Jenn Kennedy is a freelance writer and photographer. She contributes to a host of publications, including Jane, Fit Yoga, Noozhawk, SheWired and LA Confidential, as well as for corporate clients such as MTV, Yahoo! and Citibank. Currently she is shooting and writing a book on California architects. She lives in Santa Barbara.
Advocate.com: Why are you a photographer?
Jenn Kennedy: I used to work a corporate job, but I left to pursue photography 10 years ago. Initially, I thought it was to do fashion, but eventually I realized it's about the people for me. I love the interaction, the dance we do to make an image of someone. The process is intoxicating.
What catches your eye?
Redheads are one of my favorite subjects. I've done a whole project called RED. I also shoot scenics - countrysides, fences and lots of rust. I'm actually obsessed with rust patterns. I show the beauty of natural, gritty, rustic, rural Americana in my personal work. I’m exploring the reality that nature is intertwined with man and all that is manmade. Everything ages and changes form, without thought or consent. I’m documenting the transformation and embracing the catalysts.
How do you choose your subjects?
Most the time, they are assigned to me by magazines, but that keeps it interesting. I'm handed someone, and I get to figure out how to get them to relax, to let me in. When it's personal work, I gravitate toward freckles.
How do you describe your work?
My work is consistently warm, welcoming, rustic. I make flattering, yet honest images of people, places and things. My images celebrate the subjects in their current state.
What makes a good photograph to you?
It makes you feel something--be it nostalgia, arousal, curiosity, whatever. A good photo should kick up some feelings in your gut.
Who are your favorite artists? And why?
I've always loved Steven Meisel, Peggy Sirota, Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino. They are each very talented at building a compelling image. Famous subjects or not, their images are riveting.