New Work

Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images © 2013

It's always fun to start working on a new body of work. That is, until you actually pick up a camera and start shooting. That's when self-doubt tries to make a special guest appearance. It should have it's own theme music. Like Bob Hope strutting onto the Tonight Show stage to crush the dreams of the young comic who just saw his three minutes evaporate, never to return.

Fair warning, I'm going on about five minutes of sleep here (had to make a 30 second TV appearance early this morning). I'm trying to talk sense about these images, but really there's no telling where this piece will end up.

The idea behind this work was a challenge, but also practical in nature. I'm not known for my vertical work (just ask any photo editor who ever hired me to make a cover for them). I've always figured life was a mostly horizontal event, so my pictures should follow suit. To me, shooting vertical was also another variable, and when you're shooting real-life, which is nothing if not varied, eliminating the variables you have control over seemed like a plan.

At the same time, to avoid becoming stale or predictable, I've always worked to push the envelope (I love pushing envelopes as much as buttons).

Young photographers take note, pushing the envelope is probably not the wisest career move in an industry that considers stale and predictable a good thing.

JAR_fiveseries_blog_rockcreekKenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images © 2013

Staying on task...

Shooting vertical, as well as forcing me to see a little differently, also allowed me to do something fun with the printing of these images. The idea was to make big prints on my 17" wide Epson. Putting five separate images in a row allowed me to make a 54" print... roughly the length needed to fill the space over a photography collector's couch.

That'd be my entrepreneur side showing.

A big print, actually five biggish prints, from a smallish sized printer on one sheet of paper... genius. The added bonus is the quality of each image is roughly the resolution needed to turn Ansel Adams green with envy (there's a mathematical formula available to calculate this resolution, but I'm not able to find the link at this time).

There's the practical side.

JAR_fiveseries_blog_wireballKenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images © 2013

Finally, five images in a row give me the chance to tell a little story. The print equivlent of Vine. Sometimes the story is interesting, at other times the story is quite literally "barbwire art", which is how I refer to much of the artwork available here in Montana.

And that was the creative side.

Nailed it.

This new body of work will debut tonight at the Toucan Gallery in Billings, Montana. I cannot promise you that I'll make anymore sense when you see me in person this evening.

Now, speaking of horizontal life, I need to get in some nappy time.


MontanaFair Workshop

Kenneth Jarecke/Contact Press Image © 2013

State fairs are wonderful places to make pictures. They’re the perfect training ground for photographers seeking to become better. The fair offers different events and fresh faces every day, but it also has its own daily rhythm. This gives a photographer with a near miss the opportunity to learn from their mistake(s), correct them, and try again.

If a photographer can make great pictures of people they don’t know, without posing them (or at times not even talking to them), I believe they can make great pictures anywhere.

I’ll be helping you raise your photography to a higher level at the MontanaFair in Billings starting August 9. Each workshop participant will be issued a special credential to the MontanaFair which will give them photo access for the duration of the fair. Students will work personally with me, both in the field and in the classroom. I’ll help you learn to recognize and capture interesting, unposed images on the fly.

Kenneth Jarecke/Contact Press Image © 2013

Our schedule is somewhat flexible, because we may want to take advantage of special photo opportunities or spend more time in the classroom.

Day 1 - August 9th (Friday)

At 1pm our group will meet at the Toucan Gallery at 2505 Montana Avenue in Billings. I’ll show images I’ve made in the past, from the MontanaFair and other situations. I’ll start with basics like digital workflow and how to get the most out of your photography equipment. We’ll look at street photography (which is in essence what we’re doing). I’ll describe how to recognize and approach a subject. I’ll explain how I identify situations that may lead to interesting images. Finally, we’ll set our goals for the workshop.

At 5pm we’ll head to the fair. I’ll find situations where I feel a photograph might happen. I’ll explain why I think so and describe specific reasons for my thoughts. We’ll work like this until we run out of light or energy, whichever happens first.

Kenneth Jarecke/Contact Press Image © 2013

Day 2 - August 10th (Saturday)

At 7am we’ll meet at the fair. We’ll work until the morning light disappears.

At 1pm we’ll meet back at the Toucan and go through our work from Friday evening and Saturday morning. I’ll look at everyone’s images and make suggestions on how to make them better. This is a group event which will allow us to learn from one another.

At 5pm we’ll head back to the fair and work our butts off.

