Highway 64: Past, Present, Future


Highway 64 winding through Nantahala National Forest (photo by Jake Hackman)


By Jake Hackman, Johvonn Smith, Jamie Angle, Kate Sieber, 2017


As Bruce Springsteen sang in his classic song ‘Thunder Road’, “these two lanes will take us anywhere,”- these two lanes referring to North Carolina’s famous Highway 64. An uncharacteristically beautiful highway, people often forget it’s actually a highway- the layout of the road seems almost like a mistake. Put delicately, if Highway 64 was designed by an engineer or anyone of the like, it’s hard to tell. The road follows more of a wandering path than anything, it winds through the length of North Carolina in a way that mimics the travelers that came long before us. Every inch of Highway 64 is laden with the history of those that came before and remains a vital part of North Carolina past, present, and future.

Highway 64 was conceived during the same time as another famous highway, Route 66. In 1926, the creation of the US Highway System sparked the development of both of these revolutionary roads. While Route 66 was deemed inactive in 1985, Highway 64 remains a trusty method of travel for North Carolinians or anyone just passing through. Thus North Carolina can stake its claim as the state containing more miles of maintained roads than any other state in the country. As the USA’s 8th longest-running highway at 2,326 miles in total, Highway 64 finally comes to an end all the way in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona- far away from its start in Nags Head, North Carolina.

Highway 64 represents much more than just a road- it stands for the progress of a station and the march West that inspired hundreds of thousands of people out in search for more. Originally intended to further the journey out West, Highway 64 continues to inspire individuals to experience new adventures. Winding through towns you might normally pass through, Highway 64 allows people to uncover the hidden gems North Carolina has to offer. These small towns and unique sites offer the real stories and represent the true heart of the country. Highway 64 continues to serve as a reminder that taking a back road doesn’t have to be boring- it can expose you to new people and places you might never get to experience otherwise. On Highway 64, history is alive and well.

Driving down Highway 64 is a unique experience, here is what it is like today:

Passenger: Johvonn Smith 

Our first day was full of excitement, we were not sure what to expect on the drive. We
spent the majority of the drive talking about what to expect, things we were looking forward to,
and also finalizing times that we intended to spend in each respective city. The excitement was
quickly ripped away after we realized we made the mistake of putting in the wrong address in the
GPS, adding another hour and a half to a drive that was already long enough. We continued
driving along the dark winding road until we finally reached our destination, just to realize that
everything was closed. After settling for eating food from the casino, we continued to finalize
plans for the next day and called it a night.

On Friday, our first full day on Highway 64, there was a lot to take in. With no
expectations, I was not sure what to expect on the drive, but I was quickly surprised by how
much there was to look at. No more than five minutes into the drive, there was plenty of open
land, beautiful trees, and more cows than you could ever imagine. Most importantly, I was able
to see places that were still untouched, rather than surrounded by skyscrapers and other man-
made objects. Highway 64 was surrounded by mountains, winding roads, and orange and yellow
leaves. Throughout the drive, my head was constantly turning, as I tried not to miss anything that
may have been important to see. Several times along the way there were sites that were so
amazing that we could not resist stopping in order to take some pictures. Endless views of
mountains, trees, farms, and cars every so often made for a very peaceful and relaxing drive, at
least from the passenger seat.

After being in the car for about half of the day, I switched to the back seat. Surprisingly,
this gave me a totally different perspective of the mountains. I had a clear view of both sides of
the road from the back, while also being able to get a better view of everything that was behind
us. Similarly to what I saw earlier, we were still on a winding road. It felt like it was going on
forever, but I never thought “I cannot wait to get out of the car.” There was a peacefulness on
highway 64 that allowed me to enjoy everything the mountains of North Carolina had to offer,
and lose track of time in the process so that I lived in the moment. I imagine the mountains being
a place to unwind or reset so that you can just enjoy everything the world has to offer. I would
take the ride again to experience the peace that highway 64 gave me.

