Jason is the founder and President of The Copperprint. He’s been landscape photographer for over 30 years, a quality assurance manager for Kodak, and even a helibase safety manager for the interagency’s (forest fires & hurricanes with FEMA). Beyond that; father of JoshFox, builds things after breaking them, and fetches sticks when dogs throws them.
“Black and white photography can evoke a mood—from nostalgia to sadness to yearning, black-and-white pictures somehow convey emotion in a way that color images simply can’t. While the photo may look simpler, a mood of the photo is more intense, making it more emotional — therefore, being forced to focus on the story of an image without being distracted by color & allows concentrating on the subject with no distracting elements. Simply put, a black-and-white photo is like reading a book and a colored photo is more like the movie release — it’s just not the same.”
Arizona is a state blessed with breathtaking landscapes and a rich, unique history. It is no wonder that it has inspired countless photographers to capture its beauty through their lenses. Among these talented individuals is Jason, whose journey as an Arizona landscape photographer began in an unexpected twist of fate.
As a young boy growing up in Southern California, Jason visited his grandfather in Arizona with his family. Little did he know that this trip would ignite his passion for photography. The awe-inspiring landscapes, with their majestic mountains, vast deserts, and enchanting canyons, left a lasting impression on him. There was something magical about the way the natural elements blended harmoniously in this beautiful state. From that moment on, Jason knew that he wanted to explore Arizona further & with a camera in hand. His heart yearned to capture the essence of the state, not only through its vibrant landscapes but also through its unique history. However, as a young boy, he faced a significant obstacle – he and his parents couldn’t afford camera equipment or commit to traveling at the time.
But fate works in mysterious ways. In 1990, shortly after graduating from high school and moving to Arizona, Jason found himself working at a popular camera shop. It was here that his life took an unexpected turn. One day, Senator Barry Goldwater walked into the store. At the time, Jason had no idea who Goldwater was or the extent of his contributions as a photographer to Arizona Highways Magazine – a periodical where Jason would spend countless hours studying about the state. An hour later, Jason sold a camera to the retired senator. It was during their conversation that Jason discovered the remarkable body of work Goldwater had created, capturing the spirit of Arizona through his lens. Not only was Goldwater a skilled photographer, but he was also a pilot, a general in the Air Force, and a passionate advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples – paralleling Jason’s own interests. Learning about Goldwater’s incredible achievements and his ability to document the unique facets of Arizona deeply inspired Jason. From that moment forward, Jason’s aspiration to become an Arizona landscape photographer took on a new dimension. He realized that he wanted his photography to be more than just capturing stunning landscapes; he wanted to tell a story. Inspired by Goldwater’s inclusive approach, Jason made it his mission to create a body of work that celebrated the diversity and rich culture of Arizona.
During the 90’s, Jason’s love for photography remained strong, but the demands of his current job at Kodak as a Regional Quality Control Manager left little time for pursuing his artistic endeavors. However, he was determined to gain more experience and hone his skills as a photographer. With this in mind, he sought out opportunities to work with some of the industry’s most renowned photographers.
Through sheer dedication and perseverance, Jason landed a job that gave him the chance to work alongside legends in the field, such as Jerry Jacka, Jack Dykinga, Josef Muench, David Muench, and Tom Mangelsen. Each of these photographers had their own distinct style and unique approach to capturing the beauty of nature. Working closely with them, Jason absorbed invaluable knowledge and began to develop his own artistic vision.
Among the many significant experiences throughout his career, one that stands out vividly is his involvement in the first complete digital archiving of Ansel Adams catalog in 2001. This groundbreaking project allowed Jason to handle some of the world’s most iconic photographs, from the original glass panes to the Polaroid images that Ansel Adams himself held in his hand. The opportunity to be a part of preserving and showcasing Adams’ legacy was not only an honor but a profound inspiration for Jason.
With renewed determination, Jason set out on a journey to explore Arizona’s hidden gems. From the ghost towns that hinted at the state’s vibrant mining past to the ancestral lands of indigenous tribes, Jason delved into the heart of Arizona’s history. His camera became a tool not only for capturing landscapes but also for preserving the stories that lay dormant within the state’s rugged terrain.
In conclusion, Jason’s path to becoming an Arizona landscape photographer was intricately woven with inspiration, chance encounters, and a deep appreciation for the state’s natural and cultural heritage. It was through the chance encounter with Senator Barry Goldwater and handling some of the most historic images taken by the grandfather of photography as art, Ansel Adamns, Jason’s passion for photography was ignited and shaped into a desire to become an inclusive storyteller. By capturing the diverse landscapes and history of Arizona, Jason’s work stands as a testament to the beauty and profound depth that this state beholds.
The road to becoming an accomplished photographer is often filled with challenges, sacrifices, and moments of self-doubt, including a startup gallery, The Copperprint. However, Jason’s unwavering passion for photography and his dedication to his craft have propelled him forward. With each click of the shutter, he strives to convey the raw beauty and majesty of Arizona’s landscapes, capturing moments that will stand the test of time.
More can be read about his new found ambition here on LinkedIn.
The Copperprint Presents:
The Jason Robert O'Kennedy Exhibit
Contact Jason for inquiries