For your consideration — The Heart & Soul of Kansas Sports

Long before COVID-19 changed our world, my hope and plans were beginning to take shape for a project that would cap my long and honored career with work I hope will become a memorable thank you to the state of Kansas.

For most of my 52 years of professional photography work, my focus has been on the news and sports events happening in the state of Kansas. For 27 years, I worked as a newspaper photographer for the Topeka Capital-Journal and the Arizona Republic. While a senior at Topeka High School, I started working in the newspaper’s photo lab, advanced as a photographer, chief photographer, director of photography and managing editor of visuals. 

For four years, I worked as the Republic’s sports photographer and freelanced throughout the United States for numerous national publications. For the past 23 years, I have been the staff photographer for Kansas Athletics, Inc., covering the 18 sports played at KU.

From a young age, I covered the zenith of professional and amateur sports. I photographed my first NCAA Final Four games and Super Bowl IV as an 18-year-old. I have traveled the world covering the pinnacle of professional and amateur events. However, I have also photographed many activities ranging from youth sports to senior Olympians and every athlete in between those extremes.

While covering sporting events that many call “big time,” I never forgot how much fun it was to document the events where Kansans of all ages compete for the purest joy and satisfaction in competitions that reveal “The Heart and Soul of Kansas Sports.” I came to the realization two years ago that my heart and soul needed to delve into this with all the skills and talents my long career allowed me to develop.  To be far-reaching and all-encompassing, I want to travel to all 105 counties in the state of Kansas to explore the possibilities. 

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At the end of June 2020, I retired from Kansas Athletics after 23 years. Considerable thought and prayer went into this decision. It would be safe to remain at KU. 

However, I love challenges, especially those that will help further my skills and allow me to meet new and fascinating people, see new events, and document something of an honor.  

Because sports throughout the world have been on hold during the pandemic, I believe my plans will have even greater meaning to the people involved and the fans that attend. These developments offer me an excellent opportunity to take photographs filled with sheer joy and emotion as our state, through its love of sports, resets itself for new greatness. Meeting new people, getting to know and understanding them, and sharing stories through words and pictures will have even more meaning.

I hope to continually enlighten and educate the people of Kansas and the United States throughout this journey with content shared on this website, An elegant audio-visual presentation, with multiple copies, will be created and donated to the state of Kansas after this journey. A coffee-table book is possible. I would travel anywhere to share the stories. 

With that intent in mind, a not-for-profit business, Action Images Photography, Inc., was created.  This 501C3 business was granted tax-free donation status in July of 2018 by the Internal Revenue Service.  Donations are fully tax-deductible. Every presentation would honor donors.

Local sportswriters, photographers, athletes and supportive Kansans have offered lists of events and personalities for me to cover. From young to old, I hope to cover every aspect of Kansas sport and document the activity, the competitors, the coaches, and the fans in a very personal way that will go far beyond just the event’s action. 

Please understand I cannot take on the financial needs for this project alone. I am looking for investors who can envision this project’s scope and the financial needs that go far beyond just showing up at an event to take photographs. Please let me meet with you or explain on the phone all of this in greater detail. I hope that you will be interested in donating to this endeavor. I believe that when you meet or talk to me and understand my passion for this venture, you will be enthused and want to be part of a very worthy project to honor Kansans and the sports they love.

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

— Jeff Jacobsen

Jeff Jacobsen has photographed practically every big event the sports world has to offer during a professional career that spans over 53 years. Jacobsen has seen things up close that only a diehard sports fan could in their dreams. His work for the Topeka Capital-Journal, Arizona Republic, Kansas Athletics, Inc., many national publications and now Action Images Photography, Inc., cemented his reputation as one of the nation’s finest sports photographers.

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