John-John de Lisle was born March 2, 1990 in historic Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The visual impact of the city was to influence his career choice for the future. When John-John turned 15, his family moved to the rolling hills of Belgium and the village of Vliermaalroot. Surrounded by farms and woods,
John-John graduated from a nearby high school. To expand his horizons, he went to Spain to study graphic design at the Design School. Not completely satisfied with his graphic art studies, John-John felt compelled to study photography to express his creativity. He changed schools and began a photography study at Luca School of Arts in Genk. John-John quickly discovered his love of the interaction with the people he photographed and saw photography as his ‘ticket to the world’.
John-John de Lisle’s first assignment as a student photographer was to capture the image of an aid organization in the African Congo. His travels took him to the port city of Pointe-Noire aboard the anchored hospital ship, the “Africa Mercy”. On board John-John discovered the anguish and joy of real life photo reporting as well as the care and warmth from the staff radiating throughout the ship. One week with Mercy Ships in 2013 was to influence his view to a bright future and to jump start a career that led him to other assignments in Belgium (Tevona), Holland (Artsen Zonder Grenzen), India (Liliane Fonds), Sri Lanka (Liliane Fonds) and Ethiopia (Light for the World).