Preparing for the upcoming event “Sidebar: A Series of Observations”, we had a Q & A session with photographer Charles Jacobs about his work.
How did your passion for photography begin?
My interest in photography began 40 years ago when I took a high school photography class and held a part time job as a stock boy at a photography store.
In class, we shot black and white film and focused on the basics: exposure, shutter speed, aperture, film speed, and bracketing. We developed and printed what we shot. I particularly liked dark room work, especially dodging, burning and cropping. Watching an image appear in a tray under the red glow of the dark room light was thrilling.
The two most important lessons that I learned in high school, that I still follow today, were: 1. film is cheap, so take a lot of photographs; and 2. capturing an image was only the first step of the process of creating a photograph, with developing and printing images equally important.
At the camera store, several of my co-workers were photographers that generously shared their knowledge with me. The storeowner, a family friend, let me borrow photography equipment to experiment with, which was a great way to learn. At the store, I became friends with an older customer who invited me to go out and shoot with him. On those walks, I discovered the joy of a photography walkabout.
How has digital photography influenced your photography?
Digital photography gave me control over the process of creating a photograph. The ability to control all aspects of a photograph – from cropping to white balance. It gave me back my dark room, but without the chemicals.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
I enjoy making photographs, and it is part of who I am. For me, photography is a relaxing escape as well as an intellectual challenge. I like composing with color, light, and shadow and capturing images that most people do not see. While I enjoy finding images to photograph, I also enjoy figuring out how to capture the image through framing, composing, and focusing in a specific way, and by manipulating the depth of field, and shutter and film speeds.
What makes a photograph successful in your eyes?
A photograph is successful if the colors, patterns and textures that I capture all working together in harmony to create a single, beautiful composition.
Meet Charles Jacobs in person on Friday, April 10th 5-8pm during “Sidebar: A Series of Observations” at Renaissance Fine Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information, https://www.merrittgallery.com/events/baltimore/
Charles Jacobs’ photographs are available to view and to purchase at the galleries.