11 Questions with Jacob Reeves

This piece is part of our Colatoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.

He’s a graphic designer + photographer for Gamecock Athleticsaka the man behind the lens capturing the most exciting gameday moments. A South Carolina native, Jacob graduated from UofSC in 2017 and has continued to grow as a creative. He’s worked as a freelance photographer at the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix and the 2022 College Football National Championship

We asked Jacob 11 questions about his favorite local food spots, Cola movers + shakers to look out for, and how he went from a student to taking photos on the center stage of sporting events.

Jacob worked hard for this sunset photo of Williams Brice Stadium. | Photo by Jacob Reeves

Describe your perfect day in Cola in a few sentences

Wake up, hang out at the pool with coffee and a book, get brunch at Cafe Strudel, take my camera to skateboard on the riverwalk, chill at home for a bit, then go with friends to hit up some of the local breweries with live music.

Name a few other local leaders, influencers, or movers + shakers you’re watching.

Creatively, the people I work with here at South Carolina, I regard as some of the best creatives anywhere — especially Columbia. Outside of that, I’m also a big fan of what Mayor Rickenmann has been doing (and will continue to do) around the city development-wise. 

You can only choose one local restaurant menu to bring with you to a deserted island — which one is it and why?

Toss up between Motor Supply Co. and The Whig. Those chipotle pimento cheese fries would be all I need.

What were the last three things you did locally?

Eat at Publick House, skateboard around Canalside, and watch the new lights get installed at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Your career and images have come a long way in the past few years. What are some experiences you’ve been in that you couldn’t have imagined when you were younger? 

I fell in love with photography a few years ago and I really have been fortunate in the opportunities I’ve been given in that span of time. Big freelance events like shooting for the College Football Playoff at the National Championship games in New Orleans and Indianapolis to shooting the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Miami a couple weeks ago. Then to concerts in Charleston and Beaufort, those are just some examples of awesome places that camera has taken me. The people I’ve met and the memories I’ve made along the way in all these different places I’ll cherish forever. From a work standpoint, shooting for the Gamecocks has been a dream. Being a fan for several years before college, then a student, and now an alumni of UofSC… just being able to be right there in the middle of it all to capture and freeze these moments in time has been special.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a perfect shot? 

One example that sticks out to me is when I took one of my favorite photos of Williams-Brice Stadium. It was at sunset and I wanted a good shot of the exterior with low light. I found a spot where I could perfectly frame up a palmetto tree but that required crouching in a rose bush across the street. I was ducked under it getting slashed up by thorns but I really love how the shot turned out. In fact, I think that exact photo is printed huge across one entire wall in Coach Beamer’s office so I’d say it was worth it. The dirt and discomfort are temporary, but the shot is forever. 

Where do you see media going over the next 10 years as technology develops? 

Honestly it’s hard to tell. 10 years ago in the earlier Facebook days, I couldn’t have pictured social media being this big of a thing. 10 years before that even the thought of connecting or playing games with people on the Internet felt like such a novel concept. With all this metaverse and virtual reality stuff nowadays, I feel like 10 years from now we’ll have things we can’t even really fathom currently. Photography-wise, seeing the upgrades in camera capability and lenses over the years is incredible. The technology advancements in gear and editing software really makes the entire process smoother and more enjoyable.

What’s something that every Soda Citizen should know about?

All the routes around the trains. Kidding, in all seriousness, there’s way more things to do in Columbia than people think at first. There’s all sorts of restaurants and outdoor activities and museums and other things tucked away that are great if you look for them. The riverwalk is massive and has tons of great sights. I lived here all through college and had never been to it. Postgrad, when I moved closer to the riverfront, I was blown away by how much scenery and wildlife was throughout that entire area. Essentially it all comes down to: explore with intention.

What do you think Cola will be known for in 10 years?

I have maintained the belief that Columbia is on its way and could really become a very very cool river-centric university city with good eats, good drinks, and a cool art scene. I’ve seen it happen in other cities (Greenville, SC and Richmond, VA are two examples) and there’s no reason it can’t be that way here.

What is your Saturday morning routine? 

Depends on the time of year. Around this time, it’s pretty similar to my answer in the first question (breakfast/brunch at Cafe Strudel, Cinnamon Roll Deli, DiPrato’s and the pool). During the fall, my Saturdays more or less revolve around Gamecock Football. Getting to the stadium and capturing the entirety of a gameday, from tailgating and fan experience to the pregame theatrics to the game itself to the subsequent celebration, is typically how I spend my Saturdays in the fall.