Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Olson.
Jacob, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I come from an artistic family. I mean, my parents met at art school in Minneapolis, for god’s sake. That being said, art, and specifically photography, didn’t come easy.
I bought my first camera during my freshman year of college. I’d gone camping a few times during the fall and wanted desperately to start documenting my trips. Now, after five-ish years of shooting, I am secure enough to admit that my early photographic ventures were … rough.
After dedicating just over a year to get better (still not great) at photography, I studied abroad in Australia. With about two months left down-under, I bought a Nikon D750 in hopes that I’d run out of money for my return trip and be forced to stay in Australia. Unfortunately, I budgeted too well and just ended up with an awesome camera in a beautiful country. I became a “photographer” in New South Wales, AUS.
Since then my goal has been simple. Shoot anything and everything. Weddings? Sure. Landscapes? No doubt. Film-shots of my college roommate slamming beers outside U.S. Bank Stadium? You-betcha.
I describe my photographic style as, “mindless documentation of the moments that move me.”
I don’t shoot to make a living; I shoot out of love for the life I live. I take photos of my girlfriend, my home, my friends, the food I cook, and the memories I make.
Photography has become an integral part of my daily life, and I wouldn’t have in any other way!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t have any incredible stories of having gear stolen or anything like that, but my career has never really perfectly smooth. In the beginning, like any young artist, it took me a long time to really find my photographic identity. Even today, I don’t really believe I have a full understanding of why I do what I do.
As far as material obstacles go, I’ve been lucky to have very few. I hate to reference COVID because a lot of folks went through so much more than I did, but I really hit some financial hard times during the initial lockdown. After two or three months, I was forced to sell every camera I owned, save for my daily-shooter 35mm.
I’m really grateful for the obstacles that I’ve been presented with during my artistic career. One of the things that I pride myself on as an artist is my resourcefulness, which is a skill that I likely would not have developed without being challenged a time or two.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a photographer, with a love for documenting the human experience as I live and observe it. I’ve described my style as “mindless documentation of the moments that move me”. At this point in my career, that direction has produced a sort-of romanticized documentary portfolio. Using my camera, I capture the little things and present them in a way that lets us all appreciate small moments a bit more.
I think my love for analog processes makes me unique, especially considering my usual subject matter. My run-and-gun style makes shooting film a challenge, but I’ve always felt more connected to analog work than digital.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Like I mentioned earlier, my camera fleet took a serious hit during COVID-19. As a result, I got very good at producing awesome work with the one camera that I couldn’t bring myself to sell. For almost a year, I shot with one camera and one lens. That camera is fully manual with a broken light meter, which meant I had to master the sunny-16 rule and really dial in my shooting process with bare-minimum gear.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://jakeolsonphotography.smugmug.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jakeolsonphoto/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jake-Olson-Photography
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JacobAOlson1