Local aerial photographer shows the beauty of Joplin from a different perspective

Local News

"He's seeing the sky in ways that we don't."

JOPLIN, Mo. — Local aerial photographer, Jake Deer of JK Aerial Photography, has been sharing the beauty of Joplin from a new perspective for over five years.

His photos, which are currently being displayed at Urban Art Gallery in Joplin, show the wonders of the sky from a bird’s-eye view.

“He’s seeing the sky in ways that we don’t,” said Urban Art Gallery owner Linda Teeter. “He’s able to go somewhere where we can’t. We landers, we’re just landers. We just walk around on the ground and take photos that way, but he’s up there.”

Deer has always had a love for photography and has been flying RC helicopters for 11 years.

He combined the two passions when drones with cameras hit the market. Deer has been capturing our everyday surroundings in a unique way ever since.

Because of the concentration and focus it takes to capture these photos, it seems to put Deer in a state of flow. He recalls how he felt while taking photos of a sunset one evening.

“For that 30 minutes, there was no Covid, there was no bills to pay… There was nothing. I got to be up there and enjoy and see all that stuff and it’s so cool,” he said.

Deer’s favorite part of the process is showing his work to others.

“I just like to share it. If it turned into a way to completely support myself, that would be awesome, but for now…,” said Deer. “I just like to share them, that’s the fun part.”

This proved to be true when Teeter was going through a difficult time and Deer wanted to help.

While Teeter was undergoing cancer treatments, Deer sent her photos of the sky since she was unable to experience the sunrises and sunsets herself.

“It was breathtaking… He could perceive the depth of Joplin area and the sky and the horizon – so many things in one photo. And the fact that someone was thinking of me and sending me these beautiful images was very delightful… Made me forget about what I was going through,” said Teeter.

Teeter believes that photography, like any art, can make you feel something.

“All forms of art, in some way, bring joy and sometimes open up emotion,” she said.

Deer’s expertise goes beyond just showing beauty. Last month, Deer captured aerial photos of the aftermath of the fire at The Olivia Apartments. His photos gave insight into the extent of the damage, something photos from the street could not do.

What makes aerial photography special is the fact that not just anyone can do it.

“Very few people will ever be able to take those kinds of shots,” said Teeter. 

Not only do you need a drone, but you also need experience with photography, knowledge of flying and the required licenses and waivers if you want to do it commercially.

To see more of Deer’s photos, visit his Facebook page or stop by Urban Art Gallery, located at 511 S. Main Street in Joplin.

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