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Meet Erik Jay of Erik Jay Photographer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erik Jay.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Erik. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Ansel Adams….. My grandfather’s photography buddy. My grandfather was my first photography mentor. No digital, no autofocus. Darkroom and manual settings only. That’s how I learned photography. I am fortunate to have lived in Palos Verdes my entire life. It was easy to pick up a camera and find the beauty. I still haven’t run out of places. It’s how I got started and continued.

Palos Verdes is a photographer’s dream. It is a place where nature devours developers and leaves them running back to the concrete jungle. Even with the strict guidelines to keep Palos Verdes beautiful, a hotel and some corporate entities have found their way here.

Annie’s Strawberries, Ichibachi’s Farms, Marineland and the small town stores that made Palos Verdes so special have left. Like everywhere else, people are making way for the next stage of growth. I decided to close my local nutrition company and pursue photography full time. Now, I am able to capture the essence of Palos Verdes from a local’s perspective before that perspective becomes obsolete.

Although I specialize in the South Bay in its entirety, I decided to take Palos Verdes and make it my main focus. I was born and raised here. I know every trail, nook and cranny better than any other photographer. It’s one thing to capture the coast and the pretty scenes on the surface of ‘PV’; it’s another to capture images that makes even people who live here stop and ask, “Is that really down the street from me”? And that is my goal.

Palos Verdes went from a town that would collectively yawn at 5: oo PM to a place that is giving way to more hustle and bustle. People used to happily give their neighbor the right of way on the street, Now, people speed up so you can’t pass. Everyone is in a hurry to drive home to the prettiest city on Earth and lock themselves inside of their homes and watch TV.

Locals don’t appreciate their surroundings like they used to. Families don’t celebrate the togetherness that I used to be part of and witness as a child. Tourists come here as a destination resort and do all they can to take in and admire in a week what so many of us here have the rest of our lives to do. It makes me sad…. and it makes me driven all the more to capture that beauty.

I feel my photography provides a level of time frozen and celebrates a time forgotten. It gives those who knew PV as it was another chance to see, and hopefully feel that magic they did years ago. The coves, caves, shoreline, history, architecture and natural phenomenon riddled throughout this hill is enough to keep me in business forever.

I would like my photography to inspire the current residents to get out of their homes, take your children and go to your local areas of beauty and take it in for all it is. I would love for other photographers to copy me (in their own town!) and capture the beauty that sits right in front of everyone, that nobody sees, or time has left behind.

Palos Verdes used to be a collective Mind’s Eye years ago. The artisan influence and rustic charm still remains. The pockets are smaller and history is fading. I would like to make those pockets bigger than life itself. There are colors in them their hills! There is wildlife ranging from falcons to foxes.

I would like to capture that Mind’s Eye in each picture, and in turn open the mind’s eye of those who live here, especially the children. I hope my photography inspires residents to take their next vacation where they live.

Has it been a smooth road?
First no, then yes. Self-doubt and low self-esteem are a photographer’s poison. I made the mistake of listening to others rather than my heart. I was told I was wasting time and I couldn’t do it as a living.

Regardless, I naturally progressed to doing so and finally locked out the peanut gallery and stuck with my heart. The road to paying my dues and earning my spot in the professional arena was uphill, but the road has never been smoother.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Erik Jay, Photographer – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I specialize in South Bay photography with an emphasis on Palos Verdes. I am extremely proud of delivering memories and emotions to my customers. No words are needed for these stories. I feel as if my photography can be every bit as effective if not more than a book (for the right customer).

When I get letters from people who tell me they have cried upon receipt of my photography or that it brought them back to a better time an place in their hearts, it makes me the richest man on Earth.

I believe what sets me apart is my ability to identify with Palos Verdes in a way not many other photographers can. Being a local for close to 50 years, going to schools here, experiencing all facets of growing up here has left me with a sense that allows me to get more than a picture when I hit the shutter.

I have even been told, “I can smell the mustard plants when I see your photography.”

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love LA as a whole. I love how each city celebrates its heritage and roots. Go anywhere for 30 minutes to an hour in LA and you’ll learn something new and exciting each time.

Specifically to Palos Verdes, I love the familial relationship I and others feel with this town. It’s a small town in a big city still and the traces of a neighborly environment still is present. Fairs, live music, all the things that bring people out of their homes.

Palos Verdes is a place where people from Hawaii visit because their favorite beach is here. It’s the kind of place you can be away from for 30 years and come right home to the same essence you left.

Dislikes – Too many people are in a hurry for no reason. The flavor of hustle and bustle has arrived here and it has created an almost allergic response to many.

In Palos Verdes, we are going a little overboard in development. We have become a place where local families were able to enjoy their surroundings to a destination resort area where tourists show little regard for the environment.


  • Residential and commercial property shoots for real estate begin at $300 per property
  • Stainless steel prints are available beginning at $500
  • Personal and animal portraits begin at $250
  • Postcards/smaller prints begin at $60 per bundle

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Christine Cantu

    August 7, 2018 at 16:45

    Great write-up! I agree with everything you had to say. Consider me your #1 fan.

  2. Charlie W. Melwing

    August 8, 2018 at 17:14

    I met Erik on the Web as he liked my drawings and I had found his work to be the best I’d ever seen around here. What a wonderful kind and humble talent that was raised here. He has so much to share and I wish him to be able to touch everyone’s heart as he’s touched mine. I have shared his work with so man and daily see their comments to his achievments of the day. I wish for the world to see what we have here, before the money tried to further ruin our piece of the world. He is saving it daily and I think we should all thank him..Sorry Christine Cantu, I too am his #1 Fan, and friend on call. To you Erik we want to see your talent soar the world, and it will.

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