About Me 2017-03-02T08:13:52+00:00


Look close and you’ll see me there on the right with my family back in 1984, an old Polaroid camera hanging heavy against my neck, and a failing attempt to mask my moments-before-sulking from a failed attempt to hold that damn-heavy camera steady. Oh, man … I can still taste that frustration, feel the tears, hear my family chatter around me, all in the agony of a child’s wish just to be stronger; to get my family’s picture just right. Oh man, I wanted it bad. I suppose from an eleven-year-old’s perspective that was a big moment for me – to show off to my family something I loved for unexplainable reasons, want their applause, kind words – whatever – only to “fail” miserably. In one moment, I tear up immersing myself in memories of that moment, and in another passing moment I quietly chuckle at how minuscule and innocent that blip of time was, yet so real to that kid. In a lot of ways I’m still that kid.

Nissen Family Photo 1984

I don’t cry when shit goes wrong any longer. Well – it takes a lot, I suppose. But, I’m still that kid wanting so desperately to get it right. I want this not only for those that I make photographs for, but for myself. Mostly myself. Damn near all me, honestly. What I do with photography is what I would do in any regard. This is that passion thing people murmur on about in the quiet corners of their lives, and on boisterously-loud, big stages to inspire those who have lost theirs, find it once again. It’s popular.

I’m fortunate in two regards: 1. I know what this passion is and I’m in its mix. 2. It earns me money. Obviously I’m more fortunate than in two small ways, but this isn’t a brag-about-Jeff section.

Or, is it? It is. My passion in photography took a slow simmering start and only now feels like I’m nearing a boiling point. From my early days in high school – learning about SLR film cameras, negatives, darkrooms, printing paper, and chemicals – to college where I first used an SLR with autofocus that blew my mind, I have been romancing the different fields of photography. Early on I dreamt of National Geographics. I still do – let’s be honest. Certain sports intrigue me. Street photography interested me like a hard-core high school crush, but is now more of an interest like checking Facebook to see if that crush is still hot. I suppose without droning on … landscapes, astrophotography, long exposure, lifestyle, and portrait photography have long been my photography mix-tape go-to’s. They will always speak to me and lure me in and I will gladly and excitedly walk into the light.

Jeff Nissen

Jeff Nissen Photographer, Santa Cruz, CA,
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