Photographer Spotlight – Alan Jacobs
Alan Jacobs is a Des Moines, Iowa based photographer. He has won local, national and international awards for his images. His images have appeared in publications, galleries, homes and businesses around the world.
“In the 1980’s I purchased a Minolta x-700 camera. I didn’t know how to use it very well then, one day, I decided to find out how it all works. I read the manual and took it off program mode. I never looked back. The family at Alexander Photo have been so incredibly supportive of my photography. When I first started taking images and learning how to take photos I entered a couple from my first rolls into the Iowa State Fair and won honorable mentions. I needed to learn more, but I took a series of slides to a different photo store to be printed and they all came back looking horrible. I talked to the people at another now closed store and they told me it was me and that I didn’t know how to focus. I thought that could not be right as my slides looked sharp. The other store lead me to believe I just didn’t know what I was doing and basically needed to give up. Distraught, a few days later I went to Alexander’s Photo, back in the old corner shop on Ingersoll Ave..”
I know they are going to help me out when those odd questions come up and support their products with knowledge.
“I met with Steve. He took a look and asked if I had them use inter negatives? I had no idea what he meant. He explained and showed me all about slide printing, Ilfochrome, inner negatives, loupes and over the years much much more. That changed things for me. I decided NOT to give up as suggested. It came down to finding someone that knew what they were doing and were willing to help me. Since that moment I have gone in with some very odd questions and have always been steered in the right directions. I owe a lot to them. The experience, help and support is one of the main reasons I always drop by for my purchases. I know they are going to help me out when those odd questions come up and support their products with knowledge. Even though I have been taking images for a while now, I still have much to learn from them. Until lately, I was more of a traditionalist with photography. By that I mean I would just use slide/film/plate and do my own darkroom work. I would also use antique cameras for some images. Only in the last few years moving most of my work to digital, but I still break out the 4x5s and film cameras every now and then. When taking images I look for compositions, unique perspectives and research the weather, sunrise, sunset locations etc. to be in the location I need for the images. I also have side projects of experimenting with Light Painting and Street Photography. Lately I have been doing some work for hire work Light Painting cars, trucks, motorcycles etc. for clients.”
Alan’s photography is broad in scope. Taking images of landscapes, macros, flowers and wildlife to everyday street scenes. He has photographed on both coasts but primarily loves to focus on the Midwest and the Great Lakes. “I love the variety you get along the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. You can see huge waves crashing against large tall cliffs, gentle streams flowing through forests, soft sandy beaches to the full city environment of Chicago.”
Alan’s images range from straight from the camera to heavy contrast processing. “I came across a old darkroom book and started reading through it recently I noted the way that selective contrast was being used to bring the images very dark. It wasn’t something that struck my interest years ago when I bought the book. Just a couple months ago I was doing research online into famous street photographers. I found a website that was using the technique for portrait work, mainly famous people images and a couple of street portraits. I dusted off that old darkroom book and started looking at applying selective contrast to street photography and landscape images,”
Alexander’s footnote: Alan is a great student of photography, as in- he just keeps stretching & growing his art ! He takes his art & skills seriously, but is humble , humorous, and oh the stories !
We have appreciated Alan for many years and support him in any way we can.
See more of Alan’s amazing photos at www.cameraexpressions.com.