One of the coolest parts about doing this website for me is getting the chance to find out more about people I’ve never met and what they do. I came across Pete’s name and work when I did an interview with Jerry Vandervalk. Pete had some real good photos of Jerry, and I was impressed with his work. I decided to look into it a little bit more, and then decided I needed to get ahold of this dude and ask him a little bit more about his work after seeing his Flickr. Luckily, Pete was up for it, and now it’s here for you to take a look. Find out a little bit more about this photographer, check out some of his work and then leave him some love in the comments!
Name: Pete Jaques
Location: I come from a city called Toowoomba, which is about a one-hour drive west of Brisbane, Australia.
When I was younger I guess I rode for roughly 6 years solid, but I stopped riding for a while to knuckle down on my photos. However, I’m pleased to say that at 27 years old, I have recently bought a new bike and I can re-live my childhood again haha.
I think it’s been roughly 7 years for me now.
Lee Van Bruinessen
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
I think it was probably a few of my classmates I went to school with back in ‘97. A lot of them were either into skateboards or bikes. I was always a pretty quiet kid at school and was never really into the whole party thing, so BMX was basically my way of socializing with others. I used to spend hours each day in my street learning tricks or riding with mates at the skate park. I even remember my mate Mitch & I used to go down to the park on Christmas day in 40-degree heat and ride all day. They were the good old days for sure.
What was it that first got you interested in photography?
Back in ’02 or ‘03, my girlfriend at the time used to lend me her dads Sony digital camera and I’d go take photos of my friends riding. It was basically one of the first digital cameras on the market here back then, and because it was so easy and convenient to use compared to film, it really got me intrigued. I also had a background in web-design, so it was a natural move to combine everything together and share my work online.
Would you say you got into photography as part of BMX, or was it just something you had interest in and brought the two together?
There is no doubt in my mind that I owe my interest in photography to BMX. It’s quite funny actually because I recall hating the few photography classes I had in high school and thought they were pointless. It was probably because I’d associate photographers with bird watchers or school portraits haha. So to cut a long story short, BMX basically made a boring thing interesting in my eyes.
Did you go to college at all for photography? How long did you do that for?
As far as my photography goes, I’m completely self-taught. However, after I finished high school, I went straight to college to complete a Diploma of Multimedia Design. It was a one-year course that covered fields such as web design, graphic design, and video editing. That course was amazing. I then went on to University to study a Bachelors Degree in Multimedia Studies and it was the biggest waste of time ever. I didn’t want to drop out of it because I’d put so much work in, so I hung in there and got my degree after 3 years. I really regret doing that course, but I was at a stage in my life where I didn’t know what I wanted, so I just went with that. Hindsight is a killer haha!
What’s your current setup looking like these days?
I’m really happy with my setup at the moment. I think all photographers will agree that there is always something extra they’d like to buy, but for now, I am very content. My kit is as follows…
Canon 5dMk2 SLR
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 DX Fisheye
1 x Pocket Wizard Plus Transmitter / 3 x Pocket Wizard Plus Receivers
2 x Vivitar 285HV Flashes
1 x Canon 580EX II Speedlight
V8 ’65 XP Wagon
What’s your dream setup? Could you ever see yourself getting your hands on it?
I love my 5dMk2, but if ever Canon brings out a revised version with a flash-sync faster than 1/200, I will be straight to the shop to buy one. I love full frame, so I don’t think I could ever use anything else. I used to be a gadget junkie that knew every gizmo on the market, but now I try not to get too caught up in the hype of technology these days (I know some of my friends will disagree haha).
Who are some of the riders you have had the chance to work with over the years? If you had to pick a top 5 of guys you especially like to shoot with, who would they be?
I owe a lot of my photography time to my close friends Nick Kajewski & Jerry Vandervalk. I remember seeing those guys when they were just learning how to do manuals and now they are doing tricks that blow my mind. It makes me really proud to call them my mates. Picking a top 5 would be way too difficult for me, but I can safely say I have shot photos of every single one of my rider friends and always had a good time.
Crowd during Parkway Drive gig
What are some of the brands you have had the chance to do some work for?
I haven’t done a great deal of paid-commercial work, but I am a regular contributor to Focal Point Bmx Magazine for quite a few years now and I love it. That magazine is dialed. On a lesser note, I have been burnt a few times with other companies that had given me big promises but they didn’t deliver, so it really puts me off dealing with situations like that now.
Who are some of the riders you would love to shoot with but you haven’t had the chance to?
