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We Are Wes The Man Behind the Lens

We Are Wes is a collection of stories about the people who make Wesleyan Athletics special. The second feature highlights Jonas Powell '18, his work and the connections he had made with Wesleyan athletes.

It takes approximately one five hundredth of a second to press the shutter on a camera and capture a single action in time. Blink, and the moment has passed. The skill to capture these precise moments in sports’ history provides us the ability to relive the moment all over again. We scroll through the photos afterwards and are immediately transported back to that electric atmosphere. But, we often don’t consider the actual work that went into the final product, and even more, who the person is that is responsible for capturing it.

For the last several years, the man behind the lens of Wesleyan Athletics’ has been Jonas Powell ’18. “Photographing an event is only half the work,” says campus photographer Olivia Drake. “While lacrosse players are heading out for a post-game victory celebration, Jonas returns home to download hundreds of photos, selecting and editing the most story-telling images of the game. Photographing athletic events is a niche onto itself. It is an art and Jonas is the Picasso of sports photography.”

Jonas bought his first camera when he was in middle school, with only one stipulation; the camera had to, “make a clicking noise.” At the time, his friend’s father had a camera that made the sound, and Jonas vividly remembers being blown away by it. After completing a photography project in eighth grade, he was hooked. Jonas began shooting for his high school, Lake Champlain Waldorf, in a variety of different settings. Wherever he went, he had his camera on his arm, ready to shoot. As a soccer, basketball and baseball player, though, he did not have much experience photographing sports, so it wasn’t until Jonas was a sophomore at Wesleyan, that he began shooting in an athletic setting.

When Jonas first arrived on campus at Wesleyan he immediately got involved with the school newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus. Jonas began as a photo editor and then quickly moved into a position that had more responsibility and oversight. His position had him covering many school events, which sometimes overlapped with athletic games and contests. One day, while Jonas was at a football game shooting, Athletic Director Mike Whalen approached him. At halftime there was going to be a special ceremony, and Whalen did not have photo coverage. Seeing Jonas, he asked if he wouldn’t mind covering the ceremony and sharing the photos afterwards. He did not know it at the time, but this small exchange would soon morph into something Jonas was truly passionate about.

After shooting photos for the halftime ceremony, Whalen was impressed with Jonas’ work and approached him to see if he would be interested in shooting for athletics.

The rest is history!

Jonas became extremely passionate about shooting for athletics, so he eventually transitioned out of shooting for the Argus, and into athletics. His eye for sports and love of being involved made him a perfect fit for Wesleyan Athletics.

Because Jonas is such an amazing photographer, this Wes Are Wes feature will be a visual compilation of some of his biggest fans and their perspective on what it means to have Jonas shooting them in action.

MADELEINE LUNDBERG '19

“Jonas knows how to capture the best moments in college sports – the incredible comeback victories, the grit and determination of players on the court, and the camaraderie between teammates.”

JORDAN SEARS '18

"His photography efforts have given the people in the Wesleyan community a great appreciation for athletics, and I believe that is why student turnout is so strong at home sporting events. Jonas takes pride in what he does and his hard work has made a lasting impression on Wesleyan Athletics."

GEORGE BLINICK '19

"Jonas is very grateful for the opportunity to capture his friend's athletic accomplishments. His positive and vivacious energy while shooting is infectious. He is a fantastic photographer and an even better friend."

AMY BREITFELLER '19

"I remember the first time I interacted with Jonas was at a volleyball game that I was working. I recall him diving out of the way of an incoming volleyball player who was going hard to keep a wide ball in play. He stayed in place until the absolute last second, just so he could get the best possible picture."

"It is just a fantastic feeling to know that he isn't just there to get paid, he loves what he is doing. He really makes an effort to get to know us as people, and takes genuine delight in watching us play. At the end of the day, he is one of our biggest supporters on campus."

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MIKE WHALEN

"Wesleyan Athletics has had many significant milestones over the past few years, and thanks to Jonas, we have been able to showcase those accomplishments on our website, throughout Freeman Athletic Center and through social media. Jonas has done an amazing job and I know our coaches and student-athletes really appreciate his dedication."

Men's Lacrosse topped Tufts en route to winning a National Championship in 2018.
Wesleyan recorded its first-ever NCAA win over Southern Vermont in 2018.
In 2017, Mark Piccirillo connected with Mike Breuler for a 14-yard game-winning touchdown in OT against Tufts.
Eudice Chong '18 won her fourth-straight NCAA title in 2018, and was also named Division III Honda Athlete of the Year.
Volleyball advanced to the Elite 8 this year for the first time in program history.

"Jonas has exceptional talent and his body of work will be on display here for many years." said Director of Athletic Communications Mike O'Brien. "He has done an incredible job capturing the successes of Wesleyan Athletics over the past four years, and because of his work ethic, the University now has thousands of photos showcasing the rise of the Athletic Department."

"Aside from his photography skills, he has been a pleasure to work with and he will truly be missed next year after he graduates."

Written by: Ali Paquette

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