Passenger: Jamie Angle

The winding road of Highway 64 is a beautiful drive that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is remote enough that you can enjoy scenery without much worry of traffic. While this is true, it is also civilized enough that you rarely need to worry about the drive to the nearest gas station. The drive through the mountains on Highway 64 is beautiful in the fall. While we drove, we peered out the windows at the leaves along the side of the road, which had turned various shades of gold, orange and red. When a gust of wind blew, the leaves that had already fallen were thrust into the air and surrounded our car like confetti. From the backseat of the car, I could watch this natural confetti surrounding us through the side windows. Contrary to popular belief, the backseat of a car has its advantages. One of these advantages is that the backseat passenger has plenty of room, at least I did. Because I was the only one in the backseat, I could put my legs up on the seat next to me and sleep if necessary. This was made easier by the fact that voices did not carry back to me as much. Therefore, the boys up front could continue their conversation without concern for disturbing me.

On the flip side, the lack of carrying sound made it difficult to also participate in conversation when I was not sleeping. It is only acceptable to ask “what?” so many times in a conversation before it gets annoying. The other major disadvantage to the backseat pertains to the fact that I get carsick. Motion sickness can be helped when a person is able to see where it is they are headed, however, from the backseat, I was only able to watch the world around me from a side view. A little while into the ride I found that I was not feeling my best, and had to switch seats. Therefore, the backseat of the car along highway 64 is relaxing in its ability to watch the leaves and nature unfold around the car. However, it can also seem a bit lonely because of the difficulty to carry conversation with those in the front of the car. I would not recommend this seat to those who get carsick. The twists and turns can be difficult to see around from the front, so the back makes it close to impossible to have proper visibility. The drive down Highway 64 is a beautiful experience no matter what seat you take.

Driving: Jake Hackman

There’s something about being on the road that encourages forgetfulness, and dissuades thinking. It is where mindlessness mimics the road, wandering through zip codes and county lines, ignoring the past and future, living only in the present. There aren’t too many roads near me anymore where that happens. Most are filled with too many cars, too many people, and too much thinking.

I distinctly remember the pleasure that came from the simple act of driving. Something about being behind the wheel, with full control of destination was empowering and humbling. It often times is the catalyst that opens you to a world much bigger than you realized. It fosters intuitive exploration that can only be satisfied by the act of going. As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate the act of going, and what an influence it has had on me. It has pushed my passion for travel further, posing more questions about my personal direction.

There aren’t too many highways that will keep you from running into McDonalds and motels. Most exits contain the standard Shell and Kangaroo gas stations, a few fast food restaurants, and of course a southern staple, Waffle House. As you begin to distance yourself from the light pollution that drowns most cities along North Carolina highways, you begin to notice a distinct calmness on the road.

Highway 64, one of the oldest of these roads that ventures west, deep into the Nantahala National Forest. Its curves are unlike other terrains, whipping you around sharp bends, and spitting you out into enormous valleys sprinkled with trees draped in moss. As the sun skips across the sky it meets the road in the dusk hours, beaming light through the windows of the car, sending reflections scattering across the ceiling. Once gone, the darkness infects the road and limits visibility down to shadows. The curves of the road begin to slim as you rise further and further up mountainsides, only to discover that this is one of many mountains covering the diverse region of the highway.

I hadn’t driven in mountains since I was in high school, and for good reason. The curves and bends, intertwined with the constantly-changing speeds had my anxiety at an all-time high. All the great things I loved about driving went out the window, both metaphorically and literally, when I trekked through the mountains. But there was something different about the mountains on Highway 64. The anxiety and fear went away, and comfort set in. The curves came naturally as the wheel spun over itself, my foot did not hesitate on the break, and my focus seemed to stray from the road and center on the land that was in front of me. The rise and fall of the mountains were methodical as each valley was met with quaint houses and rolling hills.

It was on the road that I was reminded of the act of going. That sometimes it doesn’t necessarily mean that going will be easy and or comfortable, but it is in that lack of comfortability that discoveries are made.

Highlands: A Family History

Downtown Highlands, N.C. (photo courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce)

By Jamie Angle, 2017

The Baty family has been in Highlands, North Carolina for seemingly forever. They are among the two or three historical Scottish families who remained in the area after their migration from Scotland. Erin Baty, a young blonde woman in her twenties or thirties, left this hometown for a bit to go to school in Georgia, but the Highlands called her home. Highlands is a name that actually refers to the Scottish Highlands and, according to Erin, was the reason the town was named as such. Her family was originally Norse people who moved to Scotland, but then many of them wanted to “pursue more scholarship” in Germany and Whales, then finally moved to the United States. While they tried to settle in Virginia and other original United States colonies, the Baty family ended up moving further south because of the landscape. The landscape of the Highlands reminded them of the landscape from Scotland. Therefore, this became the home of the Baty family. The original Scottish families intermarried and became friends with other cultural families in the area, such as the Irish and Native Americans. They brought with them a vast knowledge of agriculture and survival techniques to share with these other ethnicities. The blending of skills and cultures renders the city of Highlands, as we know it today, a truly unique place.

