Behind The Lens: Peter Jamus Captures Otherworldly Glimpses of His Memory

Peter Jamus' work epitomizes duality. He uses a harsh contrast of light and shadow to shroud his images in mystery. Mixing enchanting landscapes and gritty urban settings, he is able to captivate viewers by finding a brilliant balance between the two worlds in his portfolio–a style he refers to as “a compromise between illustrating dreams and making them a reality.”

Peter first became interested in photography while attending an art-focused high school and has been hooked ever since. This fascination with photography coupled with his thirst for traveling has left him constantly looking for his next adventure. As a photographer, he captures his personal memories while satisfying his constant surge of wanderlust, allowing both to integrate conceptual elements into his body of work. We were happy to catch up with a behind the lens look into his images.

Tell us a bit about your journey into photography.

I was a bit lost in my teenage years. It wasn't until I received my first digital camera in 2007 that things started to make more sense. I then attended an arts high school and became infatuated with the media arts. Even before then, I was a "MySpace Era" kid who enjoyed making complex layouts and playing around with design and photo manipulation on Photoshop.

What are some of your interests? 

Train-hopping, cliff jumping, dune-diving, learning from older/wiser strangers and old folk, eating potatoes and hoping I'm at the right place at the right time with my camera. I try to live viscerally and without regrets. That being said, I have never broken a bone in my body…yet (incoming jinx), which is quite impressive for the kind of person I am.

Where are you based?

The last 6 months? All up and down the Pacific Northwest. Portland more specifically. The past 23 years? Minneapolis, Minnesota, and (when I had the cash) wherever the road or opportunity would lead me.

What keeps you inspired? 

I get inspired by the outdoors, by elemental things; the rain, the fog, the sand, the sea, the forest…etc. I look for contrasting elements in life, be it the great outdoors or in the middle of a bustling city. Ironies, movement, bursts of light… collecting what I can with my instrument of choice.

What was the first photograph that really made you proud to be a photographer?

Working for Prince. It was an honor just knowing he has looked over my images and liked them! Unfortunately by contract I cannot use or show those images, so you'll just have to trust me.

Take us through a typical day of shooting.

Wake-up, hit snooze a lot… coffee, repeat. Then I get on my bike and get out there. Working with clients or musicians, my main focus is to get to know them and make them comfortable. I'll make them do stupid things just to loosen-up and snap photos in-between those dorky moments.

What is your favorite shooting location?

In Nature: The Redwoods. In the City: A good mix of derelict architecture and natural/artificial light if possible. In the studio: something different which pokes at social norms.

What challenges have you faced while creating?

I've almost been robbed plenty of times (especially when I was in Peru and downtown L.A.), so there's that. I'd probably have to say the main problem, as a more fine-art-focused freelancer, is how hard it is to find the right clients who not only pay you what you deserve, but give you the right opportunity to be 'your kind' of creative.

What's a must have in your gear bag?

Some kind of idea-pushing prop or element. Also I try my best to keep a spare battery. You never know.

How much post processing goes into a completed photo?

Depends if it is a manipulation or not. If it isn't, all I'm doing is cropping, contrasting & adding structure to make it pop, as well as desaturation or selective coloring if I decide to keep it in color.

If you could define your style, what would you call it?

A compromise between illustrating my dreams and making them a reality. Close memories, music, motion, in-between personal moments of friendship & a lot of back pain traveling to get to the right spot. Usually in monochrome.

What would be your dream location?

A portal to my brain. The best ideas and locations are there. In real life (at this very moment, subject to instant change) I'd have to go with a train ride throughout Europe, stopping whenever I wanted. 

What are your plans for the future?

India is the main thing on my mind right now. I'll be there for 5 months in October. Besides that I am working on a few music videos & hope to have my first gallery series coming up soon!

 Thank you so much Peter! You can check out more of his work on his website.

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