Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Road Trip!


I am getting ready for a 5-day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains with my wife and first-born son, later this month.  The travel itinerary that I have made will take us to both Louisville and Nashville, up to the second highest peak in the Appalachians, to a pond full of salamanders, into a cave that’s been haunted for two hundred years, behind the curtain of a waterfall, and more.

This will be the first adventure where all three of us will have a camera.  I’m excited, and can’t wait to share the pictures!



Untitled (Recycling)

Posted in art, awareness, perception, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on December 7, 2012


The world that we live in is increasingly changing. Our impact on the climate, natural resources, and the environment threatens our planet’s future prosperity. As humans continue to expand in number, the proclamation of Thomas Robert Malthus becomes ever more true, and the things that we throw away expedite this process. However, over the previous few decades a consciousness of this impact has blossomed, and some significant steps have been made towards offsetting it. Still, the majority of thinking is in correcting the problem rather than preventing its perpetuation. Recycling is an example of this. (more…)

Student Project

Posted in art, awareness, black and white, photography by Jason Gray on October 12, 2012

Recent research conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in conjunction with the Ford Foundation has determined that a diverse student population increases academic performance, improves student retention/satisfaction, and assists with on-campus socialization. Additionally, Colleges and Universities with greater diversity receive increased public funds and enjoy a more attractive public perception. Most schools promote their statistics regarding diversity on their websites, and independent organizations, like US News, track this information also.

Given the importance of diversity to the educational experience at post-secondary schools, the Diversity Project documents a subset of the student populations at all of the major Colleges and Universities in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and compares them to one another. The project is conducted by my visiting a public area on each campus, at noon on a typical school day, and asking everyone who passes by to pose for a quick portrait. For each school, this process is completed after one hour, and then fifty of the resulting images are selected, representing the most diverse blend of students. Each block of fifty is presented in a grid, so that the schools can be compared. The published diversity data is included below the grid, and can contradict the photographic findings.

St. Louis has had a long history of conflict and friction among peoples of differing ethnic/cultural backgrounds, which has shaped the very landscape of the region. Given that students in area colleges represent the future economic and political prospects for the city, it is important to analyze how these schools are forming or not forming diverse communities upon their campuses.






Coming Soon!

Posted in art, black and white, photography by Jason Gray on October 7, 2012

Long time no postings, you say? Well, I have been hard at work (I am going back to school, full-time, to teach), but I apologize anyway.

I do have some rather exciting new projects to share, and I’ll try to get on a semi-regular schedule of posting them.

First, the photos above and below are from a new series that I have started which takes a closer look at the diversity of the student populations in post-secondary schools around St. Louis. These images were all photographed at St. Louis Community College in Forest Park (more to come).

Second, I am very close to finishing my new website, which takes some design cues from this very blog! Look for that soon.

Third, I have a growing body of non-photographic artwork that I have been doing for school. I’ll begin posting those hopefully by the end of October (I need to take some good photos of them).

Finally, my side project, Photo Flood Saint Louis, has been growing exponentially, and has garnered the attention of the local National Public Radio affiliate. If you are in St. Louis, send me a message to photofloodstl@yahoo.com to participate. Our next event is on the 13th. (more…)

Speaking of Design

Posted in photography by Jason Gray on July 25, 2012

St. Louis’ premier design community, DesignSpeak, has asked me to photograph headshots of some of their lovely ladies (and one handsome guy) to update their website. It was scorching hot outside and my hand is still broken, but I had fun anyway.

For those of you who don’t know, DesignSpeak hosts a number of periodic events around town that are designed (pardon the pun) to educate the public about, and to generally support, the local interior design and architecture communities. If you’ve never been, attend one of their upcoming “Speakeasy” events, and get inspired!

More Men (not Mormon)

Posted in 35mm, art, awareness, black and white, film, perception, photography by Jason Gray on October 7, 2011

Last week, I posted a pic from a new series of photographs that I am working on. This week, I am showing off more shots of some of the men from the series, and next week, I hope to have some of the women ready to put on display. It is interesting to me to observe how differently the women versus the men approached posing for this; the women had a sort of default “pose-face” whereas the men kind of let their guard down a bit more. I guess that’s culture….

All Nikon N80 with the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lens and Kodak T-Max 400 film. Prints are on Adorama-branded, variable-contrast, fiber paper. Please excuse my dusty and orientation-moody scanner.


The Stranger

Posted in 35mm, art, black and white, film, photography by Jason Gray on September 30, 2011

I am back to working on the subject of identity. This time, I have photographed portraits of 47 strangers, 23 men and 24 women, and hope to show the degree of visible variation between people of a certain place (I staked out a spot at a local community college). More to come on this.

Nikon N80 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lens and Kodak T-Max 400 film, printed on Adorama-branded, variable contrast, fiber paper.

Recent Portraits

Posted in art, interview, model, perception, photography by Jason Gray on August 26, 2011

I don’t have a lot new to share despite the fact that I have been really busy. Does that make any sense? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, here are a few examples of some recent portraits that I have been taking. If you read One Round Jack, expect to find a few of these faces popping up again soon.

All Nikon D300 with either a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G, 105mm f/2.8G, or 50mm f/1.8E lens.


Urban Decay

Posted in 35mm, art, black and white, film, photography, winter by Jason Gray on March 18, 2011

I am continuing my exploration of the city of Saint Louis and its unique mixture of what was with what is. As mentioned last week, most of these photos were taken in an abandoned (except for the homeless) building downtown.

All Nikon N80 with either Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D or Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lenses; Ilford HP5+ BW Film.

More after the jump–> (more…)

A Black and White Town

Posted in 35mm, art, black and white, film, learning, perception, photography, winter by Jason Gray on March 11, 2011

In the last two weeks, I have switched from focusing on the small patch of woods in the urban park where I work to the more industrial side of St. Louis. My city is a strange place that still makes things, all kinds of things, from chemicals to jet planes. This reality means that there is a lot of space (most manufacturing centers stopped building up and started building out at least by the 1940’s), and since most of my city’s population had left for the suburbs by the end of the 1970’s, that means a lot of empty space. So “space” is what I have been concentrating on lately (with a few exceptions). Enjoy!

All Nikon N80 or Nikon n8008s with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D or Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G lenses.

More after the jump–> (more…)