“The Irish didn’t really know what to do with that kind of landscape…The Scots kind of stayed in the area and branched out…They had a huge relationship and connection to the Cherokee Indians, which is why you see a lot of that influence here. This is their land. It was, from my understanding, rather peaceful. My dad is fifty percent Cherokee.”

While Baty’s can be found all over the world at this point, from their trips to Whales, Germany, Virginia, and further migration over the years, many still call the Highlands home. Erin claims she can walk into many local establishments and ask if the local owner “knows a Baty” and the answer is almost always a resounding “yes.” They have watched the area expand over the years. Erin found it sad that she can no longer see the places her grandfather used to talk about. She told me that, “There is no landmark anymore that [she] can come back to and say, ‘oh look at this, or oh look at that.’” She stated, “When [she] was a kid, there were maybe four shops.” These places have long since been torn down to make space for the tourist society that we see in the Highlands today. However, she is not without some remnants of these olden times. A historical photo book was put together showing historical documents of her family throughout the years.

Highlands is a city of rich cultural history and the Baty family is only one example of the city’s heritage. Erin said, the beauty of the land “called” too many different people and their combined cultures creates an unforgettable atmosphere that you have to see to believe.

“This land calls to people…the beauty enraptures people here. There is great wealth and there is great poverty, but they all come up here for the land.”

Harrah’s Casino Resort Bringing Large Business to Reservation

Harrah’s Casino Resort (courtesy of Harrah’s Casino Resort)

By Jamie Angle, 2017

Our drive out to Murphy, North Carolina began with great music, conversation, and excitement about the adventure ahead. Five hours into the drive, this excitement had long petered off. We were exhausted, hungry, and ready to arrive at Harrah’s Casino, the first stop on our trip. Just when we were almost at the destination, we realized there was not one, but TWO casinos of the same name, within an hour of one another. We had typed in the wrong address. I could feel my heart sink as I watched the GPS add another hour to our arrival time.

We finally arrived at the hotel around 8:30PM; still hungry, still exhausted. The way the hotel is set up, guests are either forced to pay for valet parking in the front of the hotel for direct access to the lobby, or they are forced to walk through the entire casino bottom floor to reach the elevator to go upstairs to the lobby. Unwilling to pay for parking, we walked for five minutes through the brightly colored slot machines, retirees playing blackjack, and skilled quick-moving dealers. Classic sounds of jingling, excited shouts, and dramatic losing sighs filled the air as thick as the lingering cigarette smoke. We made our way through, checked into the large lobby, and headed to our rooms to settle in.

The hotel rooms were decent at best. While it was a spacious room with a large king-sized bed, the pillows were cheap and uncomfortable, wifi was not included, and the shower had a dark substance in the molding that I did not wish to question. Even so, exhausted, I fell into bed for a few minutes before making a move downstairs to meet up with the guys for dinner.

Downtown Murphy is about ten to fifteen minutes from the hotel, and every restaurant we looked up downtown closed at 9. This gave us very limited access to food, and we settled for a casino restaurant. The casino housed a Starbucks, hotdog shop, pizza place, and sandwich shop. Of these options, we chose the sandwich shop. While my hunger drove me to devour the first half of my sandwich, the second half I actually remember tasting. The second half was warm with melted cheese, meat, and Italian dressing. It tasted good, but was nothing to write home about. There was nothing particularly special about the sandwich, we got what we paid for. Originally, I had expected the food to be very overpriced because of its location in a casino, however, the price was not bad, it was a $6-7 sandwich, not much more than you would pay at Subway.

After dinner, the boys headed to bed and I headed to place some bets. As a young adult, I would have regretted it if I had not at least tried to gamble a little bit. Therefore, I went in with $30 to play (not very well) some Blackjack. The first couple games were not bad. There was a $10 minimum and I was fascinated by the speed of the hands of the dealer and the bets of the crowd around the table. I was easily the least experienced player. The two women to my right seemed to be having a lot of fun; they expressed their excitement with every win and their disappointment with each loss. The woman to my left was less excitable, but winning more than everyone else at the table. Finally, the two men to her left seemed rather grumpy and expressed nothing.

