Tipton Native Jason Graves Has a Sharp Focus on Photography
For Tipton native Jason Graves, photography is a way to leave a lasting impact. While it’s not his primary occupation, it is an important focus in his life. He finds that photographing a diverse variety of subjects while exploring different genres develops strong connections within the community and beyond. As a photographer for the Towne Post network of magazines, which includes Tipton and Kokomo magazines, his photos help to inform readers on local individuals and businesses.
“I grew up in Tipton County and I’ve lived here my whole life,” Graves says. “Recently, I purchased land and moved near Total Seed Production. I’ve worked 25 years for Chrysler, and my wife and I are currently raising a blended family of four teenagers who all attend Tri-Central High School. Photography is an extra side hustle that I enjoy, and every year I seem to do more of it.”
Graves developed his interest in photography by doing a favor for a friend who was selling livestock, and needed photos of a herd of cattle that was being sold. As a child his family raised cattle, and Graves participated in 4-H livestock programs. He soon realized that taking photos of cows isn’t an easy job.
“The black hides of cows mess with the meter inside a camera,” Graves says. “White ones tend to be underexposed. I found I had to think like the meter of the camera. A camera can do amazing things in auto mode, but with cows I had to compensate for nature. I really liked the challenge and started to learn the fundamentals such as depth of field. When my kids came along I started getting into lighting. I’m basically self-taught, but I have taken some online classes and attended a few in-person workshops. Today I use both digital and old-style film cameras, such as a 35-millimeter camera that was my dad’s.”
In recent years, Graves has found himself split between shooting commercial-style photos and street photography. He enjoys being the photographer for weddings of family members and friends, as well as sporting events or parties. Besides being a contributor to church bulletins, he has carved out a niche producing local corporate headshots, including more than 150 Chrysler employees for the company’s website and printed material.
“I like the interaction with people,” Graves says. “Headshots are easy to do. All I need is a white, gray or black background. What I really enjoy is senior portraits since I get to see the kids with their families during the process. Photography for Towne Post has been interesting because I get to know people in the community and hopefully will get a chance to reconnect with them again. While doing the shoot for Rustic Roots [Salon], I remembered co-owner Amy Robinson did the makeup for a wedding I had photographed.”
During the pandemic, Graves has found time to explore neighboring communities and document unique streets, landscapes and architecture. Although still formulating the idea, he hopes to someday produce a book featuring photos from Clinton, Howard, Tipton and northern Hamilton counties. Until then, his work can be viewed on social media platforms and his website.
“I don’t want my photos to die on a hard drive – I want them to have a purpose,” Graves says. “After I retire, I am hopeful that photography will be my second, full-time career. I’d also like to teach photography, especially to high school kids.”
For more info on the photography of Jason Graves, visit JasonGravesPhotography.com or call 765-438-3007.