Welcome to another We the People series: highlighting creatives who are a part of the Renaissance Tribe and represent our Ethos. I ask you questions, you give us insights from your own life.
BEING AN INDIVIDUALIST DOESN’T MEAN BEING ALONE.
We are more capable together than we are by our lonesome. We become our best selves by connecting with others. We are better together.
Q. A classic: “What do I do?”
I document people existence by freezing it in real time. I want my clients to look back on the past and replay a memory that was worth reliving. I am fascinated that we are able to freeze time essentially with technology. I don’t like to say I own a business, I am an artist. I create art for a living, and capture events people will one day want to share with other generations. I do adventure tourism, commercial, wedding, couple, and portrait photography. I used to do events, but that wasn’t as intimate!
Q. “What are the best lessons your mom and dad taught you?”
My father taught me to work hard, and to always present my best work. I’d definitely have to say that’s where I get my work ethic from. Whenever I presented my best self I knew there was always room for improvement, and there still is in everything I do. My ability never reaches a limit to stop learning and stop growing.
My mom taught me to be an artist first, and then a businesswoman second. That’s when my art started to flourish. I focused on quality rather than trying to take photos for a quick fix at money. She taught me to refine my craft over and over again. Sometimes you have to break away from your personal craft to get an idea for a project. It’s what’s outside your craft that gives you so much inspiration for why you love what you do.
Q. “How did you get into photography?”
I was a young girl living with my mom in the attic of an apartment in upstate New York. The rooms were all connected because the apartment we lived in wasn’t entirely large. The bedroom, living room and dining room were all connected and a small wall dividing the kitchen, with a window in front of the sink so you could see into it from the rest of the house. I often times found myself fascinated by my mom’s college artwork. She did a less than perfect job at keeping in good condition, so I did my best job to put the pieces back together. She had an old film camera near her bed, so I would crawl into her bed and photograph my mom at her best moments dancing and singing around the house to Nora Jones in the kitchen. My mom is no longer with me, and looking back on how life panned out, I wish that old camera had film inside of it so I could visually replay one of the most memorable moments of my childhood.
So I saved up my money to buy a camera.
Q. “Who are some of your favorite photographers?”
The ones that create real art and aren’t opposed to going outside the norm of capturing a new idea or thought, rather than the kind that does it for the Instagram fame. That’s where I get most of my inspiration! If you are dying for a name I would say Ben Sasso’s latest artwork hits that theme very well.
Q. If you asked to teach photography, what would be the top 3 key skills someone should know and focus on?
- Focus on YOUR style. Editing, and shooting! It’s great to get inspiration from other artists, but keep pushing yourself to create new work or you’ll get lazy. You don’t want to just be a copy, you want your work to be organic. If it’s organic it will grow!
- Reflect – Why did you get into this line of work? What inspires you? What would you tell yourself in 10 years when you are burnt out, and the hype of photography has died. Do you love it enough to do it if you weren’t getting paid? Do you love it enough to do it even if the numbers on Instagram didn’t exist?
- Consistency, sticking to your guns on pricing, and professionalism while communicating with clients!
Q. What are some decisions you’ve made that have made you into who you are today?
- To try to be better tomorrow than I am today. Continue to try again the next day if that doesn’t work well.
- To always honor people, and be genuine. If you ask me a question you will always get the truth!
Q. What’s your favorite travel experience?
I was hiking the northern mountains of South East Asia. We hiked for hours in order to get to the house where we would put our packs and pitch up for the rest of the night! We would hike through bamboo forests and 3-inch wide ledge rice patties. Some of us fell into them and we had a foot full of mud the rest of the hike. We tracked on to find that our whole hike was filled with very beautiful lush tall grass that was springing up from the rice patties as far as the eye could see. After our third day hiking further and further into this village my camp mates and I were extremely sore. My hips were bloody and bruised from my pack rubbing them, and my feet in worse condition than my hips. We looked at our tour guide and she said, “follow me, I will take you to a secret waterfall to where you can soak your muscles.” We began on the trail again probably another mile out. My feet were screaming to take a rest, we walked through a lot of hanging vines covering an entrance way. Just behind the wall of vines was a waterfall in the distance spilling over between two large rock walls. We walked down to a large river the waterfall was pouring into and embraced it with all of our clothes on. The best part about it was none of us brought our camera or phones to document how beautiful the waterfall was. The villagers don’t bring tourist there very often because they don’t listen and get too close to the waterfall. The current is so strong it sucks them under and tourist often drown.
Q. What advice would you give to someone pursuing creative work?
It’s going to be hard, but if you are dedicated you can do it! If you work your ass off for 10 years you can make it big! Don’t expect your name or your creative outlet to instantly become famous! Measure yourself in smart goals.
Q. What advice would you give someone going through a creative setback right now?
Keep going, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to make you doubt your ability in everything you do, but continue to remind yourself of your worth. COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY. You can do it! You are amazing, and anyone that tells you otherwise can shut up!
Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
Q. If someone gave you 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?
I’d plant it in places that have the potential to have more impact than my pocket. Be responsible enough to tell it exactly where to go, and how to impact people in the right ways.
Q. One thing you liked about last year, and one thing you want to improve this coming year?
I liked how much I saw myself grow. I’ve had opportunities in life that have humbled me, and have allowed me to push my work to become even greater. I’m grateful to see such a huge change! There are always things I like to change, but with time I think it comes best through naturally growing instead of forcing it.
Q. What are some impactful book’s you’ve read recently and why?
- Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey — Everyone needs to get out of debt!
- Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lesko — If you want to read a raw book with a lot of real emotions in it, and will encourage you and speak power into you I would highly encourage this book. Bring a box of tissues with you.
- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – I’d say this book taught me how to love, and love fearlessly.
Q. If there were 5 skills you could master instantly, what would they be and why?
- How to win friends and influence people.
- Learning a new language, so when I travel I can help people feel important by learning their native tongue.
- Acquire the skill of obtaining more relevant information more rapidly in a way I can genuinely understand.
- Accounting, I find it incredibly difficult but amazingly important. The struggle is real!
- Business skills, you can always learn more especially in the modern day!
Q. If you were never paid for something in your life, what hobby, pursuit would you still do?
I would do what I’m doing right now. I’d show them just how beautiful of a human being they are through how I got to capture them.
Thank you Jordyn for taking the time to answer my Q’s!
You can follow her @Jordyn.Kelly on Instagram
— Josh Waggoner, Dec. 1st 2017, Chattanooga TN