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I am a misfit, as defined by American author Lidia Yuknavitch. I am a misfit in all the best ways, and in a way where my experiences as such have shaped my ability to visualise people and life uniquely. Misfits rarely fall into a straight line path in life, and often subconsciously take the harder path for the sake of the challenge. Misfits like myself are exuberant yet introverted, and we often take in a larger range of the emotional spectrum than most would allow themselves to. I have used my own experiences as a human chameleon to feel, empathise, and retell the stories of each person I meet as elegantly and artistically as I can. There is a certain strength and feel to my images that make them both dramatic and empowering.
Jacq, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
I think it's fair to say that photography and fine art (painting in particular) are obvious passions of mine. I am fortunate enough to do what I love for a living. Outside of this, I am a fantastic chef/baker and an animal lover. Every dog that passes me in the street gets a friendly hello! I am a firm believer in adopting animals in need and would love to one day be able to open a no-kill shelter. My aspiration in life is never to stop listening and never to stop learning. It is never to let myself become too jaded to be inspired by another individual. With constant compassion and inspiration then comes the opportunity to tell othersâ€™ stories through my work. Itâ€™s a step by step process, and I aim to tell as many stories through visual art as I can to as many as I can. I would love to find myself as a creative art director where I can lend my voice and my eyes. My journey in photography began when I was 15. I painted as an outlet for frustrations with family issues at the time when my high school began to offer photography classes. Disinterested at first, my brother encouraged me to join the class, which was, unfortunately full. Undeterred, I asked to sit in the class without earning credits for it, and my professor agreed. The right professors make all the difference, and her encouragement of my artistic vision as well as my desire to cut school assemblies/pep rallies and hide out in the darkroom to print led me to where I am now.
Who is your inspiration in life Jacq? How do you keep inspired?
My mother is my inspiration in life. Her drive, ambition, willpower, and strength surpasses that of any human being I have ever seen. As a French Canadien, Caucasian female, she faced heavy backlash for marrying an Asian man. After my father (who is now deceased), faced criminal charges and imprisonment, she moved as an immigrant to the USA, newly married, with seven dollars in her pocket and nothing in savings. She passed her bar exam shortly after moving, managed to raise four children, and is now one of the most well respected and top attorneys in California. Despite all the turmoil in her life, I have never once heard her complain.When it comes to inspiration, itâ€™s extremely difficult to get a constant flow. There are times when there are mental roadblocks, but I feel that inspiration, like love, hits you when you least expect it. It comes from getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, from missing your train, from people watching, and from opening your eyes, your heart and mind to whatever may come your way. The willingness to receive by opening oneâ€™s eyes without judgement and with welcome arms is half the battle.
We all make mistakes Jacq; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Photographer; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
While we all make mistakes, I donâ€™t know that I would wish to take those mistakes back since they serve as such vital lessons. Thereâ€™s rarely success without some failures along the way. Very early on in my career, I learned a valuable lesson in professionalism and how to not simply separate, but balance professionalism with friendships and emotion. In several instances, I feel that I let myself become taken both advantages of and taken for granted because of my generosity and kindness when I should have asserted myself and my position. When one gets along with their colleagues/associates, it becomes very easy for the line between work and friendship to blur. Iâ€™ve learned how extremely important it is to treat others with care, respect, equality, and even constructive criticism while still maintaining a strong stance.
Jacq, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
Patience and organisation. Possibly color-coded organisation. Clients donâ€™t care how busy you are, nor do they care about your personal life. Clients care about their needs, and itâ€™s important to realise this and put your personal feelings and emotions aside. Whether you have one client or a hundred, it is crucial to make every single client feel that THEY are your ONLY client. Personal attention, and responding in a timely and thorough matter makes people happy. In todayâ€™s world with immediate gratification, quick responses are extremely important. Everyone has a different method of keeping track, and I prefer to hand-write information. Each call is documented in my notes by hand because I WILL forget the intricate details after a hundred calls with different people. Personal attention impresses clients, and it goes quite a long way.
Please tell us Jacq, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?
My priority as a photographer is to keep my clients calm and happy. They need to feel like they have nothing to worry about, and that I am there to take care of them as a photographer and their partial wedding planner. In instances like this, quick thinking is everything. Recently (June 2017), I was photographing a wedding which relied on almost all events/photos taking place outdoors. Of course, there was a torrential downpour that day. The bride and groom got ready in completely different locations, and the first look could no longer be in the original location. Since I am the one who often plans the detailed timeline of the â€œday ofâ€ schedule, my original plans with the couple had gone out the window. Within 45 minutes of arriving, I handled photographing my brideâ€™s â€œgetting readyâ€ photos while also re-arranging their entire timeline. It involved thinking on my feet and placing a few calls to â€œfriendsâ€ familiar with the neighbourhood to scout indoor locations that the couple could relate to visually. Allâ€ ™s well ends well. They adore their photos.
Jacq, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
I am very lucky to be able to have a lot of creative freedom when I work. My clients almost always place full trust in my direction and my ability to assess situations, as do my associates. Clients often feel uncomfortable during a photoshoot, which I consider to be a completely normal feeling. Often, clients may show hesitancy in my ideas since theyâ€™re not able to see the â€œfull pictureâ€. Nonetheless, gentle but firm coaxing, humour, and charm persuade them to lend me their trust. I find myself saying to clients â€œI know this may feel strange, but you both look fantastic.â€. That particular shot more often than not will become a favourite amongst hundreds of images. Iâ€™d like to note though, that the entire professional career of a photographer is essentially about persuasion. An artist, to book clients and to become published or known, must constantly persuade clients, editors, etc. to invest their money and their time in them. Artists must constantly persuade others in a world of extreme competitiveness that their vision is unique and that they have something to offer that no one else does.
Jacq, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
This one is more of a quiet, proud, yet personal accomplishment. I have been published in many notable blogs/editorials. I have also been in print publications, and with each of those accomplishments, I am humbled. However, there are two instances (they are the same situation) which rises above the others to me. In 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis and eventually developed fibromyalgia. I have had four major surgeries since 2012. Endometriosis is complicated, a muted disease that shows no signs and no warnings but cripples you physically on the inside. With many obligations and contracts, I am proud to say that despite my health, I have fulfilled those obligations and gone above and beyond to satisfy my clients. There are times when you must rise above your pain, and focus all of yourself into work. This meant working and fulfilling deadlines with a smile on, and this meant having to work while on an obscene number of medications just to be able to stand. But for two of the surgeries which were particularly memorable for me (probably because of the number of times I was in the ER and pain), I was proud to go under anesthesia on the day of my operations, to go â€œunder the knifeâ€, knowing that Iâ€™d done my job, that deadlines were taken care of, and that Iâ€™d done those things not only well, but excellently.
Jacq, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
Every single shot. (Particularly when I can personally step out of photography and ALSO style the session).The amazing thing about my job is that I currently am allowed a fair amount of creativity and freedom. Clients will often put full faith and trust in me, which is an honour, but also difficult in that there are high expectations set. As a photographer, I am pushed into an unknown space/environment quite often, and the artist in me can often create a vision from nothing.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
It may sound cheesy, but do not stop trying. Keep your eyes, your heart, and your mind wide open. Never stop learning and absorbing. Along with your journey,â€“ persist, and stay humbled.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Always. I love working with others on a creative project and am open to anything that floats my way.
Photography: Jacq, Love in Theory