We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Poe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always been a creative person for as long as I remember. I was always playing with the latest and greatest point and shoot camera while in high school and college. Photography has always been a way for me to document my travels and I often printed my images as wall art to help immortalize a certain memory from a trip. Things changed in January of 2017 when I had a near death car accident. I hydroplaned on a 3 lane highway, did multiple 360’s through traffic, and got hit head on by a 16 wheeler. When I escaped unscathed, I knew life was too short to not follow my passion and I started to devote more time and energy to photography. I slowly started building my business up on the side, and in 2020 I took the leap to go into photography full time. It’s been an exciting and rewarding journey and I’m just getting started!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Most of my business is in fine art sales. I take a lot of pride in learning the printing process and making sure I can guide customers to the best option for their walls. I have been printing my work for over 15 years and have printed on everything from the standard mediums (paper, metal, canvas) to surfboards and slate. I collaborate with interior designers to fully understand what piece of art will go best in each space and I have devoted so much time to seeing my images printed on every type of material so I can make the process as easy for clients as possible. Owning a small business is full of challenges. It’s not easy and as long as you are sharpening your skill and pouring passion into any career, success will come. But you must be able to get over the roadblocks and not be deterred by setbacks. If you do your daily activities and slowly chip away at any task it will become less daunting. I look at every sunset as a fresh end to the day. No matter how good or bad the day is, it can end in beauty and I try to catch sunset every night and say a little prayer of thanks and meditate. With every sunset comes a fresh start – leave the past of that day behind and look forward to the challenges of the next day. If it’s a horrible day, that’s ok – I release it, enjoy the sunset, and I know that the next day is full of opportunity. If it’s a great day that’s ok too – I revel in it but know that there are highs and lows in life and business. I try to not get too high or low on myself and take each day one at a time while working towards a larger goal.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When friends come to visit me the first place I take them is the beach! I live walking distance to Manhattan Beach pier and the beach so usually a cruise on the strand is the first order of business. We might ride bikes along the strand from Hermosa Beach to El Porto. I swing my Paradise Bowls and enjoy a nice acai bowl while sitting on the Manhattan Beach pier watching surfers. I also love taking people to hike in Palos Verdes or Malibu to enjoy the sweeping views from high on the cliffs. Some other favorite spots I enjoy taking visitors to is the Griffith Observatory, the Walt Disney concert hall and Elysian Park. Most of my visitors know I’m a photographer so I usually take them to beautiful overlooks and great spots for sunsets or areas they can get a great view of the city.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The community of Manhattan Beach has been great. I have relationships with many local business owners where they sell my art and the local papers run stories about my shows. Nikua Kai (a local surf shop) hosted my “Lifeguard Towers of the Southbay” event and The Beach Reporter made that series front page worthy. 12/1/17 is when I consider my professional photography career launched and they were very supportive in making that happen. Along the way there have been so many inspirations. One of my mentors in the photography world is Eric Pare (https://ericpare.com/) who is so giving with his knowledge and skillset. I love long exposure photography and have quickly grown into one of the best in the industry with his guidance. Another amazing work where I get most of my art printed is Real Color Design in Torrance, CA. We became connected over a charity project I was working on and we have since partnered with many other charitable projects where we give away beautiful wall art to help bring a smile to an unsuspecting person’s face. Other businesses who have helped along the way are: Wondertent (I love Trish!), Waterleaf Interiors, California Dreamin Staging, Spyder Surf, and Resin Art Gallery.
All images are mine 🙂