All images by Jonpaul Douglass. Used with permission.
It’s rumored that before he died, nature specialist and television personality Steve Erwin tried to document a creature that was so elusive because it dwelled in inner cities. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to do so; but recent sighting by LA based photographer Jonpaul Douglass have brought us closer to studying the creature in its natural habitat.
We’re totally joking here.
Photographer Jonpaul Douglass has stirred up a bit of internet viral nature for himself with his special project documenting sightings of the rare wild pizza. No, we’re not kidding about that part. In fact, his work has gained him the recognition of major pizza chains across America.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Jonpaul: It was somewhat accidental. One of my friends got a digital camera and was taking some really nice black and white photography and it looked like fun. I got an entry level DSLR and became obsessed. Once I discovered off camera flash and realized I could make stills that looked like movies, that was it for me.
Phoblographer: What got you into conceptual work like this?
Jonpaul: I think just wanting to create constantly led me to staging my own scenes. I would always be coming up with ideas then I would put them in a mental queue and just make them when I have free time.
Phoblographer: We have to ask: where did the inspiration and the idea for pizza in the wild come from?
Jonpaul: It came from Los Angeles graffiti. I saw a pepperoni pizza tag in the middle of a clean wall one day and I literally laughed out loud. I also photographed it of course. It sparked the idea of planting pizza throughout Los Angeles.
Phoblographer: How did you think up the scenarios that the pizza is in?
Jonpaul: I am constantly roaming around and surveying the LA landscape. I will see opportunities and make notes in my phone to so I can return later with a pizza. Sometime I just think them up as well and just make them in my neighborhood. Many of them are inspired by scenes I stumble upon.
Phoblographer: Every photographer tries to express themselves creatively with their photos, but what exactly are you trying to get across here?
Jonpaul: I don’t think there is a specific thing I’m really trying to convey here. What I have noticed about this series though is that it seems to be universally well received from many walks of life. Some people think of it as a meme, some people think of it as art, I feel I’ve accidentally melded to two and the internet seems to be interested in that.
Phoblographer: Why is the pizza always alone or depicted as looking sad and lonely?
Jonpaul: I don’t think of it as lonely or sad. I’ve always thought it like a rare wild animal that has been caught. The images where there are multiple pizzas maybe seem less sad and more creature like.
Phoblographer: Do you secretly hate pizza? It brings many a millennial glorious times!
Jonpaul: I love pizza just like everyone else. Over the years my friends and I have always joked about being obsessed with it. Now I see it wasn’t just us but the entire internet either is obsessed or likes to pretend that they are. It’s fun either way.
Phoblographer: What do you want to do with the series? A photo book of some sort?
Jonpaul: I reached out to a publishing company that I thought might be interested and they responded that it’s better in a digital form. That was my only attempt but I’d be interested in making a little book, I’d probably make another 20 pizza photos just for that. Right now there are around 50-60, which is kind of crazy when I think about it.
Phoblographer: Have any companies approach you about advertising for this?
Jonpaul: I was talking to Little Caesars for a little while. The social media person really wanted to do some type of collaboration with me but couldn’t ever figure out how. Dominos has also given me some shoutouts on social media. Some smaller companies have also shown interest but nothing has really worked out as of yet.