Jake Singer is one of the artists represented in our current show, Rolling Along. His featured work documents his time traveling the American highway system with friends, Matt Herzog, David Fort Jr, and Bobby Decker during the Summer of 2021. Curious about his highway time, we caught up with Jake to learn more about his creative process and some of the highs and lows. The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
First off, could you just tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I’m a skateboarder and photographer who likes to live in the moment. My passion for skateboarding taught me a variety of life lessons that I have now applied to my time taking pictures. I would say that my work could be described as ‘documentary’, for I mostly like to take pictures of the scenarios that are occurring around me in my daily life. I usually don’t plan to go out and shoot; I always just have a camera on me.
How did you originally get into photography as a medium? And what do you like about it?
When I was younger I was into filming skateboarding and my camera also had a photo feature, so I was able to switch back and forth whenever I wanted. I never really found a true passion for photography until I started shooting film at the beginning of college. What I truly love about photography is the fact that it can convey both an image and a feeling to the viewer. This feeling can either be what the photographer wants the viewer to feel while they look at the image or what they felt when the picture was taken.
What type of camera do you take pictures with? And what is your prefered film stock?
I mostly take pictures with a Canon AF-10. It’s for sure my favorite camera that I’ve ever had. Almost all of my pictures as of recently have been taken on HP5, but when I use color film I usually go with Gold. I definitely prefer shooting black and white over color.
What inspired you to hit the road this past summer?
I was just getting done with college and wanted to get out and see something new. I was given the opportunity to join in with this crew and see the country. It was a cool dynamic because I had very different relationships with all of these people. I’ve known Bobby since 8th grade, I hung out with Matt twice before the trip, and I met Dave as I was packing my stuff into his car. They had all gone to film school together, which made it very easy to get acclimated. I think the winning combination of traveling the country with new friends was meant to be. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my life after school.
Which photos are the most memorable?
The most memorable photos are the ones no one will probably ever see. This trip was one of the best times of my life even though it was pretty hectic. I took so many pictures of things that may have been inside jokes or just something stupid that I liked, and those stick out to me the most because I took them for us and not anyone else. Also all of the photos that I thought would turn out sick but didn’t because I was using an autofocus camera will always hold a special place in my heart.
Similarly, what is an experience or event that sticks out in your memory?
What stuck out most to me was our morning spent in Roswell, New Mexico. We woke up in a Walmart parking lot and drove over to this lake for an early morning swim. The combination of a dirty windshield and the height of the sun made it harder for me to drive, even with sunglasses. There was good music going and I heard some songs I had never heard before. Once we got to the lake, we were surprised to see a triathlon was starting, but we still had a solid thirty before they started. We were non-stop laughing, just swimming and enjoying ourselves, not a single worry. That swim was one of the most physically and mentally refreshing experiences of the trip. Something about the freshwater locations we swam in during our stay in the South West made them all so beautiful in their own way.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently in the home stretch of completing a new collaborative zine project with 7 talented friends, titled “LOTTERY”. It highlights the chances and random occurrences we run into while shooting with film, while also displaying the work of people who may not always see their work in this physical medium. I’m also working on my third personal zine project, but that is still in the very beginnings since my focus has been more on this collaborative piece.
Jake Singer’s work is included in our current show, Rolling Along. The show is currently on view at PhotoLounge Gallery through February 27th.
Rolling Along was printed in PhotoLounge’s Print Lab with no cost to the featured artists. The exhibit has been made possible with dues from our Film Club members. For just $8 per month, everyone can join the film club to save on film processing and grow our community in Philly.