BEHIND THE LENS WITH JOSEPH PILLADO
By Erin Moriarty
Did you know? Jones was launched with the idea of incorporating random photographs onto our bottles using shots taken by photographer/designer Victor John Penner. But when consumers began submitting photos, we quickly realized that user sourced participation made the brand even more special. Over twenty-five years and 1.5 million photos later, we're still featuring consumer photography. (And have even started incorporating videos too!) You may be wondering, who are the lucky folks chosen to grace the labels of Jones Soda bottles? We're glad you asked because we decided to go behind the lens with one such photographer: Joseph Pillado.
Q: How did you get started with photography?
A: I started in photography like many other photographers...by looking at images. My father was an amatuer photographer while in the military and took hundreds of photos while in and out of combat. I grew up secretly looking through his old photo albums while he was away. Little did I know that my curiosity for my father’s photography would spark my own venture into photography. I spent my entire savings on my first camera and it has been a consistent part of my life ever since.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I started my desire to do art with painting and often I try to pull that inspiration into my photography. There is only light and shadow and it is the job of the photographer to tell a story with just that. I find myself pushing the boundaries of photography through digital augmentation and find great joy pulling inspiration from film. I want my work to look like you have just paused a movie. I want you to have a desire to press play again.
Q: You mentioned having a passion for capturing photos of homeless people. Why is that?
My first project is the Restored Vision Project. This project is where my business
began. On the streets of Chicago I found a love for meeting people in need and
getting to know them. There is something so fruitful to not only helping someone
in the moment but being able to share their story through photography so that
they may inspire the world to step out of their comfort zone and help those
I encourage everyone to support their local community through their time and/or donations. If you would like to support the homelessness crisis in Arizona please consider making a donation to Saint Vincent DePaul’s Phoenix or to the Instagram @AZHugs. Help is needed especially when temperatures hit triple digits!
Q: Why did you choose “Restored Vision” for your photography business?
A: Restored Vision is a sort of mission statement. I want to inspire through my work a restored vision of humanity…A renewed love of humanity. My desire to start a business stems from the realization that the world is saturated in art and media but few works that inspire others to go out into the world and share themselves. I hope that my small contributions may inspire some movement within just one soul.
Q: What advice do you have for other photographers?
A: Glue your camera to your hand and stop every time you desire to take a photo. Being a photographer is a sacrifice. You cannot fully enjoy a moment and capture it at the same time. But if you truly want to be a photographer you should be willing to make that sacrifice. Furthermore, own your work. I still go back to my first thousand photos and think some of them are my best work. Every photo is a part of you and must be loved as such.
Q: What does it mean to get your work on a Jones bottle?
A: When I first saw my work on a soda bottle at my local grocery stores It blew my mind. It was my first time seeing some of my work printed and to have a company recognize the value of my work was truly humbling.
I often find myself looking out into the world and seeing a moment that could be a scene
of a movie or at least a photograph. This vision is what I strive to hone in all the work I do.
Whether it is a photoshoot for a Linkedin profile, a music video shoot, or simply something
interesting on the side of the road. There is a composition hiding in every moment, and I want to
find them. Currently, I am studying photography at Arizona State University. Outside of school I
run a local media business called Restored Vision Media. While I enjoy trying all forms of
photography, I do find myself enjoying the candid work of street and event photography. Going
forward I look to pursue more product photography and improve my studio experience.