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Interview With Photographer Jessica Jenney

Rose image

Skyward

Note: I first published this interview on my old blog, Photo Artist Textures

It is a great pleasure for me to present this interview with Jessica Jenney. In some ways, Jessica is responsible for the seed that grew into this site. In 2009, I joined the RedBubble community. While I have a background in photography, digital imaging and alternative processes, I had taken a long side road into graphic design and was just returning to creative photography. As a former professional hand-colorist, I wanted to find a way to digitally paint my photographs. The obvious choice seemed to be Corel Painter and while I do love that program, I wasn’t achieving what I wanted. When I saw Jessica’s work on RedBubble, I was stunned. I didn’t know what she was doing, but it resonated. Believe it or not, I wasn’t aware of textures! Jessica’s work has been and still is the bar that I look to as a level I want to accomplish. She has a strong personal vision, is highly prolific and every image is a delightful celebration of nature. Her work has been like a beacon guiding me  until I found my own path. I know I am not alone in finding inspiration in her work.

I have a soft spot for her gorgeous florals, but Jessica is known particularly for her intimate landscapes. She photographs country bridges, gardens, and the countryside around her home town of Bronxville, New York. She has been called the Queen of Autumn as her earthy, golden palette complements this season especially well. I’ll add the title of Empress of Skies and Water. Jessica uses a variety of post-processing tools to achieve her vision including textures and filters.

Interview

Photo Artist Textures

Hello Jessica, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Jessica Jenney

I live in Bronxville, NY, a charming village just north of Manhattan with my cat Chloe. Until recently, I was a caregiver to both my parents for years until their deaths, so I had put my photography on the back burner, but for the past several years I’ve had the time to return to my passion.

Photo Artist Textures
How long have you been photographing and what drew you to photography? Do you also have traditional art skills?  Did you go to school for photography or are you self taught?

Jessica
I developed an interest in photography about 18 years ago. It grew from my love of nature. Since I had no previous art training, I decided upon photography and acquired a manual SLR, shooting with the gorgeous Fuji Velvia slide film. I read everything I could about camera technique, light and composition. At that time I considered myself a purist and wouldn’t think about retouching my photos. I’ve come a long way since then!

Lilacs

Lilacs

Photo Artist Textures
What artists have inspired you?

Jessica

When I first picked up the camera I was inspired by photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas. The first for his realistic images of nature, and the second for his artistic composition and treatments. After I discovered Photoshop I was more inspired by the Romantic Era painters, in particular the Hudson River School of painting.

Wisteria

Wisteria photograph

Photo Artist Textures
What else inspires you or moves you?

Jessica
Nature of course is a constant inspiration, and music, especially while I’m editing my work. Music sets the mood and inspires my treatment of the subject at hand.

Photo Artist Textures
What makes you want to grab your camera?

Jessica
It can be something as simple as hearing the rustling of leaves, a light rain or interesting light or cloud formations. I carry my camera with me at all times, so I’m always at the ready when something captures my attention.

Rose Garden Trellis

Rose Garden with Trellis

Photo Artist Textures
Do you tend to shoot with natural light or strobes or a combination? Is there a certain kind of light you like most? Do you shoot with post-processing in mind? In other words, do you shoot any differently if you know you will use textures, etc.?

Jessica
I prefer to shoot in natural light, under overcast skies. Any time of day is fine for me, as long as the sun isn’t casting harsh shadows. When I’m shooting a still life indoors I know I’ll be applying textures so I’ll shoot against a neutral background.

Victorian Spring

Victorian Spring photograph

Photo Artist Textures
What equipment do you have in your Camera Bag?

Jessica
I have the Canon Powershot G10camera. It’s a point and shoot, which means no extra lenses. I keep it simple, and it’s enough for my needs. It’s small and not cumbersome. I think that probably because I didn’t have an SLR, I felt the need to somehow compensate for my lack of better equipment by applying effects and eventually textures. Well, I found my “easel” so to speak.

Editor’s note: proof that that you don’t need fancy equipment to create great art! I always assumed Jessica must have a better camera than mine, but no, I can’t use that excuse, darn!

English Garden

English Garden

Photo Artist Textures
What Photo Editing software do you use?

Jessica
I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 for most of my work. Also Nik Color Efex Pro 3

Summer Reflections

Summer Reflections

Photo Artist Textures
Do you regularly use any 3rd Party filters & plug-ins? If so, what are your favorites?

Jessica
Nik Color Efex Pro 3
Flaming Pear
Topaz  Adjust*

Autumn Tapestry

Autumn Tapestry

Photo Artist Textures
Do you create your own textures?

