Photography has always been a deeply emotional act for me. I put so much of myself into creating beautiful art out of our everyday moments, it has always felt very personal and intimate to me. It feels...vulnerable.
I read a quote quite some time ago and it really resonated with me. I'm no poet and I can't come up with lyrical prose to make sense of the world around me. So reading this specific quote verbalized all the things I was feeling in regards to photography. It felt so good. It felt like, "Yes. This. All of this. This is me. This. This. This." Since then, I've been able to understand the feelings that I feel and why I feel them in regards to art and photography- and now I can use that knowledge even better than before, because it's stronger.
" You don't make a photograph with just a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." - Ansel Adams
When I approach my own personal work or a clients session, the prep work is essential to me- but I'm always doing it, every single day. I prepare myself by training my brain to seek out that inspiration. I set aside a time to intentionally take in inspiration, but when I'm not doing that, my brain is doing it unintentionally.
I am heavily inspired by music. I love listening to music and I would 100% rather sit around listening to music than I ever would TV. I want my soul stirred by musicians putting their heart and soul into their songs. I want to feel what they are feeling.
I take inspiration from light. I love light as a subject in and of itself. I love noticing how the light falls, how it caresses surfaces, how it moves and takes on a life of it's own. I love the way it illuminates the most ordinary objects and makes them beautiful.
Often times while I am doing these things, I am thinking of all the things that have brought me to this place. The experiences I have had, the people I've loved (and the ones who have already left this Earth), the love I have received, the art I've seen, stories I've heard, and photographs I've seen before.
Basically, I get in my feelings.
Call it mediation, call it thinking, call it daydreaming, call it whatever you want. This is my process.
When I am at session, I am making use of this prep work. I'm in tune with my what and my why- they come to me easily now.
And I'm able to anticipate and see (really see) moments and stories unfolding. And I'm able to shoot accordingly.
When it comes to the editing process, I have a pretty specific routine that really plays into my turnaround times. My work is often times not viewed as a single individual photo, but instead as a body of work. A collection. It's viewed as a whole. Sure, I'll have favorite photos within the collection, but they are usually stronger when viewed as a whole, especially with my Day in the Life Work. I take time to marinate (yes, I call it marinate!) on the photos before I edit them and then again after they are edited. I need a day to marinate again and view them as a whole before I send them to my clients.
If you'd like to book your Storytelling Session with me or a Day in the Life Session, I am more than happy to talk with you and talk about what stories you want to preserve. Click here or the Contact tab above.
And to my existing Clients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for respecting my creative process and hiring me to tell your stories. It's such an honor.
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Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.