Everything seemed to be going well until my last game. The less-excitable woman to my left won blackjack in the beginning and I kept playing until my cards reached 16. Aware that I was unlikely to win (and that this was the last of my cash), I resounded myself to a loss. However, when the dealer dealt her own cards, she busted, or so she thought. After the money was delivered, the woman who had already won blackjack decided to point out that the dealer had made a mistake and had scored 20 before dealing her last card. This brought about some issues, the dealer called over her manager, who doubled as her father, in order to correct the mistake. Tensions were high as we tried to recount our cards, return the money we thought we had won, and scowled towards the woman who had pointed out the mistake.

I returned my money and escaped the situation before things got out of hand. There was a lot of money on the line for the other players. Personally, I was happy just to get out of there; although I was a bit bitter towards the dealer after the game. Drained from the day of travel and dizzy from the smoky atmosphere of the casino, I happily collapsed onto my uncomfortable pillows in my average hotel room and instantly fell asleep.

The Daily Grind & Wine

The rooftop view at Daily Grind & Wine (photo by Jake Hackman)

By Johvonn Smith, 2017

On our first full day on the trip, we started in Murphy, NC. We decided to get up
relatively early since we knew that we had a full day of traveling ahead of us. After checking out
of the hotel, we decided to head toward downtown Murphy where we hoped to find people to
talk to and find a place to eat breakfast. The drive was no more than 10 minutes and we
immediately started walking and taking pictures once we found a safe place to park. Jake stopped
to ask a police officer where we could eat breakfast and she directed us towards The Daily Grind
and Wine. This small diner/coffee shop had a quiet and southern vibe that seemed to fit perfectly
in Murphy. We immediately realized that The Daily Grind & Wine was a staple in Murphy.
Every customer that entered was known by name, and the workers also knew exactly what the
person was going to order. After wandering around and looking at the menu for a while, we
finally decided to order.

Inside the Daily Wine & Grind. (Photo by Johvonn Smith)

I ordered a cheese and bacon biscuit and hot chocolate, with no expectations considering
I was not familiar with the city or the diner. The hot chocolate came first which was perfect
considering I was extremely cold from being outside. The hot chocolate had whipped cream on top, and was made with fresh ingredients; most importantly, it tasted amazing. Even though I ordered a small drink, the size was still rather large, which made it even better. Shortly after drinking some of my hot chocolate, my biscuit came out, again giving me a pleasant surprise. The biscuit was made with their own special recipe, and it was delicious. The only downside to the biscuit is that the bacon was rather rubbery, but aside from that the texture of everything else was amazing. Overall, the taste was amazing, and I would definitely recommend The DailyGrind & Wine if you ever find yourself in Murphy, NC. Their servers are extremely nice and welcoming and provide a southern atmosphere that you would expect in a small town likeMurphy. In addition, you will find pictures and tons of rich history posted throughout the diner,along with a plethora of wine options to choose from in the back of the diner.

Highlands Holding True to Tradition

Nantahala National Forest. (Photo by Jake Hackman )

By Jake Hackman, 2017

Ripping through the sharp turns of the Nantahala National Forest, one can tend to forget that civilization, in fact, is near. Highway 64 tests driver’s endurance, as you tease the edge of cliffs, expecting the vehicle to topple down the mountainside, all the while, the view begs for your undivided attention. As the mountains caress over one another, you can find yourself buried in the deep valleys that separate them. Nudged in between are small pockets of communities that call the vast range home.

“I always knew I wanted to buy it, if it ever became available and once it did, I wasn’t going to miss my chance,” said McCall. (Photo by Jake Hackman)

Highlands is one of these towns, home to just under 1,000 residents who live in the southern region of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Founded in 1875, it was deemed Highlands for its towering elevation changes. This small town has withstood the test of time, keeping its locals rooted in the community while also bringing in travelers looking to experience a different part of North Carolina.

“I have lived in Highlands my whole life,” says Nick McCall, owner of The Pizza Place. “This place born and bred me, and there is just something about our town that is unique.”

