“The team and I created a platform that can allow a 16-year-old photographer with no industry qualifications, to have their work published in print.”
Who is Jess Lowis?
Jess has worked in international marketing in the UK and Australia and has clients based around the world. This has allowed Jess the opportunity to travel to various destinations fueling his passion as an avid explorer.
As the founder and Editor-in-Chief of OzShot, he is responsible for collaborations, team management, innovation and everything in between, for one of Australia’s largest independent photography magazines and communities.
"OzShot was born with the purpose of mixing minimalistic and clean design with underrated Australian and international photographic talent."
What makes your practices and style disruptive?
I'm a multi-disciplined creator, so I absolutely love the perfect mix of creative mediums. Initially starting out as an urban photographer with a passion for design, I have now found a way to perfectly mix the two.
Being inspired by the photography magazine movement in America, OzShot was born with the purpose of mixing minimalistic and clean design with underrated Australian and international photographic talent.
Working within a niche industry, OzShot is now more than just a magazine, with an international community that disrupts the status quo on a daily basis. The team and I created a platform that can allow a 16-year-old photographer with no industry qualifications to have their work published in print.
OzShot also encourages working with emerging international photographers to inspire them to pursue their own passion and destroy monotony.
Very few photography publications can say they publish work with no bias on age, qualifications or prior skill level, which is something we're extremely proud of.
Describe your most consistent sources of disruptive inspiration
I'm a massive music person, I listen to music all day every day, ranging from chilled out beats to heavy rock. Traveling is also an inspiration for me as it allows me to see the world in a different way, it's helped me develop a different mind-set to many.
“16-year-old photographer without industry qualifications can have his work published in print”
What industry pioneers paved the way for your practice?
I wouldn’t say there is anyone specific that paved the way for the path I have taken on this side of the creative industry. However, people like Jordan Belfort, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are massive pioneers that inspire me heavily, because they turned nothing into something. I’m a strong believer you make the bed you lie in.
How do you think your work connects with people and communities?
I believe that my work connects with people because it’s aimed at destroying the social routine, whether that be my personal photography, which connects with my individual audience, or that be my work with OzShot.
OzShot is first and foremost a platform for underrated Australian and international photographers to have their work seen and published on an international scale. We're lucky that all the work we do is received very well by our community, and on some days that means reaching over 10,000 photographers. Some just being teenagers and us being a source of daily inspiration to chase their dreams.
"...the team and I have created more than just your typical photography feature page. We have created the basis of a physical community of creators around the world that constantly grows."
What works are you most proud of?
I've been quite lucky in the sense that so far, I've had some amazing opportunities on my creative journey. Whether that be my work making it into the top 10 of a Discovery channel intern competition or being able to share my story and OzShot on a podcast with the world’s largest photography community.
However, I think the work I'm most proud of is that the team and I have created more than just your typical photography feature page. We have created the basis of a physical community of creators around the world that constantly grows.
Every day OzShot expands around the world. We recently hit over 150,000 tagged photo and video content from the community, which is massive for us. Not to mention the print magazine, which is now up to its ninth issue.
How do you balance being commercial with authenticity?
It's a constant battle for OzShot as a lot of people look up to OzShot. They follow our dream and they're along for the ride. Ensuring we don't lose our authenticity is extremely important to us.
We’ll never sell out in the hope just to make money. Everything we do must provide potential value to the community, because at the end of the day, that's the only reason OzShot has lasted this long.
However, that doesn't stop us from doing events with Canon Australia, Olympus and other large commercial brands. It just comes down to how you execute what you're trying to do, and not letting fame, greed, money or anything dilute your core or whatever you're doing.
"...people no longer care about background, age, ethnicity or anything other than the quality of your work and your drive to succeed."
Since you started your career, what has been the biggest change to your industry and what changes do you see happening?
I skipped university completely, I believed that real-world experience was more valuable, and I was right. Skipping university kick-started my career off in ways I could never have imagined.
My career is only just beginning. I'm younger than most in this industry and as time has progressed, people have seen my work and, fortunately, age hasn’t been an issue. I believe this is a massive change for the industry, people no longer care about background, age, ethnicity or anything other than the quality of your work and your drive to succeed.
What’s the hardest personal challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Figuring out how to balance a personal life, full-time job and OzShot. I've by no means overcome this challenge. I don't think I will for some time, until I figure out what works best for me. It'll come with age and I'm okay with that.
What are you currently working on?
We've started working on our ninth issue of the print publication, with the focus on isolation. I'm really excited to release this issue as I believe it's going to be the best issue we've created to date.
We’re working with some really cool and really underrated international photographers to showcase places like Tajikistan, The Australian Outback, the urban jungle of Chicago, Iceland and other isolated locations around the world.
We’re also hoping to push and promote female photographers in our community, in a bid to even out the gender gap, which is an important goal for OzShot.
All interviews are directly penned by the disrupters.
Edited by Maria Micu