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

Mound City Chronicle

STL250 Celebration, from the roof of Saint Louis Art Museum, 2014.

Since moving back to St. Louis (my birthplace) in 2009, my creative focus has been the city itself. I photographed to reorient myself with a place I’d lost familiarity with in an effort to find myself somewhere within it. Over time, this exploration matured into a cohesive body of work that is a testament to this search, but also a chronicle of the forces of change that are ever present in St. Louis–a process exuded by human inhabitants of the region for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

With this process in mind, of emergence and evanescence, Mound City Chronicle was born.



Posted in art, Jason Gray, model, photography, St. Louis by Jason Gray on December 29, 2019

One of the core themes in my art, both photographic and in drawing/painting, is figurative work, and I often return to it when I’ve hit a creative standstill in some way. Figure work can allow me to explore through concepts, but mostly it enables me to think in terms of a formal tradition that I am generally working against otherwise. In this way, there is simplicity of expression and the excitement of approaching the subject in a completely organic way (I prefer to react to what’s there rather than obsessively preplan these shoots). It is a reset, in a sense.

I have known Michelle for several years, and I have thought for almost as long that she would be a terrific model. She is a natural, in being both incredibly beautiful and in having an emotional depth and intelligence that registers in the images as relatable, maybe even a little vulnerable. Her eyes forge a connection and communicate with sincerity. The camera is only able to frame, it does not bring these qualities, and I feel lucky to have worked with her on this set (and hope to work with her again soon).


Monica, Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized by Jason Gray on December 12, 2017

There is certainly something to be said for having the lucky opportunity to work with the same model on more than one occasion, especially if the model and the photographer operate on the same wavelength. This is the case with Monica, who I have been promising a second shoot for since our first session in May.



Posted in art, Jason Gray, model, photography, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 5, 2017

I’ve expressed my fondness for working with the human form in previous posts (here, here, and here).  All of that said, I think it is important to note that these sessions are important to me/my work for a variety of reasons.


Interlude: Senior Photos with Sam

Posted in art, Interlude, Jason Gray, model, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 31, 2016

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Sam is a senior in high school preparing to embark upon a college career in baseball, while pursuing a degree in engineering.  I recently had the lucky opportunity to photograph Sam for his senior pictures, which was no sweat for this confident, bright athlete (that his location preferences were easy to work with and the fact that he’s got a little James Dean-ness to his look perhaps supported as well).

If you enjoy the images and want to book your own portrait session, message me at grayphotostl@yahoo.com


Efrem Negash, Mathematician

Posted in awareness, interview, mentor, perception, photography by Jason Gray on May 23, 2013

If you are open to it, there is no limit to the fascinating people that you can meet in the city of St. Louis, and Efrem Negash, a mathematician and math instructor at Central Visual Performing Art High School and St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, is no less one of them.

Mr. Negash is a heartfelt man with a profound understanding of the underlying truths. I think that this is true for most individuals who are preoccupied by numbers, that they strive to understand how things come together, food, cultures, societies, etc. I have had the opportunity to speak with Efrem on a portion of these things, and his perceptions are always keen.

It may seem like somewhat of a stretch to feature an individual whose background is mathematics on a site that is devoted primarily to interviewing creatives, but I think that the connection will become apparent by the time you finish reading Efrem’s interview. After all, who better to illustrate the similarities between seemingly disparate subjects than a person whose mind approaches the world as if expressing unifying formulas?

After all, “To learn mathematics is to do mathematics.”


Lindsey Davidson, Part 1

Posted in art, black and white, model, photography by Jason Gray on November 13, 2011

Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph my friend and fellow photographer, Lindsey Davidson. Lindsey is an aspiring photojournalist, and works primarily in 35mm, black and white (what I shot the part 2 to this post with ~coming soon~). I had a great time working with Miss Davidson, and I appreciate the fact that she really went for it in these images, despite offering that, like me, she is more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it (Lindsey, I don’t think that anyone can tell).

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


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.

Efrem Negash

Posted in art, awareness, photography by Jason Gray on August 7, 2011

My interview with mathematician, Efrem Negash, is up now at One Round Jack.

Get on over there and read it (and enjoy the pics)!