Solvang resident Jeremy Ball is a semi-finalist in the Character category in a unique photo contest put on by Canon and Ron Howard. The contest, titled Long Live Imagination, called for photographers of every experience level to submit inspiring photos based on Project Imagination, the first photo contest to inspire a Hollywood film.
The eight theme categories include the following: setting, time, mood, relationship, goal, obstacle, the unknown, and character. One photo from each category will be used to create a film inspired entirely by the eight winning photographs. The public was asked to vote for the most inspiring photos online through YouTube earlier this month. Over 39,000 entries were submitted for just half of the categories. Ron Howard and his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, will team up to create the short film after the winners are selected. The film is set to premiere in New York City later this year.
Jeremy Ball answered some questions about his entry into the photography contest.
How long have you been doing photography?
I’ve been taking photography seriously over the past two years. One of my first serious projects was in Ghana, where [the photo that made me a semi-finalist] is from, when I went with the Jesse Rohde Foundation. I’ve been gaining steam in the photo industry and now I work for myself running Photography by Jeremy, [which is] portrait work and bottle branding [in which I focus on] wine and food photography businesses. Most of my business comes from the food and wine industries. My grandparents owned their own photography business for over 35 years, so I guess it’s in my blood.
How would you describe your photo?
Right place, right time. On my trip in 2007 to Ghana, West Africa, I found that the kids were amazed to see their picture in my camera’s LCD screen. When I walked past this little guy, he smiled so I took his picture and showed him. He wanted me to take another so he held up his alphabet and stared into the camera with this great serious stare. He was a natural. I couldn’t have posed it better. It wasn’t until arriving back home that I realized that the image could take on a deeper meaning. This image now speaks to a global desire for education and access to higher learning.
What inspired the photograph?
The inspiration for the trip was to gain perspective on how reality (on the other side of the planet) differed from mine. I had recently gone through some serious life challenges and needed a fresh perspective. Upon arriving, I of course saw severe suffering and tragedy, but the thing that rocked me was the niceness and sense of community that abounded. Most had next to nothing but they took care of each other. The playfulness of the kids and the pureness of their eyes was my photographic inspiration. The trip changed my attitude and continues to inspire me. It still serves as a reminder that I really have nothing to complain about.
Why did you choose to enter your photograph in the Character category?
I just felt that this photograph captured a wonderful set of eyes focused on something we all take for granted: reading. Each and every kid loves to imagine.
How do you think the photo will be interpreted when it comes time to put the film together?
Should I make the final cut, I’m not even sure I could begin to think what Ron Howard would do with this image. I would like to think that the image could be interpreted as push for global reading education. Imagine growing up without the ability to read! If we could help lift more kids from across the world to an adequate reading level, perhaps we would see marked improvement in all facets of their societies and levels of health.