About

Self Portrait, 2002, Hasselbald 500 C/M

Self Portrait, 2002, Hasselbald 500 C/M

My obsession with photography began my senior year of high school 20 years ago. I took photography as an elective, a decision that uncovered a passion I didn’t know I had.

I carried a camera everywhere, all the time.

My teacher (an accomplished artist in her own right) recognized my enthusiasm and nurtured it. She ran her class more like a college course than a high school class room, nothing like you will find today. (unfortunately)

Anyway, after a pathetic year of college (long story not worth telling) I left school and landed a job working for a photo lab & studio, owned and operated by an awesome woman, Carol Barclay, a professional photographer.

She taught me the basics of color printing, studio lighting and eventually I became her assistant/second shooter for graduations and weddings. Carol also let me use the darkroom to print my own work in the off hours, allowing me to learn a hell of a lot more than I would have, had I stayed in college to get a BFA. (She would know, she went to the same school.)

Fast forward to Summer of ’98. Matt and I have been together for a few years at this point and we saved up enough money to move to Boulder, CO. I had hopes of going to the Art Institute and Matt wanted to get closer to the craft beer industry.

Over the 2+ years we were out west I worked as waitress, a staff golf course photographer, a custom color printer for a pro photo lab, shot a couple weddings and worked for Left Hand Brewing Co. doing inside sales support and managing the tasting room. Good times.

In the Spring of 2000, we moved back east to the Adirondacks where Matt acquired a job brewing for a brewpub. I fell back to waiting tables, worked in a winery tasting room and did some retail management all the while working for Carol again doing Santa pictures, high school graduations and the occasional wedding.

That summer, I put myself out there solo with Carol’s encouragement and booked 13 weddings in 3 months. I also helped Carol on a couple larger weddings. (That’s a lot…in case you didn’t know.)

I made good money, learned a whole lot more and burned myself out.

All this time my work was…okay. It wasn’t bad, my clients were happy, but it wasn’t great. I wanted great.

The artist in me didn’t really surface until 2002 when I attended a 2 week black & white photography workshop in Rockport, Maine.

It was there that my perception, my mind’s eye, shifted. I began to use my camera as a means of painting with light. I played with movement and self portraits for the first time. And it was amazing.

I created real work for the first time in my life.

Fast forward another year. We bought a house, built a B&W archival darkroom in the basement, got married and I’m back in Rockport taking another workshop. This time with an accomplished (read published) artist and photographer whose work I very much admired. My expectations were high to say the least.

I think it’s safe to say he saw me coming and decided to treat my like his little pet project. You could call it tough love. It was awful. I know he meant well. He saw something in my work and wanted to push me. Force me out of my comfort zone.

Unfortunately, he pushed me out of the world of photography. I allowed him to crush my world. But hey, I was young and in hindsight, it was good for me. I wasn’t going down the right path.

So, my photography career came to a screeching halt and I focused all my energy on starting a brewpub with my husband. This is another long story I won’t go into…we ended up with a restaurant. More good times.

Add a couple of beautiful children and we are just about up to speed.

I’ve been out of the professional photography game for a while and things have certainly changed, a lot. Digital photography has birthed a whole new way of making images, both good and bad.

I tried it. I have a DSLR. Honestly, I never really took to it.

It was fun at first. It was great for sharing the kids development with friends and family and I still pick it up now and again. But there is a part of me that wished I picked up my film cameras from the start…

So, better late than never, I’ve done just that.

For the last year or so I’ve been shooting film again (as well as playing with my iPhone) and it feels amazing. I’m back and ready to shoot again.

Take a look around, if you haven’t already. If you like what you see (feel what I’m putting down, so to speak) I’d love to talk to you about your project.

To set up a meeting & discuss your project, wedding or photography needs please visit my contact page. I looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,

Jess

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