Jonathan Bourla has never been formally trained, however he has gained invaluable experience and insight from the likes of Ansel Adams and Howard Bond. In 1997 when he travelled from New Zealand to attend a workshop in America run by Howard Bond, Howard realised Jonathan couldn’t learn everything from a single workshop so he gave him a whole book’s worth of notes to take home.
These notes, together with instructional books written by the great American photographer Ansel Adams, formed the basis of his education. Both Howard and Ansel believed you had to be in good control of the technical aspects before you would be in a position to express yourself creatively. Adams had created a system called the Zone System which allowed you to calculate ideal camera settings and film development times. “It was very difficult to grasp from Adams’ writings but became clearer from Bond’s notes. Many people apparently give up on the Zone System as too complicated but it formed the basis of my photography’s technical side for many years.”