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The Round Table’s own Jesse Wiles: Beloit’s newest celebrity

On Nov. 28, Jesse Wiles’19 posted on Facebook something extremely impressive. Four days earlier, Apple Inc.- yes, the tech giant had featured one of Wiles’ photos on their Instagram account as part of their “Shot on iPhone” campaign. The photo to the right is that very photo on Apple’s account. After seeing that Wiles had been featured by such a prominent company and that The Round Table had featured some of the photos in earlier issues of the paper, we thought that is was high time to delve into Wiles’ art a little more. We set out with a list of eight questions and a request for some more photos to display in this week’s edition of the paper so that our readers could see some more of his gorgeous work.

“Friends”
Chicago

RT: When did you start getting into photography?

JW: I got into photography after my mom got a digital camera when I was in elementary school. I loved being able to capture images of how I saw the world. In high school it turned into something more than a hobby when I became the chief of photography for my school’s newspaper and started a hip-hop blog and began shooting concerts in Cleveland and Columbus for that.

RT: Who has inspired you and your work? Are there any photographers that you idolize? 

JW: Not sure of anyone specific who originally inspired me but I distinctly remember reading National Geographic Magazine as a little kid and wanting to take photos like the ones I saw there. I don’t really idolize any photographers but I really admire Ari Marcopoulos and Mordechai Rubinstein.

RT: What do you think is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?

JW: I don’t think I’ve had a really great accomplishment yet as an artist. I’ve had photos published in magazines and books, even textbooks, I’ve worked for some magazines as a writer and photographer, I’ve shot over 50+ concerts and met almost all of my favorite rappers, I worked as a product photographer for a streetwear store for a year and stuff but I still have a lot I want to accomplish on a bigger scale. Most of what I’ve done has been for myself up to this point and I want to get out and do more. Hopefully in 2018 I’ll start up a little clothing company and finally make a book of my photos to sell, those are some things I’d be proud to accomplish. 

“Frozen Lake Michigan”

RT: What is the back story to the photo that was featured by Apple? 

JW: That photo was a complete chance occurrence and I only took it on my iPhone because I didn’t have my little Nikon Coolpix on me (best $100 camera ever). I normally hate taking photos with my iPhone but the camera is getting so good on phones that I’ve warmed up to it. About the photo though, I was walking through Millennium Park with some friends towards the end of the summer in Chicago and that woman was the only one sitting in the chairs and she stuck out in her yellow so I snuck up behind her and snapped a photo really quickly. Then Apple contacted me in October and I got featured shortly after Thanksgiving.

RT: Do you have a favorite place to photograph?

JW: My favorite place to photograph is Alaska. Mainly because it’s such a huge landscape and makes you feel so insignificant and small but also because it’s rapidly changing thanks to climate change. I love being up there in the middle of nowhere with my camera and a kayak.

RT: Where is one place that you would like to photograph?

JW: I’d love to get out to Patagonia or do some traveling through the Western US. Maybe I’ll do some of that this summer.

RT: What other forms of media do you like to use?

JW: I’ve been doing graphic design work for a few years and I’ve gotten pretty into illustration and drawing this past year, especially drawing over photos I’ve taken, and I started painting this summer which is something I definitely want to continue to pursue. I’ve also been making tee shirts, tote bags, mugs and stickers for the past year or 2 and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed. 

“Ras,”
Wicker Park

RT: Do you see art as a possible career or more of a serious hobby?

JW: Right now I see art as a potential career opportunity. Especially the combination of photography, drawing and painting in combination with clothing and other accessories. I’d like to have my own store/studio at some point and make art a bigger part of my life. It’ll always be a hobby but I want to at least try and make it a career.

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