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Adam Jahiel is curious. He’s curious about people, and the things they know and the paths they take.
Adam takes photos, but he would describe his picture taking as “exploring.” Starting in oceanography school, he quickly fell in love with underwater photography and changed paths to start taking photos. It stuck.
“I realized that I really like roaming around and going places and meeting people. The camera is a passport to explore.”
He’s photographed the Titanic wreck, the streets of Kyrgyzstan, the people of Cuba, and the mountains of Wyoming. Through his work, it’s easy to tell that he takes great care to capture not just the visual, the image, but the moment. Somehow, Jahiel is able to capture and print a feeling and an attitude, an experience. Of all the things he photographs, people are his favorite.
“I’m terribly curious about the world and in other people’s lives. Plus, it’s the perfect job for an old man to run around sticking his nose in other people’s’ business.”
Adam considers himself primarily a “documentary photographer,” because that’s when he feels he’s at his best, is when he’s able to document a moment, to make that accessible for someone who can’t be there with him on whatever adventure he’s found himself lost in. Again, the pinnacles of Jahiel’s adventures find him in people.
“I could meet somebody on the street or an airplane or at a party and I could learn something about them but if I have a camera in my hand and I’m documenting them, I really jump off into the deep end of their lives or whatever situation is at hand. You spend time uncovering layer after layer after layer after layer, and instead of chit chatting you end up getting down to the nitty-gritty.”
He’s proud of his photographer’s demeanor, which he’s identified as being different from his everyday attitude.
“We all wear different hats, and some hats in our collection might be polar opposites. When I’m doing photography I’m a super patient person… and in my day to day life I’m a lot less patient when dealing with everyday stuff.”
In addition to his patience, he’s observed a comfort that people find in him as a photographer.
“Whether it’s natural or it’s something I’ve developed over the years, I think that my personality, my aura puts people at ease. They don’t feel threatened, they don’t feel like I’m taking something from them, they don’t feel like I’m trying to put my brand on them.”
For some reason, telling people they’re wrong, even when they aren’t, makes you feel good in some kind of shabby way. But, as much as we hate to say it, he is right. Adam Jahiel is just a good dude. He’s always looking for ways to learn something, for a conversation that he can have and a connection he can make. He’s the best at that when he’s taking pictures.
“I’ve learned that I go into the zone, and I really like the zone. Nothing exists but the potential of the picture and my subjects. Time doesn’t matter, it’s just all about trying to capture an image and trying to see into something.”
Adam has a passion for people and what makes them tick. He knows that each of us is different, and he wants to learn about as many of us as he possibly can. So, if you run into him, talk to him. Shake his hand and make a connection with someone who’s been all over and has come to call this place home. You won’t regret it.
Check out more of his photos on his website.