Born and raised in Austin, Texas and currently residing in Leander, Texas, I have been experiencing the outdoors since I was old enough to walk, accompanying my father and grandfather to the family ranch on a weekly basis. I first picked up a camera in 2001 on a three week trip to Hawaii to visit an aunt during summer break while attending the University of Texas. I spent much of those three weeks exploring the Big Island and making images, loving every minute of it. I didn’t produce anything of quality on that trip, but the foundation was laid for something that would grow to become a huge part of who I am today.
My photography is driven by two things, a lifelong love of the natural world and an inherent need to produce something of emotional value, primarily for myself, and secondarily for others. I enjoy every step of the creative process, from an idea’s conception to its realization. It feels as natural and necessary to my survival as drawing breath. But the creative process alone has no meaning if its execution is not an expression of love. So, necessarily, I make images of places that are significant to me for one reason or another. Those places are all found between the Red and Rio Grande in Texas. I have no interest in spending time elsewhere.
– Jason Merlo