Wherever he is, photographer Jake Horn makes sure that he's able to capture the light peering through the carpeted sky. It's a fascination with photography and nature that he just can't shake off. It's overpowering and empowering at the same time and we can only imagine the joy it brings him whenever he gets to capture the image that is in his mind's vision. We have different reasons why we pick up our cameras. In this short interview, we learn all about Jake and his love for the art and the outdoors.
Hello, Jake. Welcome to the Lomography Online Magazine! How did you get started on your photographic journey?
My love for photography started the summer before starting high school. During my first job, I saved up enough to buy my first Nikon compact and began running rolls of film through it. I found it intoxicating to get shots back from the lab and discover images that came out the way I envisioned. Photography transitioned from an interest to a passion during college, where I had better access to nature.
How would you define photography?
It's creating images of your vision during a brief moment in time. When done correctly, by someone who has honed their skills over years of practice, it can be a true form of art. The only difference from painting is that a painter can create anything from their imagination, where a photographer must balance imagination with what nature is providing.
What do you like most about it?
My favorite part is being out in nature chasing the perfect shot. When I’m shooting in rapidly changing light, my brain is hyper focused trying to plan for all the variables. After I feel that I’ve captured a proper image, I get a euphoric sense of accomplishment.
Your landscape shots are just awe-inspiring. What goes on in your mind while you're creating your images? How do you prepare for your shots?
I never feel like I've planned enough for a location, but it's tough when you’re traveling someplace for the first time. I spend time googling images to get location ideas and see what has already been done, and avoiding those clichés. While shooting, I watch the light and make adjustments on the fly. That consumes much of my concentration. Basically, I put myself in a beautiful spot at the right time of day and explore the potential.
Do your travels affect the way you take photographs? How?
Honestly, I think my photographic preferences affect the way I travel more than ever. I prefer shooting landscapes, but will practice street photography in the city and story telling shots while traveling.
What's your favorite destination?
I’ve found Wyoming to be one of the most beautiful states in the country. It offers many alpine hiking opportunities without the usual National Park crowds.
Why choose film for your creative work?
When I switched to digital in its early years, I noticed my interest in photography steadily dropping. There was something about having unlimited shots and instant feedback that took the fun out of it. I realized that I missed experimenting with different emulations, pushing and pulling, and living with the imperfections. Shooting film, more than anything, forces me to become a better photographer. I could go into my thoughts on the ephemeral "look" of film, but I just like it better.
How do you see the film photography/community in the next five or ten years?
I see it staying about the same as it is now. The industry won't see more growth until the major players start bringing out new film hardware and emulations. I’m hoping that Kodak’s reintroduction of Ektachrome ignites more excitement and builds market confidence.
What was the greatest advice you've ever received concerning your photographic career?
I find a Galen Rowell quote very helpful on those cold morning and rainy days... “You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on this planet”. Many times, it's the motivation I need to get out there and shoot (when some of the best light is available).
What challenges you to create?
Sharing my photos on my website and Instagram has pushed me to create better quality and in more quantity. I think you need to be sharing your work and opening it up to criticism to grow as an artist.
When it comes to gear — do you think having a certain setup affects your ability to produce quality content?
I definitely think having the right tools for the job are required. My gear selections come down to what format to select (35mm, medium format, 4x5) and then what focal lengths are needed for a specific location. I’ve found that getting hung up on what camera brand, or which lens is better, to be a net loss in productivity.
How does a perfect day look like for Jake Horn?
Waking up in my sleeping bag and opening the tent to see a dynamic sky getting ready to light up. After shooting through sunrise, there’s nothing better than coming back to camp and making some hot coffee to enjoy the morning.
Lastly, what's next for you?
It’s hard to say, not sure how much of a professional career there is in landscape photography, but for me it’s a passion, not a job. As long as I can still get film and get to secluded spots in nature I’ll be happy.
We would like to express our gratitude to Jake for supplying us with the photos and letting us feature his images in the Magazine. If you're interested in his work, you may head over to his Instagram and website for more.