It’s often the small events that become the most important moments in a person’s life. A skier by the age most toddlers learn to speak complete sentences, Jeff Curtes quickly developed a passion for the outdoors. It was 1983 in Wisconsin, and Jeff’s freshman year at high school, when he discovered an ad of Jake Burton doing a frontside air on a blue-based Performer in Ski Magazine. Jeff swiped the ad from the library mag to share his find with his mom and younger brother, Joe. That Christmas, a red Performer snowboard wrapped under their Christmas tree would forever change the lives of him and his brother Joe.
Joe ended up becoming a professional snowboarder and Jeff was there alongside him visually documenting his brother’s efforts. He developed a passion for photography while capturing Joe, and was able to combine his image making ability with his love for snowboarding. Jeff’s submissions eventually got published, and caught the attention of Burton. Burton hired Jeff and the rest is history.
To this day, Jeff owes his success to knowing his subject matter and really caring about it. With Snowboarding, Jeff was at the forefront of a sport that quickly caught momentum, and gained respect in the world of adventure sports. He never went out with the intention of becoming a snowboard photographer – he just wanted to pursue his passions. It is that pursuit that remains the essence of what motivates him today.
For Jeff, cycling has always been his escape. Although unsure whether he wanted to bring his photography into his zone – he ultimately made the move because of the challenge it presented and the love that he has for riding. You can’t be afraid of new. It’s this drive that makes Jeff one of the more respected names in the industry. Jeff currently works out of Sydney, Australia and Portland, Oregon. Client work keeps him busy as he is represented by Tectonic Media Group, which includes powerhouse names such as Jimmy Chin, Corey Rich, and Tyler Stableford.
In E06 of Life in Focus, we got the chance to meet up with Jeff in Portland and see him in action shooting for Vanilla Cycling and their Speedvagen team.
For more on Jeff, check him out at tectonicmg.com.
Jeff would like to thank Sacha White and the entire Vanilla Speedvagen family (vanillabicycles.com) for making the best bikes, Tom Rousculp from Vanilla for producing the shoot and for the exceptional driving and not crashing my uninsured rental car, and The Gentle Lovers for riding their bikes on a Tuesday night in Portland’s West Hills. Also, special thanks to clutchcamera.com for lending some essential camera gear.
Video & Editing: Cameron Sylvester
Motion Graphics: Chad Jones & Cameron Sylvester
Taylor Clark / Barely Exist
Taylor Clark / I see you all the time
Location: Portland, OR USA
Gear: f-stop Loka and Large Pro ICU, FS700, Metabones EF adapter, Canon L glass, Glidecam HD4000, Budget Tripod, Canon 7D, Zoom H4N, Shure lav mic, Hoya Filters.
Editing: Graded in DaVinci Lite, Motion Graphics in After Effects, Cut in Final Cut Pro 7.
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