti Club: The series started back in 2015, is there an end in sight or what have you planned?
Jordan: It’s still ongoing, whenever my schedule allows! The only end in sight is me emigrating, but that won’t be for a while, if ever.
The Balti Club: Are you working on any other series at the moment or planning any throughout the coming year?
Jordan: Trying my best to! Finding time to work on projects outside of college and work is hard at the minute, but I have some ideas to work on this year. Fingers crossed!
The Balti Club: You recently completed some work alongside District Magazine for Pieta House, could you tell us a little bit about this project?
Jordan: Yeah! What a pleasure that was. They’ve given me quite a bit of coverage from my work for GAPTOOF. to other work with Leo Miyagee, who’s on their label, District Recordings. Eric hit me up and asked if I’d like to do it and of course I agreed.
I’m delighted with how it came out, and to be asked to do the artwork for such a great compilation with a great purpose is unreal. Eric and co. are so sound and are really changing things with District. To have my name put alongside theirs is great, and I’m delighted to see what’s ahead (mainly the vinyl release of the comp!)
We would like to say a massive thank you to Jordan for taking the time to talk to us. Super interesting style of photography and we are extremely excited to see what 2018 has in store for him! Make sure to check out more of Jordan's work via his links below:
Jordan's Website: www.jordan-hearns.com
Jordan's Instagram: @jordan_hearns