A: Jacob Simkin
Jacob Simkin is a visual artist of all trades, from paintings to motion pictures and visual art projection. His true passion is working as a volunteer relief aid worker with children (mostly refugees) and orphans. His photographs from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Aceh capture tender moments in these war-torn countries. He also writes inspiring journal entries documenting his life, dreams and challenges. Jake was the first member to sell work on RedBubble.
1. Children are a dominant theme in your photographs – and you have captured so many of them smiling. What do you enjoy about photographing children and is there a particular approach that you like to take?
Children bring joy to people. They are innocent and enjoying living and discovering new things and meeting new people. They give me joy and I hope in return to give them a smile or get a laugh out of them. I like to get to know the children first, spend some time, build a friendship and trust so they are comfortable being in front of the camera wanting to have their photo taken so they can smile at the results.
2. They say a picture tells 1000 words but your brief photo descriptions manage to tell at least 1000 more than that. How important is the story behind the image?
I like to give a little bit of the story and people can use their imaginations of the environment in which I am photographing. I hope people can reach out and be interested in the stories, or maybe go there themselves or contact me. I have so many tales I want to tell – but you have to ask me.
3. Your photographs and journal entries convey challenging and sometimes life-threatening scenarios. Have you ever been torn between standing back and capturing an image or stepping in to intervene in an event?
This is a funny one, I like to think of myself as a bad photographer because I am an active person in my beliefs and passions. I can never stand to watch misery, pain and suffering. I need to get out there and do something even if I am faced with possibility of death or injury. I’ll photograph the joy of getting out of that mess.
4. Who are the people who have most inspired your life and your creative work?
I am inspired by people with compassion and drive. My mother has been a fighter for muslim women’s rights and I got to meet a real inspiration, Reinhold Messner, the first man to climb all 8000er mountains, trek all parts of the world only to become a humble man to want to build schools for children in Pakistan. But anyone who gives themselves to try and make a better world for people is my inspiration
I am inspired by dreams and children. I want to help end suffering for children, to help them out of poverty and to give them education and free them of such things as child labour camps, war camps or prostitution. I have seen things people keep hidden but I believe children need to grow and live life to their fullest. That’s why I would be willing to fight for their happiness. I cry everytime I give speeches about this because it goes on and I want people to join this fight.
Red Bubble is a key for me to help raise some awareness out there so I can help children and I’m willing to use any profit from photo sales to help establish my dream of fighting for children’s rights to live.