THE Creativity Chronicles
I first met Jess through a manifestation group followed up with Instagram (her feed is worth following) and I realised pretty quickly we had way more in common than just the same name. Soulful, inspiring and authentic, she’s from the US but has never been to the UK. I’m from the UK and have never been to the US but I swear we must be related somehow.
We both have two daughters and connect on so many levels that I would hand on heart call her a friend despite only knowing her a few short months. Her imagery is beautiful and her sense of soul apparent so she was an obvious choice for The Sister Sessions.
Sum yourself up in five words
authentic, empathetic, insightful, sensitive, nurturing
When I look at your work I feel an overwhelming sense of beauty and connection, a celebration of love and family, I would love to know what inspires your work?
Thank you so much for those lovely words to describe what I do, they fill my heart. I find myself inspired by that which is indescribable and found in the depths of human connection. I am inspired by unconditional love, and the paradoxical balance between shadow and light, pain and joy, and how there is beauty in all of it.
One of my favourite things about you when I met you was the fact that you embrace imperfect, I would love to know more about this
Since the moment I discovered it I have been enamored by the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken objects are repaired using gold, rather than being discarded. The idea being that the object is made more beautiful for having been broken. I see people and life in general through this lens.
How do you juggle your creativity with motherhood? What is it like being a creative mother?
I still have a hard time considering myself “creative”. Though I am an artist, I’ve always thought of myself as more of a storyteller or translator than a creator. I seem to possess a gift of insight where I see things in a way that isn’t always obvious to others and I use that to tell people’s stories.
My children inspire me every day, and becoming a mother was definitely the turning point in my life which opened my eyes to what I call “the extraordinary everyday”. That’s how the name of my photography business, Walking Between Mountains, came about. It has nothing to do with literal mountains and is instead a metaphor for appreciating the little and often overlooked everyday moments that end up meaning the most to us.
Have you always been a photographer? I would love for you to share your story
I have always loved photography, and I’ve always been fascinated by people and their stories, but I haven’t always been a photographer. My degree is actually in Psychology, but I’ve been one of those people who never quite knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. I’ve worked in a bank, in healthcare, as a realtor and in the restaurant industry…I didn’t dive seriously into photography until after having my second baby (9 years ago now!).
What is your favourite photo that you’ve ever taken and why?
I have a favorite and there is a story behind it! It is an image that isn’t technically perfect and I wouldn’t even say representative of my current work. It is a black and white photo of my daughter spinning in circles. The highlights are blown and her hair is in her face and there is motion blur…but to me it is perfection. It captures her spirit. I also won a photo contest with this image several years back which sent me on a journey to Iceland, and that is where my husband and I fell in love. We also hired the photographer whose contest I entered, the one who chose my image, to photograph our wedding. So it came full circle.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a creative business, or specifically become a photographer?
It’s so much more work than you think it will be, but completely worth it. My best advice for those starting out is not to under-value yourself. If you start out really cheap and don’t value your own work and time, you’ll burn out fast.
Other than photographing, how do you spend your days?
Well, very little of my work week is actually spent photographing. The rest is editing, answering emails, managing social media, blogging etc. When I’m not working, I’m all mama. Our family also likes to travel! We love to road trip and visit the National parks especially. I’m also an avid reader in my down time you can typically find me absorbed in a book.
What other women do you admire in life?
I admire them all! The doctors and the artists and the stay at home moms…we all have such beautifully unique talents and stories.
What advice would you give to your younger self right now?
So much. Ha. I am in a constant state of growth. There are things I’ve learned just today that I wish I knew yesterday. One very important concept that I didn’t fully grasp until a few years back, and one that I wish I had understood my entire life is this: YOU get to decide if you’re going to be happy. It isn’t up to anyone else. Your happiness shouldn’t be determined by any external validation. It is your choice. When you let go of the qualifiers of happiness, that mindset of “I’ll be happy when, as long as, unless…” and simply decide to be happy, that’s when you really start to enjoy life.
What is your favourite book?
That is honestly like asking me to pick a favorite child. I’m always reading several books at once and have many many favorites. “The Artist’s way” is one I’m always recommending, and I’m currently reading “untethered soul” and very much enjoying it. I love books that help me grow as a person.
What makes you feel most powerful?
Motherhood. And oddly enough, letting go of things I cannot control. Surrender and faith.
Find Jess: https://www.walkingbetweenmountains.com
Follow Jess: @walkingbetweenmountains