Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Korff.
Jessica, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I discovered photography while attending art school for graphic design. At the time I was also a preschool teacher and a single mom of 3 beautiful girls. In what started as an effort to understand a camera and taking my own stock photos quickly snowballed into a love for portraiture. I continued to practice and hone my skills for a couple years, and when my fourth daughter was four months, my husband helped pushed me to do what I love. After 13 years as a preschool teacher I made the decision to jump into this passion of mine, full time.
Over the time of juggling both graphic design and photography, I discovered something big that spoke to my heart. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to shift gears. The difference between handing a client a logo and handing a parent a photo of her child was indescribable.
It fed my soul to create something that truly meant something to the client, that would provide a small glimpse back to a moment that would soon be gone forever. When I photograph a family, high school senior, a tween or a couple… these are moments in time that they are unable to ever have again. Tomorrow those people are not the same as today, their faces change, their ages change… sometimes the people are no longer with us. And when that unfortunately happens, the art work you gave them becomes some of the most valuable things they may own. The importance and honor of that does not escape me.
I have been lucky enough that I get to continue doing this passion of mine as a full time professional career. Even here I feel like I never stop learning, improving, sometimes failing and then trying again. It’s how we learn, it’s how we make sure not to go stagnant. In the last 6 years I have learned so much, and I hope to continue learning and improving over the next 6 years, 10 years, and beyond.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Being a portrait photographer has not only become a passion and love of mine, it has become a way that I can do something that has meaning, give something bigger then myself. In my art, I don’t just photograph what the here and now LOOKS like, it has become my calling to make sure that the here and now is FELT every time a client sees their artwork hanging on the wall.
I focus heavily on connections, relationships and ultimately emotions in my photography. Sometimes it’s more visually seen and felt IN their photos, as it is in my Beloved Sessions. In these, we work with a long-standing couple, often 7, 10 or 15 years together, and we dig down deep and through a prompting session where they get to really reconnect in front of my camera. I can tell you watching this unfold is nearly as emotional to me as it seems to the couple in the midst of it. It leaves me speechless to watch the spark, the joy and the connection come back.
Sometimes it is behind the scenes, as it is with my Empowerment Project geared towards tweens and building self-confidence and strengthening relationships with loved ones. Here we surprise the tween with meaningful quotes combined with beautiful imagery and really highlight support from her family and friends. Ultimately building a pillar of confidence for her to lean on when things get tough as she heads into middle school, the idea is to make a huge impact before the cliques, and before the bullies.
Sometimes it is more internal, and seen over time, as it is in my high school seniors, where we focus on building confidence, community and friendships. And this year it will be something even bigger and possibly more meaningful than that, as I begin working with a non-profit for teens in foster care, teens who really truly need to be reminded that they are amazing and worthy of love.
It is my mission as a photographer, that when my client’s time in my care has finished, that they are left with more than just photos, but also an experience that leaves imprints on their hearts, and memories back to this time that may never be again. That they are left with luxury art that helps remind them again and again of those moments… art that will be handed down and tell the same story to the next generation. It is my hope that I can help clients have an internally fulfilling experience while also leaving a legacy for their children, and their children’s children, ensuring their story and memories go on.
In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is finding a way to do what they love, make a living at it and find clients who appreciate the experience or connection behind it.
The market is saturated with many different types of art, at different levels and vastly different price points, as well as client experiences nearly as vastly different as the types. Finding where you belong amongst them while still standing out, doing something that has meaning, and still running a successful business is a huge challenge.
It is not often questioned how much a person spends on an iPhone (that is upgraded in a couple years), how much a name brand purse is or the menu at a favorite restaurant, but for some reason in the art world, it is sometimes treated with much less respect. All I can do is speak for myself, and just as much money, education, effort, time and behind the scenes is invested into running a successful photography business as it would be for any other small business.
Lucky for me, I have had some amazing clients who truly appreciate the experience they receive and the importance of their artwork. I couldn’t do what I love without them and I am immensely thankful for the support I continue to receive from our amazing community.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I can be found on my website at www.fleurdeleaphotography.com
or on Facebook and Instagram.
To support what we are doing for the teens and seniors in foster care, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can help make a difference in both their experiences or to make sure they have amazing art work to connect back to.
- Website: www.fleurdeleaphotography.com
- Phone: 520-975-9051
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/fleurdeleaphotography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/fleurdeleaphotography
- Other: www.instagram.com/fleurdelea_seniors
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