When Rush Jagoe graduated from Daviess County High School in 2006, he never could have predicted the many places his future career would take him.
As a student, Jagoe served on the staff of the school newspaper, as editor-in-chief of The Big Red Machine his junior year. He photographed his classmates and helped tell their story by working with the yearbook staff. Today, his passion for narrative photography has taken him halfway around the world.
After high school, Jagoe started as a photojournalism major at WKU. After a year, he moved to upstate New York and worked on a farm for a year. Soon after, Jagoe moved to New Orleans where he has lived since 2008.
Today, Jagoe wears many hats. One of his roles includes being a New Orleans based editorial travel and narrative photographer. According to him, the culture is something he loves most. He says he admires the way that everyone expresses themselves through music and art.
“I am learning to explore the swamps, do nature and documentary work that way,” Jagoe said.
Beyond New Orleans, his clients include Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Southern Living, Samsung, Google, Air BnB Magazine, several other magazines and two book collaborations. In recent years, photography assignments have included unique travel opportunities.
“Last year I got to go to the country of Georgia to do a wine story for Food & Wine, exploring a remote part of the world,” Jagoe said. “I got to sail on the largest traditional wooden sailboat in the world, over 400 feet long.”
Jagoe also had the opportunity to work on a project with Canada’s top 10 new restaurants. Travel for this project took the better part of a year. He describes this opportunity as both enjoyable and exhausting.
In 2018, Jagoe experienced some of his greatest successes, with two book projects coming to print. One of these works included “Shaya: My Journey Back to Israel” with Alon Shaya and Knopf Doubleday. After working on this project, Jagoe was proud of what it accomplished.
“Shaya won the best new restaurant in America the year we made the cookbook,” Jagoe said. “His restaurant is called Saba; it’s Israeli and Mediterranean food and it’s really, really good.”
In addition, Jagoe photographed the images for “Seven Seasons on Stowel Lake Farm” with Stowel Lake Farm And Page Two Strategies. This project became another unique experience for Jagoe.
“I don’t think I wore shoes for three days at one point. It was great,”Jagoe said. “They tried to convince me to move there. I was tempted, but I’ll go back and visit.”
Currently, Jagoe has an artist residency. He is finishing a shoot for Travel + Leisure at Cajun country and he is also sailing from barrier reef to barrier reef. In addition, Jagoe has been learning about traditional woodworking and tools.
“My grandfather collected a lot of traditional tools and built a log cabin. It’s enjoyable for me to uncover how to do new things,” he said. “I like learning and photography is a great way to explore and learn.”
As far as what fuels his passion, Jagoe can remember exploring photography at a much younger age. Even in middle school, he remembers showing interest in narrative photography when he went hunting or on family vacations.
“The satisfaction of being able to not only pursue your own curiosity but to tell other people’s stories and to make something that they will be proud of and their families will be proud of for years to come,” he said.