Jessica
I have created my own textures but more often download textures from the internet.

Bridge To Autumn

Bridge to Autumn

Gentle Reflection

Gentle Reflection

Photo Artist Textures
Jessica, you have such a mastery of post-processing techniques. Your ease  in working is evident in your prolificacy. How have you learned your post-processing techniques and what are your favorite resources for learning?

Jessica
I am far from having a mastery of post-processing techniques! I never learned the proper techniques, so I can’t recommend that people follow my example. Through trial and error I have found my own approach and it seems to work for me.

PhotoArtist Textures
You are definitely a Master of your own technique, which in the end is what matters.

The Restoration

The Restoration

Photo Artist Textures
Your work invites the viewer into the landscape. Bridges, paths, and roads are set at our feet and move through the image. Often a radiant soft light further down the path or just barely glimpsed around a bend draws us further in. Everything in the photograph including the use of depth of field and blurring moves us into the welcoming embrace of the landscape. Overhanging branches arch protectively, distant benches beckon, birds soar overhead, the earth glows sepia and gold.

Are these conscious choices to involve the viewer or a reflection of your own interaction with the landscape?

Jessica
I wouldn’t say that these are conscious choices. When I capture a particular scene I can see the potential and what I can bring to it. I don’t take time for camera settings, but will pay more attention to composition. I know I can imbue it with a sense of romance and mystery; creating light, darkness and drama in post processing. It’s a very intuitive process for me so I find it rather difficult to articulate.

Although there may be a dramatic transformation, I don’t stray too far from the original capture. I prefer autumn color and earth tones, so often times I will transform green foliage into autumn hues. I hope that people won’t be disappointed in my interpretation!

Photo Artist Textures
That’s definitely a fair interpretation. We used to sepia tone fiber prints to hand color them—it’s a photographic tradition.

Splendor Bridge

Splendor Bridge
Photo Artist Textures

What tips would you give someone beginning to use textures?

Jessica
I would tell people just experiment and have fun. Learn about layering and applying different blending modes and opacities. It’s really a matter of pleasing yourself. It takes patience and a lot of practice. If you find it tedious, then it’s probably not for you.

Watercolor Sunset

Watercolor Sunset

Photo Artist Textures
Any advice to new artists for finding their own vision?

Jessica
There are people who shoot all kinds of subjects; landscapes, macro, people etc. There is something to be said for trying something out of your comfort zone, but personally I am drawn to certain subjects and have no desire in shooting subjects that don’t really interest me.

Although the natural world is my subject of choice, I wouldn’t call myself a nature photographer, since I don’t document or record nature, but rather paint it with my inner eye.

My advice would be to stick to what you love and you will find your own style.

To quote Rumi: “Let the beauty we love, be what we do”

Along The Way

Along the Way

See more of Jessica’s work and connect on:

All Images copyright Jessica Jenney.

* Note: some links to products such as Topaz Labs Filters are affiliate links – I get a small commission from purchases made through those links. Help support the blog with no additional charge to you. Thanks!

27 Responses to Interview With Photographer Jessica Jenney

  1. Chris October 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Jessica’s work is stunning – excellent interview and informative answers. As a fellow ‘Bubbler’ I can appreciate the talent and community of the RedBubble site. I have learned so much since joining RB and, wherever possible, I try to reciprocate if I can.

    • Jessica Jenney October 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

      Thanks so much for coming, Chris!

  2. Jan Bickerton October 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I too know and love Jessica’s work from RedBubble. I especially like the timeless quality of her work. Great interview!

  3. Shane October 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    WOW…I am blown away by these delicious pieces, gorgeous work.
    Great, informative interview 🙂

  4. Chris Lord October 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I have been bumping into Jessica and her fabulous images on all of the sites listed here and especially redbubble of course. Every new image Jessica posts impresses me more than the last I think. Absolutely lovely work and a great inspiration to me. It was really interesting to read her interview and get a glimpse of the person behind the art. I have stared at various pieces by Jessica looking for clues to her technique on several occasions, hoping to find hints as to how I might improve my own work although it is of course very different in nature. I wish Jessica loads of luck with this exciting event.
    Chris Lord recently posted..The Big Apple

  5. DiEtte Henderson October 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I first met Jessica on Red Bubble and have been following her work ever since. I find her images very romantic and stunningly beautiful! Great interview and I only wish I could create at her level!

  6. Barbara Ingersoll October 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    A very interesting and inspiring interview. I have admired Jessica’s work on RedBubble and consider her one of the best. Her artistic vision is magical. Thank you both for publishing this interview.

