Featured Cover Artist: Jay Takaaze
With a degree in Architecture and a Masters of Photography, Jay Takaaze has been a professional photographer in Hilo for over 40 years. He is recognized both statewide and nationally, garnering numerous awards for his photography.
Jay has been a partner with his brother Reed at Reed and Jay Photography. Over the years he has photographed literally thousands of school photos, senior, family and business portraits, weddings, sports, events and almost anything you can think of here on Hawai‘i Island.
“When we started we knew almost zero about photography and business. We were just fascinated by photography and naive enough to just plunge in, learning as we went. When I look back on how we started I am truly amazed we ever made a go of our business and know somebody was watching out for us. It is so gratifying to have memorialized so many milestones for island families. I did not realize, before starting out on this career path, how many people I would come in contact with and how many lives we would affect. So many times people will stop me and say, ‘Hey you the guy from Reed and Jay’s!’”
For the most part, Jay has been a portrait photographer and only after selling their business in 2006 has he been concentrating on local landscape photography. “I enjoy getting up while it’s still dark and heading out looking for that sometimes elusive sunrise or whatever nature will serve up that particular day. It’s a challenge and sometimes takes you to remote areas that I had never been to before. Landscapes and grandkids—just love it!”
There has been a demand for his photography, so much so that Jay and Reed will be opening up a gallery to showcase their art within the next couple of months.
“Growing up on the Onomea Sugar Plantation in Pāpa‘ikou, we were always outdoors and all of nature was our back yard. There is such beauty and uniqueness here to share, expressing the love and appreciation my family and I have for our home.”
Table Of Contents Artist: Rita French
Rita French knew two things from a very young age. She knew that she would be a photographer, and she knew that she belonged in Hawai‘i.
“I was the kid running around with my parents little Brownie camera,” she says. “I was 7 years old in South Dakota, looking out my bedroom window in the blowing snow and thinking to myself, someday I will move ‘home.’ Although I had never been to Hawai‘i, I knew deep in my soul it was home. It only took me 55 years!”
Rita has lived on Hawai‘i Island for about 10 years now. For the most part, her photography is best defined as the things that stir her soul. She is also available for weddings and portraits.