Interview with seasoned self taught photographer Jethro Marshall

Build bridges, create collaboration, start a movement with like minded people. We are more powerful as a group, harness cognitive diversity.


Defuze magazien gets to interview with the seasoned British photographer, Jethro Marshall, a self-taught British photographer who worked his way up the fashion ladder from working in a warehouse in Nottingham to working for the likes of Diesel and Paul Smith. Jethro’s journey is not quite typical but certainly very inspiring. Check it out.

  1. How did you get into photography?

Well I loved fashion media and was hooked on The Face, Arena, Sleaze Nation etc I was equally inspired by the advertising and editorial. I knew that I wanted to be fundamentally part of that image making process.. in whatever capacity.



  1. You work in various disciplines within fashion and design. Could you tell us a bit about them and how was your experience working for the likes of Diesel and Paul Smith?

Briefly, I worked in various warehouses in Nottingham just to get into the fashion industry.. that led to shopfloor jobs, which led to working for Paul Smith which led to London, which led to working in PR for Paul Smith and understanding media, styling, journalism and the power-process of magazines (pre social media of course). Was lucky to work for Diesel in the mid-late 90s when they were influential in advertising and understood more about art direction, storytelling, image.

  1. Are you self-taught or did you study photography?

Through a journey then of shoot direction and production for bigger brands, I then switched over to actually shooting the work myself in around 2012 (quite late), this was when digital photography and digital media were reshaping the whole fashion communication platform and everything was more democratic… I realised that I had learned so much from working with good photographers that I should be able to make it work.

  1. What was your first major shoot that became a turning point for you?

Hmmm, not sure.. I would say shooting a Studio Nicholson campaign gave me enough credibility to be taken more seriously by more premium brands.

  1. Do you have any favorite shoots among the countless ones you have done so far?

Favourite shoots tend to be the ones with smallest crew, nicest people, least pressure… thats not always easy in commercial photography.

I guess a StoryMFG editorial shoot down near where I live was pretty good.

  1. How much has fashion and photography scene changed over the past two decades in your experience?

A lot, see above. Im not an expert on fashion, and didnt come through the classic ‘fashion editorial’ route, so cant comment on trends/ styles much; only that street style has permeated upwards to high fashion and the likes of Aries, Palace, Supreme have equal status/ desirability as Celine, Bottega etc which is a good thing probably. Similarly collaborations have huge currency, with brands & deisgners doubling their networks. Whats changed in an industry sense is that 20yrs ago brands and designers would shoot 2 seasonal campaigns p/a – but now they shoot 10 times a year. Hence production budgets have gone down but frequency has gone up.

  1. What is the biggest advice you were given at the start of your career that helped you in your path to success?

Well I think it was the opposite, it was people saying ’stay in your lane’ ie pr, marketing, production not to aspire/ pretend to be creative. That inspired me.

  1. Whose work you found inspiring in your early days of photography?

Juergen Teller, ease and lack of pretension in creating aspirational images.

  1. Any young photographers whose work you like and why?

Sekyii, his work is real.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers today?

Focus on a niche, become expert in that niche. Famous for that niche, promote that niche, get others interest in that niche, own it.

  1. what is your creative process like when arranging a shoot?

Location, Clothes, Model. In that order, I love place and environment…

  1. A lot of your work in shot outdoors and we love that about your photographs. Any particular reason for that?

Yes it adds another layer of visual stimulus, of reference, of story… plus shooting in good natural light means you can be quick, agile, mobile… and not consrtained by kit.

  1. You have shot a lot of big brands and names. Any brand or person you would love to work with?

So many, feel like Ive not started yet tbh, Id love to work with Margiela. With Bodice, with APC, with White Mountaineering, with Jacquemus

  1. What are you currently working on and what lies ahead that you are looking forward to?

I have an art based self publishing practice called West Country Modern. This is a more architectural and landscape approach to documenting the environment around me. Im working on a new book and exhibition called, Worship Street, about buildings of faith.

  1. Based on your diverse experience what advice would you give to young designers and brands trying to establish themselves?

You always get told to follow your dreams. Be relentless in pursuing your own goal etc. Whilst this is true it can often mean treading on people on your way and burning bridges. So –

Build bridges, create collaboration, start a movement with like minded people. We are more powerful as a group, harness cognitive diversity, be professional and creative!

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