Flint Hills Rodeo

A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their work and the iconic images of our home state

 Originally a Texan, Jason Dailey was raised in Air Force communities and moved to Kansas in 1984, which he notes was “just in time to see the Royals win it all.” After attending the University of Kansas, he began working as a professional photographer in 2003. For the last 10 years, he has contributed extensively to KANSAS! magazine while also shooting a range of commercial and editorial projects. Now based in Lawrence, Dailey writes that his profession “has been a way for me to connect with people, a way to find common ground in the fleeting time we have together.”

What was the moment you wanted to become a photographer?

There wasn’t one moment, but a series of moments. The beginning was when I was about 27, studying architecture at the University of Kansas and I enrolled in a photography course.

What was your first camera?

My first camera was my father-in-law’s Olympus OM-2n. The negatives were so rich coming from that camera, I think it must have been the way I worked with that old internal light meter.

Who is a Kansan you have never photographed, but would like to?

 I’d love to photograph Rob Riggle or Paul Rudd. They’d keep it weird. In a good way.

What is the most common photography advice you share?

Shoot what you know and be persistent.

What is your favorite Kansas landmark to photograph?

I spent time at Little Jerusalem Badlands last summer—that was interesting.

What is the hardest thing to photograph badly? To photograph well?

Horses, mostly graceful, are hard to mess up. People are hard to photograph well.

If you had to describe your photography in terms of a color wheel, where would you fall on it?

I lead with my emotions. So, teetering on the outside edge.

What have you learned about life from being a photographer?

There’s always next time, you’ll get a chance to use what you learn.