10 minutes with Jeff Wilson

Interviews with Photographers December 27, 2012 10:09 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I took photojournalism in high school and fell victim to the old print-coming-up-in-the-developer trick that has lured many a young photographer into the craft, but I don’t think I ever considered it as a profession until my second year of college.  That was about the time when I started to look at photographs critically and really appreciate it as both an art form and as a possibility for the future, as well as the time that I started to meet people that had made photography their life’s work.  It just started to make sense.

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 6.40.15 PM
Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 6.41.26 PM
Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson


Who were some of the first photographers that inspired you, and who is inspiring you today?
Robert Frank was a revelation early on.  I don’t think I got it the first time I saw The Americans, but it was so intriguing I just kept looking until one day it clicked and I never looked back.  From there, I fell in love with the work of photographers like Gary Winogrand, William Eggleston, Bruce Davidson, Jacques Henri Lartigue, and Harry Callahan.  After I graduated from college, on whim I took a workshop in Santa Fe with Dan Winters.   That meeting eventually led to me working for him for 5 years and to an ongoing friendship that I count among my closest.  It was pretty humbling going out on shoots with him.  I realized at that point how little I knew about what it meant to be a photographer.  I would call Dan the biggest inspiration to me both then and now.  He’s endlessly, exhaustively creative.  A true artist.
Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson


Are you currently working on any personal projects?
I’m a big college football fan and I had been wanting to do a photo essay on the game day experience for a while.  I pitched an idea to The Alcalde, which is the alumni magazine of the University of Texas, to shoot everything except the actual game.  I ended up shooting at most of the home games for the year.  It was just published last month and I’m pretty proud of the outcome.  Currently,  I am planning a road trip along the east coast.  The area itself holds a lot of interest for me, and the solitude and the feeling of being a little bit lost are very inspiring.

 

Jeff Wilson - from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson – from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson - from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson – from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson - from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson – from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson - from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson – from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson - from the series Gameday

Jeff Wilson – from the series Gameday


What do you love most about living in Texas?
I’ve been a lot of places, some for extended periods of time, and no matter how great they are I am always happy to come home to Austin.  It has an overwhelming youthful enthusiasm and energy that carries into every aspect of its culture.  There is a pervasive feeling here that anything is possible for anyone with an idea.  It also has the odd quality of being a pretty large city, but you can still hit the road and in 15 minutes you are in the middle of nowhere.  Texas as a whole is so geographically diverse it is easy to be inspired visually by it.  You can go from dense urban areas to pine forests, to high desert, to the ocean, all in a days drive.  It’s changed a little bit for the worse in the last 10 to 15 years with the massive influx of people, but in my mind even at it’s worst its still better than anywhere else.
BULLETS AFTER BEING FIRED INTO A WATER TANK FOR BALLISTIC ANALYSIS - Jeff Wilson

Bullets after being fired into a water tank for ballistic analysis – Jeff Wilson

SELENA'S HAND-BEADED BUSTIER AND LIPSTICK COVERED MICROPHONE, TEXAS MONTHLY MAGAZINE - Jeff Wilson

Selena’s hand-beaded bustier and lipstick covered microphone – Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson


Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
I’ve been asked that by people just starting out and I try to be as uplifting as possible.  Its pretty daunting. There are no roadmaps and most people in the business already look at you as a threat and would rather you just disappear off the face of the earth.  I would never pretend to understand how I got from point A to point B or how I will hopefully make it to point C in the future.  I know there’s a juncture at which preparation, hard work, and a little luck come together serendipitously and make things possible.  There are lots of very talented people who will never make a dent due to a lack of one or more of these.  I think the best piece of advice I could give at this point is that you will succeed the day you decide that failure is not an option.  That resolve is the only thing that will get you through the indignities you have to suffer in order to get through to the good stuff.  It’s what will determine if you become a professional or remain a tourist.

 

(Jeff is based in Austin, Texas. See more of his work, here)

Leave a reply

required

required

optional