MEET. Jamey Stillings

© Jamey Stillings

Meet Photographer and APA | San Diego member, Jamey Stillings.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@andyandersonphoto, @michaelclarkphoto, @raniamatar, @itsreuben, @danielbeltraphoto, @kathyryan

What is your camera of choice?
I work extensively with both Canon and Nikon systems, on the ground and in the air respectively. Also, I shoot Sony for some situations… I really love the little Sony RX100vi! But, I can imagine shooting with (at least thoroughly testing out) a FUJIFILM GFX 100 in the not-too-distant future. I want to take one up in the air and see how I like working with it from a helicopter!

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
The sounds of the helicopter or airplane and the pilot’s voice…

Who were your biggest influencers?
OMG, there are so many! One thing about loving photography is being passionate about looking at, and being humbled by, the amazing work of others. However, looking at the imagery of others does not necessarily mean being influenced. For instance, I love the work of many other aerial photographers, both historical and contemporary – William Garnett, Emmet Gowin, Daniel Beltrá, David Maisel, Kasper Kowalski, Ed Burtynsky, for example… but when I am in the air, my vision is personal and intuitive.

As for other photographers being super human beings, I am blessed with great photographer friends around the world. Their vision, kindness and generosity always amaze me.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I majored in art & art history in university, and then got an MFA in photography. My early steps, in the world of photojournalism, documentary and commercial work, grew out of these opportunities to learn new technical skills and develop a personal approach.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Empathy, intuition, distillation

When were you first introduced to Photography?
I got a Brownie camera in Cub Scouts that I took on school field trips and family travels. In junior high, my friend and I built a darkroom using dad’s WW2 equipment. Guess it has been awhile…

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Knowing why you photograph and what to photograph is more important and challenging than learning the technical side of the medium.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Earlier in my life, I would have said an architect. At this point, I would seek other ways to focus on the important issues surrounding critical environmental issues, especially climate change. I love seeing great examples of “appropriate technology” – simple, low impact solutions to reduce our individual and collective impact on the planet.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I spend quality time with the family, and/or get on my road bike, go skiing or hiking. Getting out into the analog world is an amazing way to reset the psyche, soul and body!

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I have a lot, but a few include: Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Code Switch, This American Life, Latino USA, Revisionist History…

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness. Always push to do you best and most creative work. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
For more than 25 years, my personal mantra has been:

Each moment of choice is both an opportunity and a sacrifice.

If I could go back ten or twenty years? I would push even harder on my personal projects, my personal creativity, and always trust my intuition.

Check out more work from Jamey Stillings.