When I met Jennifer at the Arts Project during the Visual Fringe opening in 2014, I was completely delighted by her peaceful work, and we hit it off immediately. Enjoy a little Q&A with a very talented London-Canada based artist.
Can you tell us a bit about how and why you became a photographer?
I got my first camera when I was 10 or so, a Kodak Disc. Remember those? They took those little round discs of film with teeny tiny negatives.
I made photos of everything–my friends, my brothers, my cabbage patch kids, and I drove my parents nuts with all the film and processing, so that was the end of that. In high school I needed a technical credit and luckily photography fell into that category, so I signed up. Unfortunately it was only a half credit but I loved it so much I took it twice. When high school was coming to an end and we had to decide what we wanted to be when we grew up photography never even crossed my mind. It seemed like more of a fun thing to do than a career that someone could make money at so I ended up at university studying microbiology and immunology. I lasted a year. It was interesting but definitely not creatively satisfying so I switched to the photography program at the nearby college.
For me photography is a beautiful balance between creativity and technical ability. I have a bit of an unusual way of seeing the world and I love sharing it with people.
How do you stay inspired and creative?
I force myself to do the work. Every day.
Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s TedTalk? If you haven’t, you really should watch it; her ideas are spot on.
I may not make photographs every day, and every photograph may not be art, but in the actual act of making I’m expanding my mind and more ideas are born. And if I have an idea and I get stuck then I delve into my inspiration files on Pinterest.
And I keep lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists of photographs I want to make, techniques I want to try, and business ideas for now and in the future. So when I need to photograph something, anything, and I just can’t get drag my brain out of bed, then I have my list to give me a little boost to get started.
What are your thoughts on selfies?
I’m not much of a selfie taker, but they are certainly a fun and creative way for people to share who they are. And if it inspires people to express themselves, then I’m all for it!
Are there any strategies you can recommend to avoid perfectionism?
Perfectionism is definitely something I struggle with. It’s hard when being my own boss, there’s no one there to check my work and guide me. I start by giving myself deadlines to help keep things in perspective. I also find when I get deep into a project it’s usually a good time to take a break, it helps me to step back for a minute and really make sure I’m heading in the direction I originally intended or to change course if needed.
Really, there’s not much in life that you can’t choose to make perfect later. So make something, use it to see if it’s working, then reassess.
How does nature inform your work?
How can nature not inform my work? Our world is beautiful and always growing, I can’t help but worship its' free spirit.
Your work is so peaceful; do you ever get angry, and if so, how to you handle anger?
I don’t think I really get angry, more frustrated. Again it’s keeping things in perspective. Once I realize it’s happening I try to think about exactly what it is that’s frustrating and why. It’s usually quite far removed from the current situation. Often that realization is enough to bring ease or at least it results in something I can control, and if not I’ll try to dig deeper. I lean on Darren, my husband, a lot when I’m frustrated. He’s the epitome of patience and amazing at helping me to work through my problems. Plus my personality tends towards research and organization so I’m always on google.