The Emotive Photography of Jacob Price

We recently profiled photographer Jacob Price. Jacob creates very personal pieces with his emotions poured into them. By translating what’s in his heart and head into visual images, he allows viewers to see—then feel, emotions as well. Depicting universal themes of the emotions behind loss and sadness, freedom and openness, his images are both cathartic for him, and transforming for those who view his photographs. 

We asked Jacob to try to put into words some of the emotions he was feeling as he created the dark and melancholy images he has titled “Tongue-Tied,” “Climax,” and “Bubble.”

In Jacob's words...


Representation of my emotions can come across being very black and white throughout my photos. At first glance most of them just seem melancholy and seem to come from a dark place in a depressed kids heart when in reality they are the bright side of the story. Working up the courage to do a photo about an emotion is difficult but the ending result leaves me with an escape from that thought. Tongue-tied is the perfect example of this, it comes across as just a cool looking concept with maybe a little depth when in reality it is one of my deepest photos. The release of a thought is what is represented in this photo, however, the title suggests otherwise.

The idea for this photo bloomed when I was sitting in David Talley’s house at the Los Angeles Flickr Meet up. I was sitting in one of the corners of his house with about fifty other photographers. Randomly when I go to say something I over analyze the effect of the words that I’ll be saying. I’m a text book over thinker. When sitting there, surrounded by people, I felt like no matter what I could say would have no effect on people what so ever so instead I sat there drawing and working up the courage to make the slightest small talk. In retrospect is was pointless and just overall silly behavior. I felt tongue-tied (hence the title and concept) but the actual photo isn’t about being at loss for words, it’s just what sparked the visuals.

Rope was obviously the best choice for a prop when it came to this photo. The rope is leaving the subjects mouth (hence the tongue-tied aspect). The photo can mean two things in total. It can either be a person who can’t say what they want to say and is struggling with over thinking (in this case the rope goes into the person’s mouth). The original meaning behind this photo is deeper than the other meaning, it’s about my struggle with letting go of certain pointless thoughts and to stop overthinking. AJ Coley is the model I chose to use because to me he was the closest looking person to me. I chose not to use myself because I didn’t feel like the emotion and thoughts I was feeling at that point in time that inspired this photo were actually “my” thoughts. So in a way, AJ is meant to be my doppelganger.

I’m aware that my photos won’t come across that way to people unless I fully explain them, which is one of the main reasons I don’t explain all of my photos. I have an inner struggle with actually describing what my photos mean and making them fully publicized emotions or leaving them very vague and black and white. I like the idea of my photos being deeper than people assume. This however is a double edged sword, because not all of my photos have the deepest meanings and I don’t want people to accidentally look for a deeper meaning when sometimes there just simply isn’t. So the struggle to make my photos more obvious with a deep meaning is hard and I’m still working that out.



Probably my most intense piece at the time, the message behind this photo is very clear and actually had a very strong impact on a lot of people. My goal behind this photo was not to promote the idea of suicide or send a personal message, it was clearly just to make the viewer feel uncomfortable and on edge. After uploading this photo after about an hour into it being published I got emails and texts from friends asking if I was okay (which I was) but it still had the power to influence people into thinking that something WAS wrong even though at the time I was in a very great mindset. That piece came out during a time when I was fully inspired, happy, and really digging deep into what I wanted my art to be. I look back at it as a small milestone in my style of photography.

My favorite part about the photos are that they’re hardly edited. It was a while ago, but I still remember opening up the document and making only two or three adjustments to each and then pairing them together to create the diptych. Also, I did not edit my skin at all like I normally would have. I chose not to remove any blemishes on my skin or to edit the lighting in an unreal way to make it more real. My goal was to make it appear as if someone walked up and took those photos.

Behind this photo there is really only two things that can change the way you view the photo. At first glance it appears to be someone hanged and already dead, when in fact, it’s meant to be someone NOT committing suicide. I chose to have the feet on the ground to promote just that and if you look at the rope around the neck you can see it is not tight or pulling at the neck at all. It’s meant to promote the idea of suicide without actually being a suicide photo.

Something fun about this photo not pertaining to the actual concept at all is the location in which it’s shot at. The barn in which I took this was actually Al Capone’s accountants barn. I took photos in there for about a week and went on a photo rampage. At the time, it was the coolest shooting location I had and really advanced me as an artist. At the bottom of the barn there was a huge safe with a door so heavy that I could hardly even move it.

Climax is a very special photo to me for a lot of reasons. Everything down to the name and location are perfect.



There isn’t much to say about this photo but I still feel the need to share it mainly because it can apply to many different situations and I have had multiple people try and explain it to me. The fun part about this photo is that it can be applied to many personal problems and internal struggles while still being relevant to the original concept.

When creating this photo the idea in mind was to somehow showcase personal thoughts and being stuck in them, hence the bubble. The photo itself is very self-explanatory but in a beautiful way. I like the fact that when you look at it you know exactly what’s going on even though it is a surreal image. I’d like to leave this short and sweet so people can attempt to at least put themselves into the photo better and not just interpret it the way that I do.

Creating this photo was pretty fun too, I had never done anything like it. Even though the editing behind it isn’t anything marvelous or flashy I think it’s just subtle enough to work.



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