Behind The Lens: Peter Jamison - 19 Years Old & Already a Professional Photographer & Videographer

Mar 14, 2019
by Harrison Fetter  




Pete’s work started showing up on the internet well before any of us new his name. As consumers, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of viewing video and photo content without appreciating the blood, sweat and tears that go into their creation. “Civilian” and “Grasp” were his first major projects on Pinkbike. At that time I didn’t put much thought into the person who had created these masterpieces. Then “Passion” came out in 2018 and I knew I had to talk to Pete. The number of 19 year-olds alive today who have the grit and tenacity to produce a 30 minute short film on their own dime is few. Pete is special, not only because of his skills behind a lens, but because of his insane work ethic. He puts consistent, focused practice into his craft always working to become better. As a rider and trail builder, Pete has a unique perspective, able to tell the story of our sport as an insider. Expect to see much more from Peter Jamison as a filmmaker, photographer, and rider in the coming months. It's exciting to see this next generation documenting mountain biking and taking film to the next level.





Tell us a bit about yourself:


I am a 19 year old filmmaker, photographer, mountain bike rider, trail builder, and van dweller from down by the river.


How long have you been shooting photos and videos?


I’ve been making videos here and there since I was about 12. At first, I used my $20 cell phone with zip ties to attach it to the frame of my bike. Then for my 13th birthday, I was given a GoPro Hero3, which was a huge bump up from the zip tied cell phone routine. After running the GoPro for a few years making self-filmed videos for fun, I got a Canon T2i for my 15th birthday and that changed everything. Since getting that camera, I've shot a photo nearly every day.


Were you self-taught or have you had any formal training?


I am 95% self taught from YouTube videos and making mistakes in the field. The other 5% of formal training is from a program at my high school where I helped produce a news show. That program didn’t teach me too much on the technical side of things, but it really helped with storytelling. When editing ‘Passion’ in particular, I was very grateful for my experience in that program.











How did you move from amateur to professional photographer and videographer?


The move from amateur to professional photographer/videographer was natural for the most part. Gradually as my work got up to par with other creatives, I began to get some paid work from a few brands. With that being said however, the biggest transition came when I graduated high school in June of 2018. Since then I have been shooting full time as my only income.


Being a mountain bike athlete yourself, how did you get into the sport?


I got into the sport through my father's interest in mountain biking. He had an old cross country hardtail in the garage with XTR components that I thought was the sickest bike ever. When I was in the 6th grade we went to the local trails for the first time. I was on a 20” BMX with a coaster brake and we only rode for a short time. After a few rides on that 20” I got a 26” hardtail and found MTB videos on Pinkbike.com. Since then I've been obsessed with riding.


Views: 5,915    Faves: 32    Comments: 5



How does being a rider influence your work with a camera?


Being a rider influences my work with a camera in two ways. The first is that I have a close relationship with the athletes I work with. If I'm filming dirt jumps or a skatepark, I'll warm up riding with the athlete for 20-30 minutes and then start filming. The second way in which being a rider influences my work with a camera is that I am able to visualize every trick or maneuver that I'm shooting.


Was there a specific moment where you knew it was more than just a hobby?


My first time shooting ‘MTN Mods’ for Red Bull with Aaron Chase was when I realized that I could do something with media work. I was 17 at the time and couldn’t even drive myself to the shoot. I learned so much from that shoot and am grateful for the experience.


How long have you been shooting mountain biking?


I've been shooting mountain biking since I started messing around with my cell phone when I was twelve and got my first GoPro. With that being said, nearly all of those early videos were self-filmed videos of me riding. My first summer with my T2i in 2015 is when I really began to consistently shoot other riders.


Views: 17,769    Faves: 135    Comments: 7



Do you shoot anything else besides mountain biking?


Every once in a while I'll shoot some landscapes, portraits or film a corporate video, but 99% of my shooting is centered around bikes.


Have you done any work for paid clients?


Definitely, some of my clients include: Red Bull, Monster Energy, REI, Pivot Cycles, GT Bicycles, HT Components and Camelbak.







When did you start filming ‘Passion’? How did that come about?


The earliest footage used in the film was shot in July of 2017. My first time intentionally shooting for the movie was in January of 2018 with Nicholi at Rye Airfield. My concept for the film came about during the summer of 2017 when the earliest footage in the film was shot. That summer I watched Reed Boggs and Nic Hilton learning flat drop backflips. Observing their process to learn a new trick was something I had never witnessed and it sparked the initial concept for ‘Passion’.




What made you decide to create a feature-length mountain biking film?


Of course, there were many factors that made me decide to tackle a full-length project. There was one phone call in particular that really convinced me to create ‘Passion’. In the Fall of 2017, I was driving to Woodward Camp in Pennsylvania for a shoot with BMX Rider Jay Dalton. On the drive down I got a call from Clay Harper who runs the US Open. Before hopping off of the call, he asked if I had any goals for the coming year. I am not sure why, but I said that I wanted to do a full-length project. Fast forward a few short months and I was filming.


What is your favorite thing to shoot?


Bikes, bikes, and more bikes.







What’s the most enjoyable project you’ve worked on?


I really enjoyed working on ‘Momentum’ with David Lieb. We were living in the parking lot at Highland and shot the entire video on an iPhone. Love the simplicity of that video.


