If you look up Raleigh Static online, you’ll find an array of subjects: fashion shows, skateboarders, musicians, and a lot of events you’ll wish you’d gone to. One thing you won’t find is the face of Raleigh Static. Our featured photographer works his magic anonymously, letting you create an uninterrupted, personal connection with the photos. You’ll still wish you’d been there, but you can tune in to see what you missed. This issue, I was fortunate enough to learn more about our covert photographer and the world that he created.
How did you get your start in photography?
I took a class in 1996 and I haven’t looked back since. It was a black and white photo class, and I spent days in the dark room. When I got my first camera, it wasn’t digital. I don’t have a degree in photography, it’s all self taught (mainly by taking pictures). There was a magazine in the 90s called Raygun, and I used to be a big fan of that. I started to recreate things. I do it all for myself. I don’t do it for the likes, I do it because it’d be cool for me to look at or hang on my wall. I have about 50 frames around my house. It just becomes part of the process. I’m interested in a lot of things, and I use photography as my way to get there.
It seems like most of your pictures on your website are of musicians. What led you in that direction?
It’s balanced out between musicians, fashion, skateboarding, and the city. It kind of comes in and out.Those are things that interest me. I just started going and taking pictures. I never announce that I’m going or that I’ll be there. I always want it to be a surprise. I really like the cool bands that move around a lot and wear the funkiest outfits. I’d rather do that than any big name artist.
Why are you an artist? What role do you think art plays, or specifically your art, in the Raleigh area?
I’m trying to recreate something that doesn’t exist anymore. This is where the Raleigh Static name came in, because people can tune in to their different interests. On old radios you could tune in and before you got the station, you’d get static. I’m a very shy person so the only thing I have is the camera. I’m always behind the scenes. The more that people create, the more it inspires me. I enjoy documenting it.
Where can we see your work in the future? Is there anyone you’d really like to photograph but haven’t yet had the chance to?
If something comes across, it’s like, “I have to go photograph that; it’d be really cool.” It’s more of a feeling than a visual. Raleigh Static doesn’t have a face to it. I don’t have a self-portrait that I’d like to include in it. The pictures that it captures are of Raleigh. I used to be under another name and it used to be on Facebook and Twitter, but then it would all come around to me. “Oh that’s Jason.” I didn’t want it to be about me or my name. I wanted it to be about the feeling. I want the viewer to experience raleighstatic.com. I like to keep the curiosity there. Who is Raleigh Static and what’s it all about? I didn’t want it to be about me. A lot of people think it’s four or five photographers, and it’s just me. This is just me in the world that I created.