Islander native makes an impact behind the camera lens

Meade discusses his experiences in 2020 and beyond.

When Andrew Meade was a member of some Mercer Island youth groups, he was usually the guy with the camera.

The 2008 Mercer Island High School graduate said he also entered a couple of photography contests back then, but he didn’t consider that skill a major part of his life at that time.

Last summer, Meade’s photos and videos made a huge impact on people during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, which stemmed from the murder of George Floyd. He took some drone shots of the protesters as they moved toward Seattle’s Capitol Hill and was the original drone photographer of the BLM street mural in that area. His captures received millions of shares on social media and were used by major media outlets, he said.

“I think the big thing was for me, just being able to share such important things to people who want to stay as far away from the action as possible,” said Meade, who went about his work in a safe manner while sharing first-hand accounts of the proceedings. He was never pepper-sprayed and wasn’t present when any of the shootings occurred in the CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) zone, he said.

Meade, 31, added about his experience while capturing what was happening in the CHOP: “I’d do live stories or whatnot, and showing the real truth of what was going on. And I think that was really important to them — the inspirational message was important. As a photographer, just being able to share my vision and artwork was kind of a big thing.”

Now a resident in Seattle’s Belltown area, Meade began drone documenting the emptiness of the city when COVID first hit. He said it was a scary place to live when buildings were getting boarded up — until the artists showed up.

While photographing and videotaping the artists’ work, he launched a website called COVID Street Art and subsequently received tags on his documentation from all over the world. It was exciting that people appreciated his inspirational offerings.

“It went from this gloomy downtown and started changing. Every day I’d go out and see something new and talk to the artists, make friends with them and try to get their work out there,” he said.

Meade received another huge boost recently when his drone photo of the Space Needle bearing a “Mask Up” flag made the cover of Visit Seattle, the official visitors’ guide (

He shot the photo last April while situated on top of another building. With his high-end drone connected to his phone, he can see a live image of what’s transpiring overhead and adjust the settings accordingly to capture a stellar shot.

The magazine is available digitally and in print: “I feel a little warm and fuzzy whenever I see the magazine out there.”

Meade has his own company, Andrew Jacob Media, and also works at Samsung in its business strategy group. Some of his photos of the street artwork were used in a Verizon commercial, and in September he photographed a masked-up small wedding and livestreamed the ceremony for people who couldn’t attend because of COVID restrictions.

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Meade, who was inspired by his dad videotaping family moments years ago and who received a Nikon D5300 camera from his grandparents as a college graduation gift to get him rolling.

“I think everyone this year has grown as people and just become more aware and having more empathy for other people,” he said. “It’s been pretty pivotal and given me more credibility with the work I’ve been doing. It’s been really special as an artist.”

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