McCall, is a third generation Highlands resident, business owner, and what many would deem a historical item. His roots grow deep in the Highlands community with his grandfather once the mayor and his father a town board member and fire marshall. In a town of just under 1,000 McCall graduated from Highland Public Schools, which enrolls around 330 students per year. After receiving a degree in political science from Appalachian State University, he decided to move back home where he would work providing electricity and internet to the town of Highlands.

“I originally came back and was managing all of the satellite towers throughout the area,” said McCall. “I just did it because I was good at it, I didn’t really like it. That is what spawned me buying the pizza shop–I always knew I wanted to buy it, if it ever became available and once it did, I wasn’t going to miss my chance.

In 2012, McCall opened up The Pizza Place–located on the main street that runs through Highlands. The front doesnt scream pizza, nor do any of the shops that parallel the mountain range that abides just outside the town. But the aroma that whofts itself through the air, penetrating storefronts and tree limbs is one that can be recognized by local and tourist alike.

“I started working here when I was 12 to make money to buy a car, and once I began, I never stopped thinking about it,” said McCall. “It wasn’t even that I liked pizza that much, it was more that, I wanted to give back to the community that gave me so much.”

Six years later and McCall has seen the effects ripple through his evironment. From employing local students throughout the summers, to donating to the schools and sports teams, McCall has his hands in the community outside of The Pizza Place. He also acknowledges his success not only to the dedicated people who reside in Highlands year around, but also the tourists who bring in the largest influx of business each year.
Eight months out of the year Highlands is home to its residents, local business owners, and the seasonal hunter; but during the summer and fall months, the city entertains more than 20,000 people. From daily visitors to temporary residents, the surrounding mountain range contains over 10 different country clubs. When vacationers aren’t spending time on the golf course, exploring a hiking trail, or enjoying one of many lakes, they tend to find themselves downtown weaving in and out of small shops and of course, through McCall’s pizza joint.

“At first the community was thrown through a loop when the influx of visitors started grew alot,” said McCall. “After a few years, people began appreciating the business and it also expanded the town and its reputation substantially.”

This rising popularity of Highlands begs the question of whether it can hold true to its authentic small-town feel that originally attracted visitors. In the wake of commercialization and small-town retreat, Highlands has found its footing and McCall doesn’t see it going anywhere that soon.

“Yes, sometimes it is intimidating seeing bigger companies come in and try to buy out stuff from us, but at the end of the day it is about allowing the change without letting it change you, and I think we have been doing that for years and we will do it in the future.”

White Squirrels Taking over N.C.

A double rainbow crosses over Brevard. (Photo by Jake Hackman

By Kate Seiber, 2017

Traveling down Highway 64, Brevard is a town you might accidentally pass without a second thought. Seemingly ordinary, Brevard is your standard All-American, North Carolina town- The people are friendly, the food is decent, and you’ve got your standard, run-of-the-mill wildlife- deer, rabbits, and squirrels. But the “normalness” ends there. Brevard, interestingly enough, is famously known for its random population of white squirrels. Not to be confused with albino squirrels, Brevard’s white squirrels have normal pigmentation and typical dark squirrel eyes- it’s the snow-white fur and gray streak that runs down the length of their spine that makes them stand out. Squirrels are a common critter in every town- you might not view them as anything other than glorified vermin, but in Brevard, white squirrels are revered and put on a pedestal.

Students dressed up as white squirrels (Photo by Jake Hackman)

Colored squirrels aren’t necessarily anything to write home about. We’ve all heard of black squirrels, gray squirrels, and of course the standard brown squirrel, but white? Those are relatively uncommon. Only twelve states in the US can claim populations of white squirrels, which makes these select few outlying critters extra special in the animal kingdom. These squirrels didn’t just appear out of nowhere either. Sometime in 1949, a carnival truck carrying a small amount of these white squirrels overturned enabling them to escape and begin breeding, relatively actively, in the wild. Though still rare to spot, these squirrels have been roaming the county for over 50 years and attracting tourists all the while. As a small, arguably out-of-the-way town in NC, the amount of individuals that come searching for the white squirrel is significant.

