Doug Jaeger on How Photography Passion Plays Into Creative Career
In Chapter 11 of 17 in his 2012 interview, entrepreneur Doug Jaeger shares how a childhood passion has progressively developed into an income earning resource. He shares examples of how he is learning, both on the job and in daily life, as he captures his world on film and shares the experiences with family and friends. Doug Jaeger is the co-founder of JaegerSloan, a multimedia design services firm in New York City. His street front office doubles as the JS55 Gallery.
Erik: What role does photography play in your life? Doug: Well, I've been shooting photographs since I was a junior in high school. My father, I guess took some photography classes in college and there are photographs in our house that were ones he had taken and he had printed and framed. And I'd always seen that as something that was important to me and I've always thought to carry a camera or take pictures. And, you know, in the life stream of a creative person in their business, you either become a photographer or you're not a photographer. That's just kind of what it is and if you're a photographer, you're a photographer, you can't be a creative director at an agency and a photographer, just not how the industry works, or what they -- how they expect it to work. And so I found myself when I was a Chiat\Day, I bought a light kit and I bought an expensive camera, I had like, light stands in my cube. And people looked at me like I was this crazy person. And now that I am currently being hired as a photographer with my partner, it's kind of validating in that all the investment I've made in my life to understand cameras, understand how they work can now be applied at a professional scale to earn income so that we can live, it's a really exciting time for me to be working that way. I don't think I have a reputation as a photographer, I don't know if I want a reputation as a photographer, but I really enjoy taking pictures and I really enjoy creating scenes and documenting them, and so if people will let me do it, and they will pay myself and my partner to do it, that's fantastic, from a commercial perspective. I think recreationally as well, I'm excited to be able to spend more time taking pictures, I think the iPhone and the iPhone 4S, the version that's available now, the camera quality is really incredible, and it's made composition something that’s really easy to practice on a daily basis, and I've been using Instagram along with the camera application that comes with the phone for the past year to just take pictures whenever I can. And it's been a great way to form a dialogue with my friends. I'm not much of a writer, not much of a reader, and being able to take pictures and share them across the globe, my friends in London who -- friends in China, who can see everything that I'm doing and what I'm seeing and it makes our dialogues when we see each other so much richer. Because we can see everything that we've done. It's become a way for me to communicate with my friends. So, you know, on the personal side, it's fantastic. And then professionally, it's sort of evolving. And, you know, I'm more interested in making films than I am in taking still pictures, but I think that today it's intertwined, I mean, that's one of the services we're offering now is to do both, we shoot stills and shoot films in the same setting. And it's been something a lot of clients are looking for, so we're doing that and it's been fantastic. I mean it's a great language to have and to be able to use. So it's good.