What’s been the most difficult project you’ve worked on?


‘Passion’ without a doubt was the most difficult project I've worked on. Making a 30-minute video was a huge mental battle for me.


What kind of cameras do you use? What lenses? Is there any other gear that you use frequently?


For stills, I use a Canon 1dX and for video I use a Sony FS5. Across photo and video, I use the same lens kit which consists a Zeiss 28mm F2 (most used lens), 50mm 1.8 STM and 70-200 2.8 IS II. Other notable pieces of gear are my Peak Design bags, DJI Ronin M, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Atomos Shogun Inferno, Sennheiser Lav kit and Rode NTG3.


With technology changing so rapidly nowadays, how does this affect the equipment you use?


The only area where the rapidly changing technology affects me is on the drone side of things. DJI seems to release their next greatest invention every 3 months, it's rather frustrating.


Photo by Peter Jamison peterjamisonmedia.com


What photo are you most proud of?


The photo I have of Brett Rheeder with the Rampage trophy. It's not that the photo is spectacular by any means, but rather what it represents for me. I consider myself to have an intense work ethic, but Rampage took it to another level. From day one when riders got to the site until the last day I was pinned. Brett and I worked together the entire event to produce unique content for his Instagram and then to have him win was the icing on the cake.




Which photographers do you admire?


Ian Collins, Dave Trumpore, and Sterling Lorence have been my biggest source for inspiration for photos since I began shooting when I was 15. Each week I go through the photos on their websites.


What filmmakers do you admire?


On the film making side of things Rupert Walker, Harrison Mendel, and Nic Genovese are my biggest inspiration and the reason why I got stoked on making mountain bike videos. In my opinion, their work is always one step above the rest of the field.


What do you like to do in your spare time?


If I am not shooting, editing or working, I'm riding. If I'm not riding, I'm either sleeping or watching bike videos.








What advice would you pass on to aspiring photographers and video makers?


Work as hard as you possibly can at everything you do.


Is there anything else we should know about you?


Expect heaps more content from me in the near future!





29 Comments

  • + 82
 Look at this kid. When I was 19, I was still trying to find the mystical clitoris. Took me years.
  • + 39
 That thing'll get in the way of a lot of life dreams.
  • + 17
 According to the legend you're still looking...
  • + 1
 the mystical what?
  • + 30
 19 and with 10k of camera Equipment. I work 50 hours a week and im saving up for a haircut haha. Im not bitter or anything.
  • + 19
 Who needs a haircut? Don't hate on the kid for having his priorities straight.
  • + 11
 @skidmarkbro: yes but the point is the kid has haircut and lenses
  • + 2
 @browner: since we are making assumptions here I'm guessing @zeusdreadbeard who supposedly works 50 hours a week and still can't afford a haircut either must be working McD's drive thru window and supporting a family of 5 or he has a $600 a month loan bill for a 2019 Tacoma that he can't afford. Point is we all have our priorities. Yes, maybe this kid has some support from parents or whatnot but he is out there making every opportunity count and hustling everyday. $10,000 dollars of lenses or not he started with his cell phone and seemed just as stoked.
  • + 13
 This kid is the real deal. Sleeping in a tent on the mountain to be there at 17 is a pretty rad thing to be able to do. The only way he got all his gear is through hard work and a commitment to himself and his life goal. Keep it pinned Peter!
  • + 12
 After I met Peter when he was about 13, I went up to his father and told him Peter was one of the most polite, poised and well spoken kids I had ever met! He was destined to go places because of how he was brought up and who he is! Has nothing to do with money!! Your killing it Peter!
  • + 7
 Awesome interview Peter! Stoked for you, I think you have a really bright future ahead of you. Hopefully we can work together on something one day.
  • + 3
 ^This! One of the best things about the mountain bike community is the community. For the most part, people want other people to do well and be well.
  • + 5
 Been watching through pinkbike over the years and meet once at highland, one of his attributes that has gotten him this far I believe is his down to earthness, kid hustles but can also have a nice conversation. Huge things coming out of this kid, Pete keep Killin it.
  • + 4
 Rad to see stories like this. I hope it inspires more people to follow their passion - I already sent it to my aspiring photog kiddo (who I fully support, he's 12).
  • + 4
 Ran into Pete recently at Windrock, would not have guessed he was 19. Can definitely tell he takes his craft seriously and works his ass off.
  • + 1
 So stoked for Peter! Not only is he one of the nicest, most humble kids with talent behind the lens, but the he's amazing behind the bars too! Kid has real passion for the sport!
  • + 1
 It’s been pretty awesome seeing him progress on a bike and behind the lense. I remember watching his little clips him and his dad would post on our local fb mtb group page. It’s amazing.
  • + 3
 Awesome work Pete! Good to see the hard work paying off. See ya in the trails.
  • + 2
 Stoked to see PJ getting the spotlight! We've been lucky to have him working with us.
  • + 2
 And then there's me, struggling to summon the will to make a 90 second Gopro edit...
  • + 1
 Awesome interview! It was a pleasure having Peter on the podcast a short while ago... Keep killin' it PJ
  • + 1
 So basically the Cole Bennett of bike videos
  • + 1
 He made it, getting paid = not just another dick with a camera.
  • + 1
 I would pay this man good money for a video! and you should too!
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