Preeminent Vail photographer Jack Affleck makes a career change
If you’re in Vail often, then Jack Affleck’s work has probably been imprinted into your subconscious by now.
His photos are ubiquitous in town; they may be the first thing you see on a banner in the roundabout as you arrive or the last image you take in on a poster as you leave the parking structure.
Affleck has been a student of the sun for several decades and can tell you where it will rise and set in relation to where you are in Eagle County on any day of the year. He found photography at a young age and was working in the business fresh out of college in the ’80s. He landed in Vail, where he worked at the Vail Daily as a photographer, covering the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships with writer John Calhoun. Calhoun moved on to the world of real estate not long after, and Affleck stuck with photography, working for then-Vail Associates and staying on though its transition into Vail Resorts and the large company it is today. He and Calhoun remained close and would partner up on photo shoots once in a while; Afleck liked the people he encountered in that business, and they liked him.
“When I started with Slifer Smith & Frampton, (Affleck) was at my side that entire time, taking photos,” said Calhoun, who is now a director of sales and marketing at East West Partners.
On a Jack Affleck photo shoot, there are no surprises, only expectations. And he always delivers.
Affleck will tell you the secret is in the preparation. Scoping things out ahead of time is as much a tool of his trade as the camera itself — he visits, he revisits, he watches and he waits.
In the waiting, Affleck’s mind races. Throughout the past few years, he’s been thinking about a career change, something that could take advantage of what he’s learned through photography that doesn’t involve 4:45 a.m. hikes in sub-zero temperatures.
“Through photography, I’ve become really familiar with who I am and how I relate to other people,” Affleck said. “I really love engaging with people — the experiences of life and sharing those through photography.”
In looking at his photography years through a different lens, Affleck has realized his background in engaging with people and sharing life experiences may translate well into a field where he can help people make the major life decision of moving to the mountains.
“It’s funny how life just leads you down the next path,” Affleck said. “Without photography, I would have never moved to this valley. This new career that I’m so excited about, it’s a path I was led to.”
JUST FOR FUN
From collaborating on photo shoots, Calhoun always knew Affleck had the potential to be a successful real estate agent.
About five years ago, Calhoun invited Affleck out to the Palm Springs area of California to relax, enjoy a different kind of mountainous valley for a few days and — there was just one more thing — check out the interesting real estate project Calhoun was working on. Just for fun.
“He was very intrigued by it,” Calhoun said. “It was fun, and I was able to communicate that to him.”
Back in Colorado, thinking things over as he often does while waiting for confirmation that the sun is going to rise at the expected time, in the expected place, with no surprises, Affleck found himself surprised as to where his thoughts were drifting.
“It was a really cool project,” Affleck said. “I was thinking, ‘I can get my arms around this.’ I was just visiting (Calhoun) because he was a good friend of mine, but the seed was planted.”
Fast forward to today.
“The real estate license is not the easiest thing to get,” Affleck said. “It’s a tough slug, a tough test to take and to learn.”
Even more difficult, for most people, would be landing a job at a top-tier real estate company.
Slifer Smith & Frampton President Johnny Pfeiffer said hiring Affleck signals that despite the company’s growth, they’re still just getting started.
Calhoun said the company is as fortunate to have Affleck as Affleck is to have landed with them.
“Finally, he realized now is the time to go,” Calhoun said of Affleck, “and join absolutely the best real estate firm that I’m aware of, anywhere.”
Matt Fitzgerald, the branch broker for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate in Lionshead Village, said Affleck’s background will add a credible element to his work with clients in finding a home.
“So many visitors and locals know Jack Affleck’s incredible resort, environmental and lifestyle photography work depicting the beauty of our community,” Fitzgerald said. “It is with great pleasure we welcome him to our SSF family.”
Learn more about Affleck and his work as a broker at jackknowsvail.com.
Tourism and outdoor recreation employ a lot of people, but those workers’ wages are below county and regional averages.