Updated September 20, 2021: As the title suggests, at the beginning of 2021, Jason Lindsey created a series of images that he always hoped to see, a campaign celebrating the everyday heroes of the solar industry. While he didn’t set out to make an in-your-face political campaign about climate change, it undoubtedly made an impact. The Illinois Solar Energy Association tapped him to create a campaign to help pass climate change legislation. This past week, the State of Illinois passed major climate change legislation, and we’re celebrating Jason having been a small part of it!
Photographer and director, Jason Lindsey, always views the world through an empathic lens. To him, understanding what motivates people and what they might be feeling or thinking, is important. It is easy for him to see things from another’s perspective — always taking a positive approach and being open to listening. Jason brings this with him on set and it is what helps him create environments in which authentic moments can occur and powerful images can be created.
That thinking was the inspiration for a personal project called Solar Heroes, a celebration of the people who install solar. He was aware that this was a politically charged topic when it shouldn’t be. Rather than focus on one industry replacing another, he wondered why no one was talking about how the solar industry was adding jobs. Why wasn’t anyone talking about the workers? So, Jason sought to highlight these unsung heroes.
What was your most memorable moment on this project?
The end of the first day of photographing was my most memorable moment. I had that realization of how positive people were about their jobs. Their job gave them a sense of purpose — having pride in contributing to the world in some way. It made me believe in the project, feel good about it.
What did you learn on this project?
I learned that every single person I photographed in this industry is really proud of their job. I grew up with working-class parents; I identified with these people who were installing solar. I like to make the talent comfortable on set, especially when working with “real people.” So, we chit-chat. I would talk to them about how they got into the industry, and their pride kept coming to light.
I also learned that while these portraits are powerful, I had to incorporate text somehow. Text to me made the entire message less disputable when you have facts attached to it. The facts drove it home.
What do you hope people learn about you and your work after viewing this?
I have a real passion for humanity and finding ways to contribute to the greater good. I started with a real love of nature. I’ve transitioned to finding more ways to bring people into that story. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of the everyday hero. The unsung heroes are not necessarily essential workers. I wanted to celebrate the workers and the jobs they represent.
This isn’t an in-your-face political campaign. It is consciously taking a side door into the subject of climate change and gives people something tangible for consideration — people’s jobs.
Follow Jason on Instagram for more imagery; stories that break down our barriers, taking the viewer deeper into a subject.