The Apple loving woman you see above is the very talented Jennifer Fairchild of Utah. I don’t know Jen but that didn’t stop me from getting in touch with her(or calling her Jen) through a common friend who had gotten in front of the lens for her. It was in fact this young woman’s stunningly beautiful photos of my equally stunning friend that made me want to interview her. Once you look through her portfolio it quickly becomes clear that Jennifer is putting her heart and soul into her work. The results are photographs with a-lot of truth and to me that’s when they become something really special. Seeing as I don’t know Jen personally I thought it more appropriate to have an intro from some one who has worked directedly with her. So here’s what the lovely Sabina Formanek has to say about working with Jen.
Jen Fairchild is probably one of the most low key photographers you will come across. That said, her subtle work makes a huge impact through its simplicity. With the absence of flashy effects and overly elaborate subjects and surroundings, Jen’s photography has the ability to capture a feeling. Her photos truly represent a moment trapped in time, and emotions that are normally fleeting. When working with her for the first time, every element lined up to create some images that are honest and innocent. The music she chose, the sun beams shining through the window onto the plush white carpet, and her careful direction brought me to an emotional place that I thought had been lost in childhood. The photos we took that day still remain some of my favorite, probably because when I look at them, I’m brought back to that place, even for just a moment.
Now that the ice has been broken, let’s get intimate with the one and only Jennifer Fairchild.
NL: So we’ll start off simple, how do you think America can reduce it’s energy consumption by 40% in the next 3 years without sacrificing our love of fossil fueled automobiles?
JF: I’ve over thought the question and am not able to answer.
NL: Wow that’s fascinating, great answer.
JF: I do my best.
NL: Ok down to business, when did you first find yourself interested in photography?
JF: I’ve always known that photos meant a lot to me in the way they made me feel. Ever since I can remember one of my honest to god favorite things to do was to pull out the 8 tubs completely full of old photos at my parents’ house and spend hours looking through them. Photography is a language of its own and it’s a language that fiercely resonates with me. As far as realizing I wanted to be a creator of photos as well as an admirer, I remember dressing my sisters up when I was about 11 and taking a stab at it then. But when I couldn’t make the photos look like they did in magazines I got frustrated, gave it up and stuck to snapshots.
It wasn’t until a drive home in November of 2008 that I saw it as something I could actually do. I had been thinking about someone I knew that had started doing photography on their own, and was becoming increasingly successful when I thought to myself “Shoooooot, for as much as I love photos?? I could do that.” And the idea was cemented in my head. It was one of those moments in life where it’s like a gong was struck somewhere in my body and everything all of sudden came into focus. I drove straight to Best Buy the next day, bought a DSLR, came home and thought, “Oh god. You just spent $2000 on something you know nothing about.” It was a bit of an out of body experience, but I took the camera out the next day and never looked back.
NL: And when did you think, hey this is something I can get paid to do?
JF: I’m still waiting for that day to arrive ha ha. Receiving money to do something I’d gladly do for free is a strange concept to wrap my mind around. Back when I was first starting I thought for sure I would do photography as a career by shooting weddings and portraits and such. One awkward portrait session was all it took for me to realize that if I continued down the road where the only reason I was doing it was for money, I would soon come to despise photography. And to me, that thought was worse than death. I realized a long time ago that a passion is more valuable to me than money so until a ‘job’ aligns with my passion I dare not let money or any other thing taint what I feel for photography.
NL: Your photos have a very distinct style, I’d say glamorous yet very raw. What influences your process for bringing a concept to fruition?
JF: Oh man, thank you. There are a lot of things that inspire me to shoot, anything from films to clothes to people to dreams to how I’m feeling at any given moment. Over the years I’ve discovered I enjoy shooting women the most. To me women are beautiful, powerful, mysterious creatures and I’ve really liked the aspect of showing a woman how I see her, in a way she doesn’t see herself.
NL: Do you prefer working in a controlled studio atmosphere or run&gun natural setting?
JF: I’m a lover of shooting out in the world. I try to tell stories with my photos and have always felt the studio to be a bit stale..
NL: So what would we find in your bag when on a shoot?
JF: Nikon D90, 50mm, and 35mm. Sometimes a speedlight.
NL: With the advent of the DSLR and Micro Four Third camera systems came the “I’m a photographer” crowd that is seemingly everywhere. Do you think that to be a truly great photographer you have to be born with “an eye for it” or is it something that can be learned?
JF: I’ve always felt that the way a person “sees” the world cannot be taught so in that sense, while I’m sure schooling could be beneficial on the technical side of things, to me that would kind of be the extent of a proper photographical education.
NL: In that same line of thought, where do you stand on I-Phoneography? (Instagram, Hipstamatic, Camerabag etc etc)
JF: After being a hardcore Blackberry user for 2 years I finally upgraded to a smartphone and my most favorite feature has been the camera. Trying to lug around my DSLR is like having a child and I like being responsibility free, so to be able to take incredibly decent photos on a tiny device that’s with me all the time anyway is a bless-ing.
NL: In terms of evolving, where do you think the art of photography is heading? Do you think that as camera systems evolve so will our ideas of what the limits of photography are?
JF: Where do I think the art of photography is headed? Anywhere it wants. It will never stop evolving.
NL: On that same subject do you believe that great photographers in history have a place right along side the great painters? I ask because I chat with a surprising number of people who still feel that photography is somehow less of an art form than painting.
JF: “Art is the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty.” So to answer your question, yes. To me, anything a human creates, is art.
NL: Ok now that we’ve gotten the deep, emotional questions out of the way here’s a few rapid fire ones to close it out.
JF: Aaaaand shoot.
NL: Film or Digital.
JF: I love both.
NL: Nikon or Canon?
JF: Nikon’s been good to me so far, but Canon is next. For filming purposes.
NL: Leica or Hasselblad?
JF: I’ve never used either.
NL: Worse trend, lens flare or tilt shift?
JF: When used tastefully, I like ‘em both.
NL: Shoot a Kardashian Christmas Card or Palin Family Christmas Card?
NL: If you had to use only one setting the rest of your career, Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority?
JF: Aperture Priority
NL: Shooting on the hottest day of summer in SLC or the coldest day of winter in Park City?
JF: For me being cold is the most miserable thing on earth, so I’d take the scorcher anyday.
NL: If you could shoot portraits of anyone…
JF: Erin Wasson.
NL: Favorite photographers?
JF: Juergen Teller, Camilla Akrans, Nirrimi, and Mert and Marcus. So far… J
NL: All right, nicely done! You made it through the rapid-fire section; you’re almost there!
NL: I always like to end with a bit of humor; something Barbara Walters taught me back in the day. So if you don’t mind, tell us a joke.
JF: If you want to speak some crude Irish say Whale, Oil, Beef, Hooked all together.
NL: HAHA! Oh man that is so hilarious! Thanks again for taking the time to do this. Look forward to seeing more of your work very soon and to possible collaborative projects. Cheers!
JF: This was awesome, thanks so much.
It was indeed pretty awesome don’t you think? Make sure to check out more of Jen’s work, just use the link below, you’ll be glad you did.