Driving through the town, it’s not hard to tell how much the residents of Brevard adore the beloved white squirrel. The love for these creatures is so real that the town hosts an annual White Squirrel Festival every Memorial Day weekend complete with free live music, 5K and 10K races, guided tours, exhibits, squirrel feeder, and photo contests. But the fondness all started in 1986 when a town ordinance was established for these creatures. The ordinance reads as follows: “The entire area embraced within the corporate limits of the city is hereby designated as a sanctuary for all species of squirrel (family Sciuriadae), and in particular the ‘Brevard White Squirrel.’ It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, kill, trap, or otherwise take any protected squirrels within the city by this section.” So if one of these speedy, little things runs out in front of your car, you’d better slam on those brakes- that goes without being said.

The Magic of Murphy

Winthrow has lived in Murphy for over 20 years. (Photo by Jake Hackman)

By Jake Hackman 2017

Standing at a stark 5’8”, Rob Winthrow looks almost childish in comparison to his 8-foot pot, shaped like a gnome. “He hasn’t been named yet,” said Winthrow. “Usually it takes me a couple of weeks to figure out what I want to name them.”

This was the first and only encounter that I would ever have with the bearded man, whose smile was as infectious and warm. The ease with which he began unfolding his life before me was as if e were narrating his own biography—only stopping the narrative to take small sips of black coffee.

“I originally grew up in Colorado where I spent most of my younger life,” said Winthrow. It wasn’t until after I stopped working labor jobs, that I found I wanted to do something artistic with my hands.”

Peachtree & Alpine St. One of the locations where Winthrow’s work is sold. (Photo by Jake Hackman)

At the time, Winthrow hadn’t a clue what that idea meant. Using your hands? He had no sense of direction, no driving force, no influence, he simply wanted to do something with his hands. This started a season of his life, he titled trial and error. During this period, he experimented with a plethora of work including painting, drawing, and constructing, but nothing seemed to stick.

Finally, he received a ceramic kiln from his wife. Having no background or experience in ceramics, Winthrow just began spinning, practicing his new craft each day. His passion quickly grew as he enrolled in classes at John C. Campbell Folk School—an art school in Brasstown, N.C. Here, his work was fostered and encouraged by other local creatives and his skills grew exponentially.

“The Folk School really made an impact on me because it was an environment full of encouraging people all looking to express themselves,” says Winthrow.

Over the last 25 years, Winthrow has resided in his quaint home nestled in the valley of Cherokee County, throwing a variety of pots and vases that have earned him awards in local craft shows. Some of his work is displayed in local shops in both Murphy and neighboring towns. He also has taken up teaching at the Folk School, as a way of giving back to the art community that helped him discover his passion.

“What has always struck me about Murphy is that time stops here. We are literally 20 years behind everyone and that says something about us,” said Winthrow. “In the last 25 years, I never once have had to lock the front door to my home or take the keys out of my truck.”

Winthrow’s love for Murphy extends far beyond his comfortability, he even asked me if I wanted to come to his art show to see the work of other Murphy artists. There is an aura about the place, as if each person was feeling the same thing that he felt, a common bond amongst all those folded into the jagged mountains. When asked what this is Winthrow says it’s pretty simple:

“It’s magical here, and no, I don’t mean some type of metaphor for magic, I mean the real stuff. This place and these people are truly magical.”

Jamie Angle

Jamie Angle is an Elon University senior. She has a double major in political science and English with a concentration in professional writing and rhetoric. She is Vice President of the Elon martial arts club and a member of the service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Outside of class, Jamie enjoys running, drinking way too much coffee, and reading a good book.

Kate Sieber

Kate Sieber is a senior English major with a concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. Originally from Geneva, Illinois, Kate’s family just recently moved to Philidelphia and she’s not quite sure what to make of the transition but is trying to embrace the change. Kate currently works as a Writing Consultant in Elon’s Writing Center for Excellence. In her spare time, Kate enjoys listening to Billy Joel, going on long runs, and making really lame jokes. Once she graduates in May, she hopes to move to New York City and find a job either writing and/or editing.

Jake Hackman


Jake Hackman is a writer, photographer, and storyteller from Detroit, MI. He is a senior at Elon University where he is studying journalism and photojournalism. His work covers a range of style from culture, music, and food. His work strives to show people an alternative perspective of culture, through a photojournalistic lens with the hopes of encouraging others to explore both themselves and the world around them. After graduation, Jake plans to pursue work in freelance photography and writing in Santa Monica.