Photographer: Joan Ilejay @joan___of___art
Model: Lu Jane Yacoub
Styling: Christy Burton
Studio: 1910 Studios, Bahrain @1910___studios
Fragile things is dedicated to my parents.
They were kind, loving and accepting.
My name is Joan Ilejay, I’m currently based in Bahrain. I took up Fine Arts back in college. The
first time I realized I wanted to take photos was when I found my Dad’s old film camera, a
Konica auto-reflex. I fell in love instantly. The sound it made when I turn the lever and the loud
clack when you pushed the button. It was a different rush of excitement for me. I loved it, but
at the same time I was young and didn’t understand anything. Thinking it was just a passing
hobby, I put a pause to that era in my life. That same year, I got into a fashion company as a
textile designer. I had the opportunity to learn a lot about fashion. My dormant passion burned
once again only for a different thing. I got more involved in the industry and with the
photoshoots that needed to be done. It was igniting every cell in my body and pushing me
towards what I feel I should be doing. I researched on photos, photographers and what not
trying to understand and imitate how and why photos are pleasing, trying to refine taste. I
came across Jean-Paul Goude. He is a visionary, a person who really knows what he wants and
goes for it. He would draw his visions on paper and recreate them through photography. It blew
my mind. For a second, I saw myself in that direction. I told myself I wanted to be Jean Paul
Goude. To be a visionary. I still have a long way to go and I doubt I’m even an inch of what he is.
But I know I’m working hard to get there.
2013, I decided to go back to the Philippines and my partner became a photographer. Since
then we would always work together hand in hand whether he’s shooting or I’m shooting. He
would support and push me whenever I go through creative blocks. We were always together.
Our friends are amazing too. Something I didn’t think I would make in the industry. It made
photography even more special to me.
Fast forward to 2021, my partner Kevin, Yohan our friend and I now own a photography studio
here in Bahrain. Despite the pandemic we didn’t stop. Whether it was shooting online around
the world or shooting with an unbreathable mask under the middle eastern summer heat, we
never stopped. I want to be better than I was before. I want to be a great visionary that I saw
myself to be.
Fragile things is about those breaking and shattering easily. It’s about acceptance and moving
forward. It is about letting go.
When I asked Lu Jane to do this shoot with me, it wasn’t my intention for it to go into this
direction. We had a completely different mood board but as the shoot progressed it felt
You can find most of my work on instgram at @joan___of___art and @1910___studios