With her army of plastic and toy cameras, Jen is capturing some truly beautiful and unique images of the world. We love Jen’s work and were thrilled when she agreed to let us find out a little more about the person behind the plastic lens.
TMBM: For those that don’t know, who are you?
Jen: I’m a photographer who uses mainly film based and toy cameras in my work. I live in London, Ontario Canada and am 28 years old. I’m originally from British Columbia and my day job is an administrative assistant.
TMBM: Please describe your work.
Jen: For me, photography is a way to express myself. When I photograph I feel a sense of release ~ it’s almost like therapy. My goal is to use my imagination to create a new perspective of reality, something elusive and evocative.
Capturing a moment on film is more about instinct than thinking for me, and sometimes I don’t even realize what my connection is with the image until after I see the final result. I also love simplicity, which is why I rely mainly on simple, cheap, film-based cameras such as Holgas and other toy cameras. I do not get distracted by technical issues, and can focus more on my vision. I want to challenge my own perspective, as well as my viewer’s, through bold distortion, blur and motion.
In regards to my self portrait project - This is definitely not a vanity project or something I do to draw attention to myself (anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I do not like to be the center of attention!) Its like an alternate reality in my head - I know it’s me, but at the same time I find myself debating whether I see myself or someone else? A fictional character perhaps or something from my dreams. I find this fascinating - and learning how my emotions can really lead me in different directions is a great experience as well.
TMBM: When/where/how did it begin?
Jen: I was instantly taken by the look of Holga photographs when I stumbled across some online through a friend of a friend posting some pictures. I investigated it and soon after, ordered one of my own. This was about 5 or 6 years ago. I loved the unique look I got from my Holga and how roll after roll, I never knew what to expect! A year or so later I started experimenting more and developing my style. Also I shot my first roll of self portraits then and was hooked.
TMBM: What are your hopes?
Jen: I hope to keep finding inspiration and joy in life, capture as much of this in my work as possible, and connect with others who feel the same way. And I always have great hopes when getting my roll of film back from the lab!
Jen: This is a tough one… aside from spiders! I think it’s good to have fears, and once in a while, do something that scares you! It’s a rush, and usually you will find out that there wasn’t really much to be scared about after all. Like that time I held a tarantula…
JEN: “Staying up all night is a waste of sleeping, and a waste of sleeping is a waste of dreaming, and dreaming is important because the more dreams you have, the better chance you have of one coming true.”
TMBM: Where do you find inspiration?
Jen: Everywhere! Of course looking at other photographers’ work is inspiring, but my inspiration and motivation comes from within myself, usually driven by emotions or daydreams.
TMBM: What is the biggest creative obstacle you have faced?
Jen: Probably my own self criticism… I have a hard time evaluating my own work and sometimes this can frustrate me. Usually experimenting with new ideas, or new cameras will help get me out of my slump though.
TMBM: A piece of advice that you have you learnt along the way?
Jen: Do what you love and what feels right. Never regret mistakes, be thankful for the opportunity to learn from them.
TMBM: Can you recommend one creative who you admire?
Jen: I find music very inspiring, and lately a great Canadian talent that I listen to a lot is Daniel Victor (his project is called The Neverending White Lights). Its dark, thought provoking alternative music that he writes himself.
TMBM: Finally, ‘There must be more…’
Jen: There must be more film in my bag somewhere!