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Michael Bondanza's Faith Informs His Camerawork At I Am Jax Photo

By Paul Rowe

Michael Bondanza bought a camera for his wife in 2009. Luckily for the people of Jacksonville, Florida, she never used it. Before the camera was shelved away and forgotten, Bondanza decided to learn how to use it himself. Since his daughter was a dancer at the time, Bondanza sought to put his newfound snapshot skills to the test. Before long, he fell in love with the art of photography.

"Once I and began learning how to set the camera manually, I was totally addicted," Bondanza said. "I began buying lenses and watching hours of videos and reading books. Very quickly it became a passion, and in 2014, a successful business!"

Since then, I Am Jax Photo has taken the greater Jacksonville area by storm. As an ordained minister, Bondanza's faith deeply informs his photography style, providing him with a unique perspective that would be lost on other photographers. When capturing the essence of Floridians through his lens, he approaches his subjects as uniquely beautiful individuals created perfect in a corrupted, imperfect world.

"When you know the creator of life, it is in itself inspiring to see how intricate He was in designing everything and everyone," Bondanza said. "The uniqueness of every individual and everything is mind blowing! And to think that some believe such intricate design happened by accident is unimaginable to me."

Photography provides Bondanza with a means for exploring his intense love for humanity. Bondanza loves meeting new people and hearing the captivating stories unique to their lives, and it remains his greatest passion to capture their lives on film so that they can see their beauty through his lens. Bondanza's style is adaptable, inspiring, and grandiose.

"If it's a landscape, I want to capture the magnificence of God's creation," Bondanza said. "If it is a wedding, I love bright, clean, and crisp photos that document the day and capture emotions and feelings that can be relived over and over again."

When photographing a party, Bondanza strives to capture the ambiance along with the action, yet perhaps his most precious work of all has been in portraits.

"I want to capture that connection that best shows who you are," Bondanza said. "I want to capture the very best in people so they can treasure it and share it!"

What Bondanza enjoys most of all about his work is people's reactions to their wedding photographs. The true payment that fuels his passion for photography lies in the ecstatic joy of the bride and groom. From when a bride experiences tears of joy as she scrolls through and sees herself adorned in all of her beauty walking down the aisle, to when a father looks at himself dancing with his daughter, these are the moments that truly reward Bondanza for his hard work.

"This is why I give my best," Bondanza said. "For those special moments that can happen at any given time."

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