We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Lavan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
With nature photography (or almost any photography for that matter) its as much about art as it is about business and with nature photography it is also about teaching. These three things are the reason I wanted to start my business. To collect beautiful images of the natural world and share them with others. To teach those who have interest about whatever fascinating creature might be in the photograph.
If someone ends up purchasing an image that’s great but I find that, that is a lot more likely to happen if you teach people about what they are looking at and get them excited and invested in nature. So, I started my business to reconnect as many people as I can to nature and potentially give them a moment of calm everyday when they get to enjoy one of my images. And that calm is something sorely needed these days.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Photography is different then most art forms in that it often informs as much as it may feed our need for beauty. My images are often beautiful but I always make sure that there is information attached to each photo describing to the viewer what they are looking at. If your going to turn people back on to nature, which is my mission, you have to get them invested in what they are looking at.
That is done through education. What excites me the most is taking all my talents: photography, teaching, writing, leading naturalist trips, lecturing, curating photography exhibitions and bringing them all together as often as possible in as many different ways as possible thus reaching as many different people as possible, especially children. If the planet is going to allow us to continue to inhabit it we are going to have to find different, smarter, kinder ways to do things. The first thing we must do is respect all creatures equally.
Not just all people, not just all mammals: Every living thing. For me success is not measured by how much money I make but by the number of people I reach and have a positive effect on. Promoting the beauty of the planet and trying to defend it is never easy as so many of us believe that owning material things is a sign of success. That greed is the answer. It is not. Kindness, sharing your love of something. Helping people understand the bigger picture. That is why I do what I do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I don’t know about a whole week but the perfect day would be: getting up early and going down to the beach in La Jolla. There is a restaurant called, appropriately enough, The Marine Room which is right on the beach. The snorkeling (or scuba diving ) just off the beach there is some of the best in California even for amateurs. You may see Leopard Sharks, Tope Sharks, Horn Sharks, Bat Rays, Diamond Rays, Guitarfish and even Sea Turtles if your lucky all of which are completely harmless. That will work up an appetite so we would go get one of the best breakfast burritos in town at Vallartas Express on Genesee.
Their salsa rojo (red sauce) is addictive. Then for the afternoon either Birch Aquarium, the San Diego Safari Park or the San Diego Botanical Gardens depending on which my guest would most like to see. Dinner at Enoteca Adrianos on Cass Ave. in PB for some of the best homemade Italian food in town. Especially their pasta and barrata specials. Then if its still light out back to the beach to watch one of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. A perfect southern California day!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To my mother Susan who gave me an innate curiosity for nature and my wife Jaymie who shares my love of nature everyday.
Facebook: Underpressure Nature Photography
Youtube: underpressurespurdog or Jonathan Lavan
List of Photographs:
1. Wild Mustangs- Guatay, CA
2. Western Bluebird- San Diego, CA
3. American Crocodile- Banco Chinchorro, MX
4. Whale Shark feeding- Bahía de los Ángeles, MX
5. Pink Anemonefish- Koror, Palau
6. Willet at dusk- La Jolla, CA
7. Long-billed Curlew- San Diego, CA
8. White-lined Sphinx Hawk Moth feeding- Borrego, CA