Bright Eyes: A Q&A with Photographer Jabari Jacobs

Photo Sep 22, 3 18 25 PM

A look to Jabari Jacobs’ book gives you a clear idea that the man is fun, has a penchant for pops of color, and enjoys things on the glossier side. When you think about those characteristics together, the parallel to shooting hip-hop stars seems only natural. You may recognize his work from his cover image for The Internet’s most recent album Ego Death. Most recently, Jabari pointed his camera toward our cover star Anderson .Paak. What he’d rather be shooting? The inflatable Shamu in your pool.

How’d you get started in photography? How long have you been shooting?

My older brother is a film director. He would sometimes need an extra assistant, so I had to learn basic camera settings in order to work on set. After I learned a little bit about cameras, I started taking photos of my friends and uploading them to social media mainly Tumblr. My photos started to gain traction online and I started to fall in love with the art. It all happened pretty fast and was very unexpected. Growing up, I never cared or even thought about photography. I’ve been shooting for three years—two years professionally.

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What camera/lens do you use?

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III with 24—70 mm 2.8 and an iPhone.

Do you prefer film or digital?

Definitely digital. I’ve never had the patience for film. With digital, I can see instant results. I don’t want to wait on photos to get developed, and then there’s the possibility of a perfect shot being ruined by something minimal, something that could’ve been adjusted at the shoot. I do like shooting instant film, though.

What do you like best about your LA neighborhood?

Everything I need is so close to me. I’m originally from P.G. County, Maryland and everything is so far away.

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Track you can’t get out of your head?

“I’ll Call You Back” by Erykah Badu.

Favorite music to jam out to while you’re shooting?

Anything by Drake.

How would you describe your work?

If you gave a unicorn a camera and access to the internet.

Dream campaign or collaboration?

I’m a huge Pharrell fan; it would be crazy to be able to work with him one day.

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Favorite person/subject to shoot?

I love shooting inflatable animals. I just shot a life-size inflatable zebra that came out pretty cool.

What are you doing in five years?

I have no clue. I just hope I’m happy.