be an art photographer here in Utah is a challenge in itself. To do
that and run your own studio on top is another level all
Since early 2007, K. Jean Photography has been making a name for itself doing everything from up close and personal portraits to vast landscapes of our ever changing state. All while K. herself continues her passion in school and artistically in her spare time. I got a chance to chat with her about her work, her business, and a few other questions that came to mind.
Gavin: Hey K. First off, tell us a little about yourself.
KJ: Well a bit about myself. I grew up in Northern Utah and graduated from Weber High in 2001. I move to Salt Lake in 2003.
Gavin: What first got you interested in doing photography?
KJ: My first camera was a little Turquoise 110. I must have been 10. I really loved everything about it. Although waiting for them to get developed was a bit of a pain. I think I waited almost a year for a few rolls to go in. Considering it wasn’t ME paying for them. I started to expose myself to the art of photography my senior year in high school. It was mainly the basic class of millimeter developing and such. Not really focusing on the art and technique so much. Years went by before I was able to really dive in again. I had the common 35mm camera but it was nothing special and nothing that could really do what I needed it to do. Finally for Christmas 2005 I got my fist digital camera and when nuts with it. In the first year I had it I shot close to 10K pictures. During that time I really started to understand what worked and what didn’t. Sadly that camera didn’t reach a full year old before it broke. I only survived only 2 months before I caved and splurged a bit more cash for a more semi-pro unit.
Gavin: For those who don't know your work, what would you say you're most well known for?
KJ: Well for people that don’t really know my work I try to let them go through my work and develop a feel for my style on their own. From what people have commented and voiced… I have a way of portraying the everyday in a different way. I strive to really get the angle of things that you don’t normally see. I try to make everything I shoot more interesting. I love strong color and contrast. That’s what I typically hear in my feedback.
Gavin: You're currently at SLCC majoring in Photography. Why SLCC instead of a school with a more extensive program?
KJ: Well for now I chose SLCC because of time constraint. Not only do I do my photography on the side but I have a fulltime job. I really wish I could quit and live off my photography work fulltime. I think my plan is once I have the basic classes finished and have a substantial foundation on experience & class work established I’ll look elsewhere for more specialized classes.
Gavin: What brought about the decision to start your own photography company?
KJ: I finally made the decision to start my own photography business on the side because I feel like I have something to offer that no other photographer has. Now of course a lot of artists say that about their work. I know that digital photographers are dime a dozen but some just don’t have that “eye” or talent. I’ve seen a lot of photographers that rely solely on Photoshop to salvage an already bad photo. I don’t believe in that at all. Those programs are to HELP your photography not be the backbone of it. I jumped for it over a year ago and put everything and anything I had towards getting my business going. It’s all I do anymore. I work on an everyday basis to keep it rolling. Scouting, promoting, scheduling, researching, etc. I love everything about the art.
Gavin: Was it difficult to get it started up or did things flow pretty well for you? And how has business been since opening?
KJ: Getting things really rolling wasn’t too hard at all. Once I had a direction I would go for it. The main thing that held back the pace of it all was money, Of course. I would see what other photographers on MySpace were doing and see if I could apply it, in my own way, to my photography. Some where heading towards the extreme of modern art and others where sticking towards more of the traditional spectrum. I’ve tried almost all realms. I have sold stock photography on a global website. I’ve done weddings and portraits. There are areas I’m still striving for like publication and art/photo competitions.
Gavin: Aside from the portrait work you do, the majority of your work is still-life and nature. Was that something you had a passion for, or is it something you're exploring as a photographer?
KJ: I have only recently started to really get into portrait work. I suppose the reason that most of my work is still life and nature is because it’s the easiest to work with! Ha-ha-ha. Don’t get me wrong I love to be able to tell someone’s story with their portrait but it is tough working through that first 30-45 minutes of them being uncomfortable! But once it starts rolling its pure magic. And again, it’s probably time constraint. It can get tough to schedule meeting up around 2 separate work schedules.
Gavin: Do you find it difficult to make a career out of doing this, or has it come relatively easy for you?
KJ: As far as a career in photography is concerned, it has been tough scheduling things on a consistent basis. This summer has been tough. I’ve not only had a shift in routine but with rising prices of everything! I’ve noticed people emailing me about photo sessions have dropped. I’ve heard it from quite a few local artists. It’s been a tiny bit discouraging and rough.
Gavin: Expanding a little locally, what's your take on the local art scene, both good and bad?
KJ: I have to admit, I’m really disconnected from our local art scene. I don’t really have any local art junky friends. If I hear about a fundraiser or local art show going on, I usually try to go or see what it’s all about. As an artist myself, I don’t like that I’m not as involved as I should be or want to be.
Gavin: Anything you think could be done to make it bigger or better?
KJ: I really think that as a city Salt Lake could really use some more main stream promoting of the arts. No one could ever have too much art exposure, especially on the younger level. Kids really need to have a healthy exposure to the arts. Music, theatre, crafts etc.
Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?
KJ: I currently don’t have much planned as far as projects go but you just never know when an idea will strike! With the seasons shifting soon, I have a habit of shifting focus and really getting creative. I would really love to work with a few artists closely. I wanna do some collaborative work/project. I have a few ideas brewing. But who knows!