MEET. Jermaine Beckley

© Jermaine Beckley

Meet San Diego based landscape and nature photographer and APA member, Jermaine Beckley.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I don’t consistently listen to podcasts, but during lockdown I would listen to a lot of Jim Kwik during my walks outdoors.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
I follow Dan Winters because I’ve always enjoyed his work, but I get my inspiration from @Kodak, @Ilfordphoto, and other hashtags I follow mostly.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I don’t usually listen to music while shooting, but I’ll listen to mellow sounds to get me in the mood while driving to where I want to shoot.

What inspires you?
Nature inspires me. The more I learn about it the more fascinated I am about how similar everything is. 

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
Seeing a potential image everywhere I go.

When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
Music, bowling, working on my vehicle, however most of the time if I’m not making a photograph, I’m thinking about how to make the next photograph. I can’t turn it off.

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
I honestly think Pre-Covid my routine was all over the place. Now it’s more scheduled and I’m more focused and not taking things for granted.

Who were your biggest influencers?
In life, it’s my dad. In photography and I know it’s cliche, but Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks, and Vivian Maier. I love their stories and storytelling.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Study art and not just photography.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Having one of my photographs sold at an auction was a pretty cool experience. The challenges were trying to shoot everything instead of focusing on one genre.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I served in the US Navy for 20 years, however photography was picked up during that time.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I probably would have been a musician as I played music most of my childhood.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I’m always learning and sometimes I go back and look at some of my images I didn’t think too highly of with a fresh set of eyes.

What is your best advice for your peers?
Learn your gear! Great photographs are still being made with old technology. You can’t buy your way into getting better at seeing light.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
I wish I had found a mentor when I first started in the 90s to help me learn how to see. I’m still fascinated by photographers back in the day who have produced incredible imagery without things like YouTube and online courses.

What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
I still believe the still image is incredible and I still believe teaching others about composition helps to tell the story.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
I hope to have an exhibition within the next five years. It will take hard work, but I’m up for the challenge.

To view more of Jermaine’s work you can follow along here.