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What the buck

Photographer Jake Mein meets all sorts of people.

Jake Mein, Johnny, Ashes, 2019

Johnny, in torn pants and bushy beard, grins as he offers bread to his buck. The buck, all antlers and nibbling teeth, also seems to smile.

Jake Mein met Johnny at the Star Tavern in the Buller region back when Jake was embarking on his ongoing photography project, the Ashes. The project explores a small town on the West Coast, and focuses on identity and how it’s formed through place, industry, and globalisation.

To Mein, Johnny embodies a kind of stoicism linking the land and the individual. A man who lives completely off the grid with several animals, in a hut he built himself, "he reflects the area just as much as the area reflects him."

Jake Mein, Untitled, Ashes, 2019

Jake Mein graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor’s degree in Design and Photography. His work has been used by Nike, Levi’s, Monster Children creative, and various other big names. He received the 2019 PDN Emerging Photographer Award and was a finalist in the 2020 LensCulture Exposure Photography Competition.

By Annie Keig

All images courtesy of the artist

First published ArtZone #83


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