Jason’s grandfather immigrated to Manhattan and opened a camera shop, which triggered a multi-generational interest in photography. Born and raised in San Francisco, Jason learned the principles of exposure, light and composition from his father during summer camping trips. An excitement for motion picture grew during the production of his local cable access television show, prompting him to pursue a film degree at UC Santa Cruz. His first job out of college was working the night shift as a news cameraman.
Disillusioned by the limitations of the broadcast world, Jason was compelled to leave news and pursue work in film and television. Jason trained as a camera assistant, first as a film loader and later as a focus puller. Having worked and learned from accomplished cinematographers, Jason transitioned into working full time as a Director of Photography. In 2010 he shot his first feature film, Coldwood, directed by Justin Baird on location in Alaska. Soon after, he worked on Scott Kirschenbaum’s documentary, A Soapbox in Haiti, profiling Haitian activists in the wake of the tragic earthquake. Jason has since shot several feature films, documentaries, music videos and commercials.
Jason’s commercial work includes national campaigns for major brands and the web series 100 Years of Fashion, which Variety Magazine praised for its “270 million views . . . making it the most watched fashion series ever.” Industry magazine, Film & Digital Times, published an article profiling Jason’s ingenuity for machining camera lenses for Seth Lael’s music video, On The Road. Films Jason has photographed have screened at major film festivals and have won prizes in cinematography.
Cinematography is a true passion of mine and I feel fortunate to have found such a stimulating career. I find every aspect of filmmaking fascinating, from the collaboration of artists to the science of optics and light.
My job is to help the director define visual language. Filmmaking is a collaboration and it brings great satisfaction to assemble a talented crew who enables visual storytelling. It’s key to create a calm and comfortable space for actors to open-up and feel free to embody characters. Overcoming obstacles, solving problems and discovering art is the best part of my job.
I’ve always been a do-it yourselfer, not for the faux financial benefit, but for the sense of pride and satisfaction in achieving something. I build my own camera parts, re-house vintage lenses and hope, one day, to design and grind my own optics. I believe in the personal touch and the power of fusing one’s energy into the craft. Gaffer, Yann Duarte whom I respect dearly, once told me, “The great films are comprised of many small details, and it’s the small details that make great film.” I think of these words often and encourage experimentation, taking-chances, bold decisions and tending to every detail no matter how big or small.