2018 Micro-Grant Winner: Jake Niece
Raised and educated in Colorado, Jake is an engineer turned outdoor photographer who specializes in photography and videography in challenging conditions from wildfire, to backcountry winter sports, to pipelining. Based in southwest Colorado, his positions as a wildland firefighter in the summer and a snowmaker in winter afford him behind the scenes perspectives to stunning and often overlooked mountain vistas in a changing landscape.
Grant Category: Photography
During eight seasons of wildfire, I’ve worked as a Hotshot, on municipal engines, detailed on Helitack, and now work as an Engine Boss for a contractor. I shot photos along the way. But beyond the incredible sights we’re privileged to experience as wildland firefighters, I’ve been fascinated by the fire culture from the incredible camaraderie among tight crews to the maddening bureaucracy we must tolerate, and the results when everything is thrown together in the pressure cooker. The final product I am working toward is a book or extended article that features my photographs and anecdotes, but also takes a deeper dive into fire culture, the people it captures, and the role it plays in their lives.
Favorite thing about about wildland firefighting:
Overall my favorite thing about wildfire is how vastly different life is on a fire than in “normal” life. But specifically, running a drip torch will never get old.