We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Sainlar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve always been curious about other people and their ways of life. As a photojournalist I have been able to use this curiosity as a way to meet people from all walks of life and be able to tell their story.
I was always interested in photography and my sister was a journalist so I kind of followed her in the journalism world. I then attended Western Kentucky University, which was one of the best photojournalism schools in the nation. After a few classes, I was hooked. I became very interested in not just photography, but in storytelling, especially editorial style and that’s what has led me to more documentary filmmaking I do today.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Honestly, it’s been keeping up with the times. I studied photography all in college, except my last semester where I took a video class. With the evolution of technology and phones being able to take amazing photography you have to learn how to adapt. Now, I shoot 90% video because there isn’t as much call for photographers these days. With technology evolving it’s getting easier to shoot video and edit, so you need to find new ways to edit and story tell to make yourself more valuable in today’s world. As a creator you sometimes can fall in love with your work. I think it’s very important to have someone you can trust to give a different perspective and critique your work so that you don’t become complacent and continue to evolve.
I think I’ve been successful because I’ve had to adapt and learn everything. I don’t just shoot, I produce, direct and edit to make myself more valuable to a client.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I’ve just removed to Auckland, New Zealand after a year and some change having visa issues due to the Covid pandemic. I would pick them up and say take off your mask, because Covid has nearly been eliminated from this country.
We would then go straight to Queenstown. That’s my favorite destination in New Zealand.
It’s a premier holiday destination and an outdoor adventure playground set against a stunning scenic background of tranquil lakes and rugged mountains. It’s not all about adrenaline, it has great food, nightlife and wineries to complete the picture.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Before I got into journalism, I was a bit more introverted and shy to people I hadn’t encountered before. I wasn’t confident and I didn’t want to step out of my bubble. My sister, Lindsay, really helped me get out of my bubble and encouraged me to try new things that I was uncomfortable with, such as leaving my home city to go to college or take internships and jobs in cities I didn’t know anyone. Without her guidance, I’m not sure if I would have moved states and/or moved internationally to Thailand and New Zealand for so many years.