Jon Cottam was born in London, England, and first discovered his passion for photography as a teenager. After earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Photography, he concentrated on developing his craft and went on to assist some of the worlds leading photographers, including Rankin, Tony McGee, Rick Guest, and David LaChapelle.
Jon’s professional photography career started in the art world. After seven solo exhibitions in the USA, two in the UK, and one in Australia, he produced images that culminated in his first book ‘Moments in Light’.
By the end of 2002, Jon’s focus returned to the fashion industry, basing himself in London and then New York. Recognised for his sharp eye for detail and subtle allusions to cinema in his celebrity portraiture and fashion photography, he secured a strong client base in North America, Europe, and South Africa.
In 2009, Jon’s continuing interest in social issues took him to Uganda, where he was commissioned to bring to light the serious issues concerning the ongoing malaria problems in the region, along with celebrities Fearne Cotton and Denise Van Outen for Comic Relief.
Jon has photographed a varied range of subjects, from rockabillies in Tokyo to Hollywood stars, such as James McAvoy and Emmy Rossum. From terminally ill children in Uganda to European pop icons Girls Aloud. His work has appeared in numerous fashion, cultural, and entertainment publications worldwide.
Jon is currently based out of Los Angeles, yet calls Cape Town home, where he spends 5 months a year.
Tips from Jon
- Honesty is the best policy.
- If you want to learn how to run a business – assist photographer.
- Assist studio photographers, you will learn a lot.
- You need to sale yourself.
- Your work is your CV, advertising agencies look at your personal work.
- Editorials pay a lot and you have freedom choosing what you want to do, but adverts are much better.
- Always use stylists for your photo shoots, it doesn’t have to be fashion.
- Agencies provide models for free if you swap the prints.
- Don’t use softbox use beauty dish or umbrella instead.
- Keep in contact with your clients.