Pat Jakobi, Galveston Art League vice president, got hooked on photography 40-some years ago. She has segued from film to digital, but not without a regret or two, and she respects the groundbreaking work of some famous old-school photographers.
Jakobi sells her artwork locally and participates in member and juried shows of the Galveston Art League; she also has been a Featured Artist of GAL. The Galveston resident has received first- and second-place awards and honorable mentions in juried shows at the Art League galleries in Galveston and at the now-closed Texas City GAL gallery. Jakobi shoots many Galveston scenes as well as wildlife and landscapes. She recently traveled to South Dakota, where she lived in the 1970s, to retake photos to replace earlier images that had deteriorated because of the processing technique used at that time.
Here’s what she says about her art and her personal art history.
Q: How long have you been a photographer and what triggered your passion for photography?
A: My father, Ralph “Jerry” Doyle, had been a photographer for the Los Angeles Times and, although (or maybe because) he died when I was only two, I wanted to follow in his path. I was always the kid with a camera, although nothing sophisticated, in high school and college, but life intervened. For the next 10 years, my photography was primarily limited to snapshots of kids and family, and then my husband brought home a Pentax K-1000, taught me how to use it, and I was hooked. That was about 1975.
Q: What types of camera equipment do you have? What’s essential to someone who wants to be serious about their photography but is just getting started?
A: I still shoot Pentax, now with a digital single lens reflex (SLR) K-70. I use both Pentax and Tamron lenses, mostly a Pentax 50mm, a Tamron 28-300mm zoom, and a Tamron macro. Camera equipment is expensive. There is nothing wrong with learning how to take a good photo on your cell phone, but don’t stop there. And if you buy a camera, get one with a viewfinder if you can afford the extra cost.
Q: Do you work with film at all anymore?
A: No, but I miss it. With film, the challenge is the camera; with digital, a lot of that challenge passes over to the computer. When you can take 100 shots and pick the best, a lot of the thought process behind a photo is diminished.
Q: Do you have a favorite subject and/or what subjects most inspire you?
A: No, I really don’t have a favorite subject. I shoot whatever interests me when I have a camera in my hands.
Q: What is your biggest challenge to get right?
A: I am not really technologically savvy about digital cameras. If I improved my expertise, I might quit complaining about them.
Q: Are you ever without a camera?
A: I don’t carry my K-70 around with me, especially since cell phone cameras have improved. Humidity and salt air destroyed my Pentax K-1000 after fifteen years of carrying it around in Galveston.
Q: How much do you use a computer on your digital photos?
A: I try to limit my editing in Photoshop Elements to the kinds of things that one used to do in a darkroom: lighten, darken, crop, dodge, and burn. But I also like the capability of turning a color photo to black and white or sepia, especially with photos of old buildings and monuments.
Q: Where have you sold your photos?
A: At the two Galveston Art League galleries and at the Galveston Island Market downtown on the third Saturday of most months. My cards are also available at the Galveston Bookshop on 23rd and at the Old Galveston Trading Company on Postoffice Street.
Q: Did family/friends encourage you? Who has been most supportive and how? Do they still encourage you?
A: My husband and my son, Dietrich, have always been my strongest supporters. My son is a very good photographer and we often trade images.
Q: What is your educational background as related to photography?
A: The only educational background I have is a course taken way back in college in art composition that touched on both painting and photography.
Q: What piece of advice would you give a novice photographer?
A: Learn how to use the equipment you have and don’t let the wonder of computer editing lure you until you’re ready for it.
Q: Do you have a goal you’re striving for? Like the old saying goes, “Every day in every way [I want to get] better and better.”
Q: Do you have a favorite famous photographer? If so, who and why? Definitely Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Mathew Brady, and my father’s great sports photos. Also, although not known for their photography as much as their skill in other areas, Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll and Thomas Eakins. They all tried to use photography to tell a story about the human condition.