Note: This will be a long day, or how it’s known in the world of editorial photography, a normal day. Workshop participants will not be required to work past their comfort levels, rather they’ll be encouraged to take a break, eat some deep-fried something or other, and enjoy themselves. Photography and learning should always push you, but that doesn’t mean they also shouldn’t be fun!

Day 3 - August 11th (Sunday)

I’ll be at the fairgrounds at 7am. Whether you join me or not is up to you.

At 1pm we’ll meet at the Toucan for another grueling editing/therapy session.

At 5pm we’ll head back out to the fair grounds!

Day 4 through Day 9

From August 12 through 17 you’ll be on your own. You’ve got your credentials and your fellow workshop participants for support, and by now you should have learned the skills to make the kind of pictures you’re after. How hard you work during this time is completely up to you. I won’t be there, but I’m leaving you with the gift of motivation.


Kenneth Jarecke/Contact Press Image © 2013

Day 10 - August 24 (Saturday)

At 9am we’ll all meet at the Toucan. We’ll edit our MontanaFair work. My critique will be somewhat brutal, because our final selects will be submitted to the owners of the Toucan Gallery who have generously agreed to curate and exhibit our images. That’s where your extra motivation comes from. The best of our work will be hanging in the Toucan Gallery, matted and framed, for our family, friends and neighbors to see (yes, every workshop participant will be represented) and purchase (we can only hope).

August 31 - Our final prints will be submitted to Mark Sanderson and Allison O’Donnell, of the Toucan Gallery.

September 18 (Wednesday) - Opening night reception at the Toucan Gallery from 5pm until 8pm.

Note: Our print size will be uniform. The paper will be 17 x 22. The image size will be approximately 12 x 18. The cost and making of the prints are your responsibility. I can help you, maybe even produce some of the prints with you at my office. The gallery has graciously offered us a heavily discounted rate for matting and framing (but you can have this done elsewhere if you like). Equally gracious, the gallery will only take a 20% commission on print sales. Amazing, since normally galleries take no less than 50%.

The workshop fee is $695 and limited to twelve participants.

To reserve your spot contact me at,  "website(at)".

Ronald McDonald Needs You!

Jar_beijingopera_01Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

Somehow I missed this, but photographers and other creative types are suppose to use blogs as a means of self-promotion. No, I'm not kidding. I read an article somewhere. Evidently, one shouldn't spend their blog time criticizing the people or the industry that one hopes to continue working in.

Live and learn.

That said, I'd like to use this space to promote an upcoming (as in this Friday) event that I'm doing in Omaha, in the evening of March 26.

Yeah, kinda short notice. Like I said, I'm still getting the hang of this whole self-promotion thing.

Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

The event is a fundraiser for Omaha's Ronald McDonald House. You know what it is, and the essential work that they're doing. Enough said.

Here's a blurb on the event.

Tickets are $50 each. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Contact Suzanne Rogert at (402) 346-9377 for tickets, reservations, information or what-have-you. She works (personally) for Ronald McDonald. I just met her last night and she's a real firecracker. She's even got me on the TV tomorrow.

Really, the team she's put together for this event is amazing. She's amazing. The facility is amazing. I couldn't be happier. I'm honored to be a part of this.

"This", by the way, is a huge deal. Huge in that it's a silent auction, which consists completely of my work. Something like 130 prints in about 80 bidding "lots".

The three images (printed at 17" x 22") shown here from the Beijing Opera, are one lot. There's going to be a huge amount of work available Friday night, from all over the world. Some of it will be pretty like these three, some will be a bit more "street", as in Cartier-Bresson style. There are even a few landscapes, nudes, all sorts of stuff.

130 prints is a lot of fricken prints.

Kenneth Jarecke / Contact Press Images

Yeah, I said "nudes".

Henri did nudes too btw.


Nomad Lounge (a great, dare I say "hip" space)

1013 Jones St.


6pm until 9pm (so bid like you're voting in Chicago...early and often)

Tickets will (of course) be available at the door.

Ronald McDonald House - Omaha

Many thanks to the event chairmen (people, persons?)...

Brian and Debbie Wood

Fred and Melanie Clark

Aaron and Karen Carlson

And yes, I'm originally from Omaha, and in the interest of full disclosure and giving proper credit and thanks, it is important to mention that my mother, Melissa Jarecke has been working tirelessly behind the scene on this project.

Hope to see you there, and of course please feel free to pass this along to any friends or family in the area.

It should be a cool night.