It’s amazing how many talented riders and people come from the Portland, Oregon area. I recently came across Jason’s work when he shot the photos for Bruce Crisman’s interview a while back. I was really stoked on the photos so I decided to hit up Jason to see if he would be interested in doing a fresh photo gallery for us. When I saw the photos, I knew we had to do an interview to go with them because they were so good. Luckily, Jason was up for it all and here we have it! Check out Jason’s interview below, then hit up the PHOTOGALLERY to check out a bunch of his photos! Let’s get into it.
Name: Jason Finn
Location: Portland, OR
Years riding: Rode as a kid up until college then stopped and got back into it about a year and a half ago.
Years shooting photos: About 2 years seriously. Before that, when I was 14-19, I was shooting a lot of night scenery and underwater black and white photos. Then I stopped for about 4 years and just really got the passion for it again about 2 years ago.
What first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
When I was younger the 7/11 in my town used to carry RIDE. One night I bought a copy for a camping trip and boom, that’s what started it all.
How did you get into photography? Was it because of BMX?
Took a class at my school and loved the darkroom. I think that was one of the major reasons why I stopped shooting for a while–I was doing less and less work in the darkroom and eventually was unable to have access to one.
What was your first camera?
A Canon AE-1 that I got for $40 at a police auction.
What is your current set up?
Canon 5dmkii, Canon 70-200mm, Canon 50mm, Sigma 15mm, 2xCanon 580 exii flashes, a Einstein 640 flash, and Pocket wizard’s.
Do you have a dream setup or are you pretty content with what you have? What would you want to have if you could have that dream setup?
Pretty stoked with my setup right now. But if I had a little extra money I would probably get a Hasselblad.
Who are some of the riders you get to spend most of your time shooting with these days? Any up and comers people need to keep an eye out for?
I probably shoot with Codie Larsen and Bruce Crisman more than anyone else.
Over the year you have had the opportunity to shoot with a good number of pros. Living in Portland definitely produces a lot of opportunities. Who are some of the riders you have had the chance to shoot with?
With Chet being up here, pretty much the entire Wethepeople team and most of the Pros living up here.
Care to list a few riders you have always wanted to shoot with but haven’t had the chance?
So many to name but a couple would have to be: Russel Wadlin, Ruben Alcantara, Stefan Lantscher, Dave Thompson, and Geoff Slattery.
Who are some of your biggest influences when it comes to photographers?
BMX: Jeff Z, Dolecki, Hadrien Picard, Scott Marceau
Non-BMX: Matt Lingo, Tak
Do you have a preference for what you like to shoot? Trails, street, park, contests, etc.? What do you wish you could shoot more of?
I’m really open to shoot whatever. I REALLY wanna shoot trails, and I think it’s all going to work out come summer.
Do you ever get burned out on shooting photos? What are some of the things you do to keep things fresh for you?
I get more burnt out on riding around with a heavy camera bag than anything, ha! Luckily enough whenever I wanna shoot with someone, we set it up to be more of a cruise around and ride together and if we stumble upon something I’ll pull out the gear. So everything is real laid back and all about having fun.
I know pretty much all serious photographers are always working on trying a new style of photos. What are you currently teaching yourself these days?
Mostly been working on studio stuff. Just been messing around with different types of product stuff.
Based on your portfolio site it looks like you take photos of more than BMX. What all do you shoot? Do you get into weddings, senior photos, and all that stuff?
Pretty much everything is related to the cycling industry, whether it be Road bikes or Townies. Also tend to shoot a lot of photos of my two dachshunds, haha.
What is it about BMX that makes you really love shooting it?
The rush you get when you see your homie going big and you’re the one to capture that moment. Also, the people. I have meet a lot of awesome people and have had some good times with them! (Pete + Casa Diablo)
What’s the weirdest thing you have been asked to take pictures off?
Nothing too crazy. I was asked to shoot a Lesbian football team calendar, but I wouldn’t consider that to be that weird–I do live in Portland.
Have you had the chance to travel much to shoot photos? Where are some of the places you have had the opportunity to go? Where are some places you really want to go at some point.
YES! Last year made it out to London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Also went on my first ever BMX trip up in Washington with Wethepeople, which was amazing. I worked all night, slept for a couple of hours, then did a 5/6 hour drive in the morning to meet up with everyone in Bellingham, WA before anyone woke up.
Let’s say you get some massive budget to take any 5 riders anywhere in the world for a week to shoot. Who do you bring, where do you go, and why?
Chester Blacksmith, Paul Cvikevich, Codie Larsen, Dave Thompson, and Matthias Dandois. I’m thinking motorcycle trip through Mexico to Baja, shooting photos along the way and just having a awesome time. I’ve never meet Dave Thompson or Matthias but I’m a huge fan of their riding and they seem like they would be a lot of fun to do a trip with. Plus, imagine all the awesome lifestyle photos on top of the riding ones!
Did you go to college for photography? Do you feel like it’s important to go to school if you’re looking to get into this profession?
I never got a degree or certificate or anything but I went to Community College and then the Art Institute (which I dropped out of). The CC was pretty awesome and had the best darkroom in the state. Lately I have been looking at a local photography working space to take a couple classes.
Do you do this for a living or are you working other jobs to make ends meet?
I wish I could do this 24/7 but no, I am a Sushi Chef at a restaurant downtown.
Care to share a story about a really memorable shoot? Anything sketchy or crazy ever happen to you?
Haven’t had anything sketchy or crazy happen (thankfully), but a really memorable shoot would have to be the first time Chet and I shot a photo. It was my first time ever going to Burnside Skatepark. Chet pulls up in his red truck with a cig and coffee, walks up and says, “I’m trying to think of something that I haven’t shot here before… so what do you think about shooting me doing a 50/50 stall on the big wall? I think that might be cool.”
Where do you want to take things in the next few years with your photo work?
I wanna keep shooting and having a blast. I want to travel more and just have awesome adventures funded by my photos.
What kind of advice do you have for up and coming photographers?
Well considering I’m still a up and comer, I’m still learning a lot. Best advice I would give would be just have fun with it!
How can people check out more of your work? Do you have a portfolio website? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.?
Do you have any shout outs or thank yous?
So many… I would like to say thanks to my parents and my girlfriend Meg for all the support. Patrick for always supporting me as well, and Tyler Short and Chester Blacksmith for making all of this possible. If it wasn’t for all of these people, none of this would have happened. And a thanks Kurt for this opportunity and to everyone that has ever let me shoot photos of them!