Artist Spotlight: Josh Dickinson

Josh Dickinson was raised around photography and the arts. His mother was a graphic designer and his father used to do photo retouching, back when it was still called airbrushing. Given a camera in third grade, it was fitting that he went on to pursue photography in college.

Josh found that going to The Art Institute of Boston, a school that focused on conceptual and fine art photography, didn’t necessarily prepare him for entering the commercial field. “It wasn’t even on my radar. Someone actually has to take all these pictures in magazines and on billboards.”

Now taking pictures for magazines and billboards, Josh has worked with a diverse array of clients such as L’Oreal, Sweetgreen, New Balance, and Sam Adams. With all these disparate clients, the common theme in his work is color. Josh’s photography covers every color in the rainbow, sometimes even in a single image. He often works with a bare bulb or L40 reflector on his Siros 800 S. “It’s part of the reason why I chose the Siros over the competitor because it has an exposed bulb and the way it fills the modifiers.”

In addition to stills, Josh has leapt into motion, both stop motion and full motion projects. For his first video project Josh may not have had the most experience, but decided he “could figure this out.” From there he noticed there was a market for stop motion and ran with it. Already very focused on every detail of the frame from his stills, stop motion was “…another level of that. Every frame has to perfectly line up and move the right amount.”

Riding the line between stop motion and GIFs, Josh has always looked towards Hollywood for inspiration. Films like Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs or Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings provided the blueprint for stop motion excellence.

“Even now doing full motion work, I find myself looking at it frame by frame because I’m so used to having every frame perfect.” This perfectionism can be seen in his work for Target, which features exuberant animation and vibrant colors, while also honing in on the weight and timing that makes stop motion believable. While many of his motion projects live on the internet, the level of focus that is taken with each frame mirrors the care shown in traditional stop motion work. “Sometimes if the movement is a little quirky, but intentional, it adds a little whimsy to the work.”

For all of his stop motion and stills projects, Josh sticks to strobes, whether that be the Siros S, or for higher speed work, Scoro packs. “I know all those lights, I know the modifiers, I know how much power I’m going to get out of them.” This allows him to focus on the product or models in front of the lens. When working with models, Josh can take advantage of the Scoro pack’s speed mode. This allows for consistent light that can keeping up with his camera’s high frame rate.

In the future Josh hopes to step back and increase the scale of his work. “Lighting large scale, I just haven’t done a lot of it, but I’d love to learn.”

“Moving into motion, you become a director. It’s more hands off when it comes to the technical part, which is something I miss.”

When recalling some of his favorite work, a specific project comes to mind. “A food stylist friend of mine Ali Nardi and I did for Popular Science with food as weapons based on diets and how they’re unhealthy for you.” This shoot involved meat hatchets and a gun moulded out of butter, which was recently recognized by the AI-AP in 2019.

Josh continues to push his video work further with personal and commercial projects as well as working out of his studio on Canal Street. Be sure to look at for new work at joshdickinsonphoto.com and on Instagram @joshd.in.nyc.