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Jon Tonks October 23, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Falkland Islands.
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Falkland Islands  2011

Jon Tonks (b. 1981, United Kingdom) studied product design before becoming a staff photographer at a local newspaper in 2005. He moved to London soon after and got a Master’s Degree in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at The London College of Communication. Jon works for a variety of editorial and commercial clients including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Financial Times Magazine, Monocle and Nokia. His work has also been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing National Portrait Prize in 2012, and selected twice for the Terry O’Neill awards. Empire is his first book and was released in December 2013.  The work from Empire will  tour around the UK, starting at the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham, in October 2014.

About the Photograph:

“This is the cover image from my book Empire. The image itself was relatively unplanned.  I had been on East Falkland for ten days, and I had gone on a short trip out to Long Island Farm to experience life away from Port Stanley and into the countryside, which is termed as living in camp. I had already had tea with the farm owners, and they were waiting for a coach full of German tourists to arrive as they were giving a farm tour. I decided to go for a walk around, and came across a field of sheep waiting to be shorn. I had been out there five or ten minutes when I saw a small white object moving across the horizon; there are hardly any trees on the Falkland Islands so you can see for miles, and as the object grew I realized it was the coach load of impending tourists, fresh off a cruise ship. One of the farmers came outside to have a look, and promptly told his son go put the flag up.”

“The Union Jack was hoisted, creating the perfect backdrop for my picture, and Long Island Farm was ready to receive their guests. I spent ten minutes or so running from one side of the penned field to another in an attempt to get the sheep to stand directly in front of the flag. I then had to get them to stand still long enough to focus the lens before they bolted, which happened a few times before I felt content with what I had shot. The contact sheet from this episode is fairly entertaining, as it most probably was for the onlooking farmers.”