Jake J. Thomas Photo

Multimedia Storytelling



Digital Photography and Honesty 

The word photoshop used to mean to alter in a fictional way. To say something was photoshopped was to suggest there was something invented or fake about it. Things were removed or added that weren’t actually there. One response to this is to fully engage in composing fictions, as Gary Irving does in his work. While they are lifelike, realistic in representation, they are never meant to be seen as scenes that really happened, but are fantastical visions more along the lines of Dave LaChapelle. Other photographers have used photoshopping techniques in photojournalism to great effect, such as Pedro Meyer. There’s nothing about photoshop itself that has to be used for artifice and it wasn’t a necessary technology for doctoring images. The Russian propagandists under Stalin continually erased important figures from official photographs after they were purged by the State.  I’m more interested with my work to investigate honesty rather than the questions of fictionality. I don’t consider myself a photojournalist. I use photography for a variety of different purposes, but the main one I’m interested in is as a way of expressing my feelings. Photography is a way of writing love letters. Ultimately, these love letters are to the divine, to the mysterious force of creation and being. They are little ways of expressing gratitude and wonder, of investigating the unknown. To photograph for this purpose is to use the world as a mirror. It is to engage in an extroverted form of self-reflection and introspection. In this way it is very similar to abstract expressionist painting. It is in this way that photography becomes an abstract art form.

Hungry for Love

Thinking about the #WaterProtectors on this day dedicated to love, during the Hunger Moon-the coldest month of the year in this hemisphere. Only through our desire to respect the environment will we overcome the significant challenges we face. Now is the time for renewable energy. Now is the time to let go of fossil fuels. No more pipelines. No more tar sands. Solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy are more than adequate to fulfill our energy needs. Now is the time. Let’s make a change. Barney had this idea that if everyone on the planet thought the same thing at the same time, then anything could happen. I believe it is true. We’ve never been more divided and we’ve never had more reason to come together.


Power Like Water

The Oroville dam is about to bust. Somewhere near 180,000 people had to be evacuated, but that is just the start of the problems. People are losing their homes and there’s no telling how far that water will spread once it is set free. Water is like power is like money. It flows freely and seeks its own level. It is only with major acts of engineering or natural acts of geography that it is ever stored in one place in large amounts. So many of the tragedies we see today are actually symptoms of deeper problems, of engineered imbalances. Building border walls is like building nuclear power plants is like building dams: all bad ideas with consequences nobody wants to experience. Meanwhile, here in little ol’ Santa Cruz the morning was preceded by flash bombs and helicopters. Was it a raid in the planning for 5 years designed to arrest truly violent gang members, or was it a raid on immigrants without the right legal paperwork?
One day, sometime not too far away, this cave will collapse. It kinda makes you appreciate it more when you think of that.


Being Loyal

  • jjt-bpt-january-2017-2Loyalty is a rare value, today. Values in general are scarcer and scarcer in this age of vanity and digital complacency. What is loyalty? It’s both what you will and won’t do. It’s with whom you will and won’t share your time and energy. Loyalty is the foundation of trust. If you are loyal to me, then I can give you the best of me, because I know if I need it, then it’s coming right back. Loyalty is what makes families strong and the lack of it is what causes us to falter. Being loyal is vowing to never betray those who matter most to you.


Novels and Forward Thinking Publishers

Levi’s from Outdoor World

If you want to feel kickass it helps to look badass. We all know that. When it comes to Californians and jeans, Levi’s have long been a go-to choice. California kids grow up wearing 501s and they still appeal to the kid in us no matter what decade we’re in at this time. That’s the power of classic style: Levi’s were cool before we were born and they are still the same jeans.


Tough enough for working in the mountains, stylish enough to wear at the beach, Levi’s are a great example of  function and form working together in harmony.




October Moon Food


Smoked meat is an art form, no question. It’s one that anyone can appreciate, but also one that has layers of appreciation to it. Like wood-smoked ceramics, there is something so organically beautiful about smoked meat that it is a language of its own. People who are in the know understand that the characteristics of the smoke and the vortices of heat and flavor it creates are ideal for creating one of a kind batches of meat/jjt-asb-1-october-2016-3

Mission St. and Aptos St. BBQ both are world class BBQ joints. The smoked meats are so good you don’t need sauce or anything else besides a fork and knife. Tri-tip, a cut first BBQd in California, takes to the smoker especially well.jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-2

The Cremer House is something special. It’s a hub of innovation and creativity in food and drink. While it is housed in the oldest building standing in Felton, it has undeniably brought Felton more fully into the contemporary culinary world. Elevated comfort food is a very American idea, and the Cremer House executes this high-low postmodern concept fluently and brilliantly.jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-4jjt-cremer-1-october-2016-6jjt-msb-6-october-2016-bigjjt-msb-6-october-2016-2

This week in food. We have the ocean, we have the mountains, we have the redwoods, we have the coastal bluffs. We have a temperate climate. We have the world’s best Cannabis. We have food. How could we not? The nation’s bread basket, we are an agricultural hub of the world. So much good stuff grows here, it is only natural that we would have great food.

Modify your Light

Being a photographer means working with light and there are a lot of ways to add to or change the lighting in a given situation to achieve a shot you want to create. In this series of photos I show how the same composition looks with three different lighting options. 

  1. Photographing the camera with no light modification 
  2. In the next photo, I added some filter to soften the light with a diffuser 
  3. This final photo shows the composition with a diffuser to filter the light and some continuous lighting added to fill in the shadows

Strawberry Baskets

This is a testament to the power of the Sony Alpha 7ii. I snapped a quick photo at the farmers market yesterday and it era badly overexposed. Because the file size is so big, I was able to adjust the settings to recover all of this color.

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