Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones

Photographer

Organization:

IGers_Toledo

Website:


Jeff Jones is somewhat of a new-age community organizer. The founder of IGers_Toledo — an Instagram page that focuses on all things Toledo — holds community meet ups for smartphone photography and social media sharing. Recently, during 419 Day, he held his biggest event yet, which may become an annual thing. He also helps companies build their brand through Instagram. We caught up with Jones to talk about bicycling, where he finds inspiration and John Legend. 

Tell us more about some of your past projects?

In the beginning of the year I created an Instagram community for Toledo called “IGers_Toledo”. The focus is to promote Toledo in a positive and creative light. Shortly after the start of this community, Brandt came on board, and we merged our ideas together. We organize regular meet-ups and have drawn in people from Ann Arbor, Columbus, New York, Cleveland and Indiana. For 419 Day we had our biggest turnout ever for a meet-up. With over 50 people gathered, we started at Oak Opening Preserve and then headed to the Toledo Museum of Art for a huge “selfie” on the front steps. After that we explored the city. The night ended with what I’m calling our first annual Instagram party of the year! We had live music, a Photo Booth and good eats from Balance Grill. Lets just say you don't want to miss this party next year. We were able to raise enough money from raffle ticket sales to purchase a camera for Shared Lives Art Studio, a place for developmentally disabled people to create and contribute to the arts scene. 

What current projects are you working on?

Instagram Marketing for companies. 

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

It’s very diverse. We have the city, but we also have stunning county side we can photograph and share with the world. Toledo is also like a big-small town, word of mouth can take you many place in the Glass City. 

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

I would say becoming a Midwest photographer for houzz.com, the internet’s largest collection of home remodeling and design ideas. Being a self-taught photographer, sometimes you get the low end of the totem pole. Let’s just say I was shocked when this opportunity fell into my arms. 

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

Gordon Parks. I was so inspired after seeing his work and hearing about his life. He was a self-taught photographer and was the first black photographer to work for Life magazine. I love the photojournalistic style that he did. 

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with. 

Gordon Parks, for all the reasons listed above. Actually I am working on a collaboration with him…you will here about it soon! 

Tell us about your background. 

I’m a real townie, born and raised in Toledo. I’m a graduate of Central Catholic High School. I’m also a musician: I play guitar, piano and percussion. I’ve been married to my amazing wife for 10 years. I have three sons that keep me on my feet…love them all so much. I’m a man of many trades, I also work with troubled teenage boys.  

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 

―Oscar Wilde 

Favorite place for local culture?

Toledo Farmer’s Market — lots of local goods for sale and great photo opportunities. 

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . . 

The Original Sub Shop on Broadway — nicest owners, best sandwiches, delicious homemade hummus.

My favorite place to chill locally is…

Plate 21. 

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .

577 Foundation, which is full of gardens and places to explore for the whole family. 

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found . . .

Outdoors somewhere, exploring or riding my bike. 

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

More concentrated creative shops and areas downtown to hang out and explore.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without. 

www.relevantmagazine.com and foodie.com 

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . . 

Relational, Fun, Authentic. 

My biggest vice is…

Gluttony. I’m a foodie…but I'm working on that! I’m now bike riding and joined an outdoor workout group.

I’d like to see more _______  in Toledo.

Bike riding lanes on the street. 

The last lyric that moved me was . . . 

“’Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I'll give my all to you

You're my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I'm winning.” —John Legend

The best gift I’ve ever received was…

An all-expenses-paid trip to Seattle, Washington last summer. I was able to explore the city, experience the culture and capture some amazing shots! 

My most inspiring moment was/is . . . 

When someone that interviewed me said, “You’re one of the very few self-taught photographers I’ve met that didn't just shoot portraits.” I have always pushed to go beyond where some might say my experience can take me. 

I want my last meal to be…

Tacos from San Marcos.

 

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