Josh Stewart is a photographer from Delaware and a graduate from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Since picking up his first camera in high school, he has never looked back, or put the camera down. After finding his blank slate, Stewart talks to PETRIe’s Creative Director, Campbell Addy, about his experience, his dreams and his outlook for the future.
I started taking images when I was in high school. Being at that age and having everything change so quickly made me realise how much was actually passing me by, and I turned to a camera to slow it all down.
On a whim, I chose to go to art school in Philadelphia - the closest city to my hometown in Delaware. I came into art school with high hopes to shoot for Vogue and W Magazine, since they were the only outlets for photography I knew of. Once I began getting into the rhythm of honing my skills, I started becoming more intrigued with fine art photography and the voice I could have telling stories.
I made several bodies of work during my time at art school that moulded me into who I am and how I shoot today. Shooting became a second reaction. I enjoy observing and taking a moment to see something for myself before I even touch my camera. That sense of being in touch with reality before stopping it is bittersweet to me.
Philadelphia has most certainly moulded me into who I am today. At the age of 18, I couldn't begin to fathom who I would be after my four years at art school. I came to this city with an openness to learn and grow. Being in an environment like art school gave me the ability to develop relationships with people who are astounding artists in their respected mediums. Philadelphia is such a blank slate when it comes to the art scene.
Anyone with determination and love for other artist's work can start a gallery in somewhere as simple as their apartment, and make it into a popular city-wide gallery. Artists can begin collectives and start making moving work together - and artists can collaborate and cover this city in murals. It's not what is already here that is so influential, but it's what it can become.
This has been driving me since the day I have graduated college. This influence has lead me to making more work, coming out with a collection of small books called Path, and creating more editorial work for local start-ups and publications.
I'm not sure what the future holds for me, but I know if a camera is in my hands, I'll be alright.
Words: Josh Stewart, Campbell Addy and Katie Aske
Photography: Josh Stewart