I guess if I had to drop some names I’d probably go with my childhood idols and say Jimmy Levan or Mike Escamilla.
It looks like you get into all sorts of photo work outside of BMX from cars to weddings, dirt bikes, animals and more. How long have you been doing that?
Yeah I think I could probably be compared to Jim Carey in that ‘Yes Man’ movie haha. I often find myself in situations when people ask me to shoot a photo of something random that I’ve never done in my life, and I’ll usually just say yes to give myself a challenge. I’ve been doing weddings semi-professionally for about 2 years now and they still scare the hell out of me. So many things to plan for and so many things can change in the blink of an eye, especially if it rains. The money is good, but there’s a bucket load of stress to go with it.
I’d imagine you shoot photos for a living, right? I’d imagine you rely on weddings and what not to keep you afloat like a lot of BMX photographers, right?
It’s funny you should ask that, but it’s just a hobby of mine that I do in between my normal day job where I work in an office for a large transport company. Transport is crazy, and the hours can be demanding in the busy seasons, which usually doesn’t leave me much time to shoot. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting my own business, but it’s a pretty big move, so I’d like to feel confident before I made the transition.
Ford XR Fairmont
What are some of the craziest things you have had the opportunity to shoot? BMX or not.
Just the other day my friend phoned me and asked me to come with him to shoot some car photos. We got to take out a V8 ’65 Ford XP Wagon and a 680HP Chevy Nova and take some shots of them laying down lines up the street. It was really intense because you have the smallest window of opportunity before people report you and risk getting a ticket from the authorities.
Another memorable moment was when we were in a school shooting some street riding and I had the police scanner going on my iPhone. I remember hearing the lady on the scanner saying to send 3 units to the school we were at. We ran as fast as lightning and most of us got away but I think Jerry said that 3 or 4 cop cars rocked up and started asking questions. Most times police or security are ok and let you go as long as you’re polite and respect them.
Focal Point Issue 23
It looks like you have had your work featured quite a bit in Focalpoint magazine. Where all do you contribute to these days?
Yeah I owe a lot to Cooper Brownlee for hooking me up with the opportunity to be a regular photographer for his magazine. It’s crazy how many friends I have made because of it. Aside from Focalpoint, I have done a little bit for other magazines, but they were all in it for the commercial side and not for the love of it. You can usually pick them a mile away when they fail to pay you and they tell you that giving them photos will be great for your portfolio, haha.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
One project I have in the pipeline is getting some non-bmx photos printed onto skateboard decks. I just sent away for my first order and I’m hoping they turn out really nice. And as you mentioned, I’m also a sucker for car photos. I haven’t got a great deal of mine online at the moment, but I would really love to shoot some old classics and hotrods and start putting them on canvas.
Emi-Lou’s ’65 Cadillac DeVille
Who are some of the photographers that influence you the most?
I get really stoked on photos by a duo called Day19. Their shots are just so natural and inspirational to look at. Also the work of Scott Pommier is pretty awesome too.
Do you have a photo site or place where people can check out more of your work?
I tend to use my Flickr account the most and it’s just a dumping ground for any random work of mine. I also post the odd bike photo on my personal website Resident BMXers.
Let’s say a brand would like to work on some projects with you. How would they go about getting a hold of you?
Either via email (PeteJaquesPhoto@Gmail.com) or Facebook would probably be the best way to get hold of me. Or simply add me on Flickr.
What kind of advice do you have for people looking to get into photography?
Hanging out with an established photographer is a really good step in the right direction. You’ll come to notice that there are plenty of neat little tricks that photographers use to overcome certain situations that you won’t find in any books. Also, be modest and respect other photographers or anyone else who can offer you constructive criticism. Every little bit helps.
Where do you see things going in the next few years for yourself?
I really hope to take the business side of things a bit more seriously and perhaps and see if I can make a bit of an income from it. I would also like to get my personal collection of photographs back online again after a long hiatus.
Is there anything I missed you would like to add?
Would just like to thank you for the opportunity to do this interview. I’d also like to thank the Cooper Brownlee, Jerry Vandervalk, Nick Kajewski, Chris Lembo, Shaun Mccarthy, Josh Collins and Josh Fountain for helping me out on a regular basis over the years with everything when we shot photos.
Below, you can find an edit of Nick Kajewski for Tempered by Chris Lembo. The reason this is cool, is because the last clip is the one that ended up as the cover of a recent issue of Focalpoint.