  7. Mukesh Srivastava October 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    The kind of art you create with images from Canon Powershot is remarkable. I love your creative use of textures. What special care and adjustments one should apply while playing with blending mode?

    • Jessica Jenney October 14, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

      Thank you, Mukesh! You know I’m a big fan of your work! You can experiment with different blending modes. It really depends on the effect you are trying to achieve. You should also adjust the opacity.

  8. Rebecca October 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    Jessica’s work is gorgeous and always inspiring. Her use of textures is wonderful but it’s the composition of the image that I’m drawn to.
    Rebecca recently posted..Water Drops

  9. Doreen October 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Thank-you so much for your generosity, Niole. The textures look marvelous. Love this interview. Jessica’s work is stunning. It feeds my creative spirit.

    • Leslie Nicole October 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

      Thank you, Doreen. I agree, Jessica’s work is very inspiring!

  10. Colleen Farrell October 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I first “met” Jessica at Betterphoto.com, where her work was an amazing inspiration to me. She brought an artist’s eye and soul to her photography, even before she began using textures. Jessica introduced me to the artistic community at Redbubble.com. She continues to amaze, impress and inspire me with her stunning art!

    Excellent article and interview–many thanks!!

  11. Jessica Jenney October 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Thank you everyone for coming and leaving all your amazing comments! I so appreciate it!

  12. Dave Hrusecky October 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Jessica’s work is an inspiration to many of her fellow photographers. It is always a pleasure to view her latest creation.

    Congratulation Jessica and thank you for giving us your fabulous work.

  13. Lynda Andreassen October 14, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    Thank You…..really enjoyed the interview with Jessica and the chance of seeing her brilliant work up close….very informative and so inspiring for someone like me who absolutely loves this art form but still has so much to learn!

  14. Ann October 15, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    Excellent interview Leslie. Even I learned a few new things about my very dear friend, Jessica. Her work has always amazed me from the first time it caught my eye when I first started in photography. She is such an incredible artist as you can see from her gorgeous work. She can take a snapshot and turn it into an awesome piece of art. She can take a beautiful photograph and bring it to life. She amazes me all the time with her way with light and color. Congratulations dear friend as you deserve all the wonderful recognition you get and much much more.
    Ann recently posted..Animals

  15. Usman Bajwa October 15, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Jessica is a fabulous artist, master of textures using stunning compositions. And more than that, she is way much better as a person. I find myself so fortunate to have known her through Betterphoto.com. I am very happy to see her work recognized here and know that this is just the beginning for her. With best of wishes.

  16. Lois Bryan October 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Hi Leslie!!!! I’m a BIG fan of Jessica’s, and have been for ages … what a joy to see her magnificent artwork spotlighted here!!!!! Congratulations Jessica!!!! YAY!!!! Fabulous interview … always a joy to get to know each other better!!!! Sorry I missed the party yesterday … I’m sure it was a huge success!!!!!
    Lois Bryan recently posted..Between Autum And Winter by Lois Bryan

  17. dina October 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Jessi, I am so proud of you ! Thank you for your beautiful pictures – no, I should say paintings !! May you continue to enjoy your art work
    and bring its beauty to all who see it for a long, long time to come !
    Your loving aunt,
    dina

  18. betty wiley October 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Jessica, I’m such a big fan of your work and I really enjoyed reading this interview. I didn’t realize that you lived in New York! You certainly have a way of transforming what would be an otherwise ordinary image into something extraordinary. You have such talent and i’m blown away that you don’t use fancy equipment to do what you do – it just goes to show that talent is more important!

  19. Anna Larson December 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Leslie,
    This is an excellent interview and very helpful for this ‘newbie’ in using textures. Thank you for introducing us to Jessica. The two of you have made a huge difference in my approach to my work, and I’m very grateful!

  20. Lori Ryland March 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Hello – I wanted to say thank you for publishing such wonderful images. I am a middle grades teacher who is currently sharing one of my favorite books, The Secret Garden, with my Student Reading class. Your images bring so many of the places, sights and images to kids who have no first hand experience with anything growing. They’ve really enjoyed seeing your images and trying to find where in the book one of the characters might see something like it. You’ve done a marvelous job!

    Thanks – a grateful teacher, Lori

    • Leslie Nicole March 19, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Thank you for your comment. The Secret Garden was one of my favorite books! What a wonderful way to think of Jessia’s images, which really do have a Secret Garden feel to them. Thanks for your comment!

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