A Passion for Portraits: Jennifer Graham Photography
by Mary Corbin / Photos by Jennifer Graham
Your Berkeley – Feb 2017
Within the city limits of Berkeley and Oakland, a creative and entrepreneurial spirit abounds. In many cases, we are lucky to have them intersect and reverberate. A shining example is the passion and wonder in the work of Jennifer Graham Photography.
Building her business over 20 years in photography, Jennifer Graham has discovered that creating business portraits is truly where her heart is. “When I think of the incredible people who have stepped in front of my lens, I am reminded of what an honor it is to capture and translate all of your passions, work and who you are into beautiful and extraordinary portraits,” Jennifer said.
The studio, located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, is where Jennifer sets up her lights and cameras to capture the essence of her subjects with ease and joy, coaxing out their true nature. I spoke with Jennifer recently about her craft and this is what she had to share.
What are 3 words that define your vision as an artist? Interestingly, I think these words are the same as how I describe myself as a person: Intimate, Expansive and Loving.
What brought you to the Bay Area and what keeps you here? I moved to the Bay Area on gut instinct aka intuition. I knew after growing up in New Jersey and living in Arizona and Colorado, this was the next step. The moment I arrived, my life and business began unfolding with an exceptional amount of ease and focus. I stay because the Bay Area, Oakland in particular, feeds my soul with its community, culture and natural beauty.
What is something important you want the community to know about you and your work? I do this work because I genuinely love it and deeply believe we all want to be seen and honored for who we are. I know this because it’s also my truth. I grew up being told I was too sensitive and that message stayed with me most of my life. I tried to hide it. I didn’t want anyone to know how deeply I felt life because I now saw it as a weakness. I created some pretty remarkable coping skills which, while they served me well as a child, also kept me from a great deal of good. In my life experience since then I realized how many of us want to simply be seen and loved for who we are.
This is when my work as a wedding photographer shifted to portraits as a tool to create a safe space for people and reflect back to them the true beauty I see. I am truly passionate about supporting people in who they are and the work they do in the world. I do this through my photography and creating a safe place for people to show up exactly as they are: Their most expansive selves.
What is the best part of getting to do what you do? Hands down the best part of my career is that moment when my clients let me see the truth of who they are during one of my shoots. They completely let go of any inhibitions, any protection or trepidation of being seen and they allow me in. Remarkably this always “looks” the same. They are filled with complete ease, their gaze is stronger, they are more relaxed and completely open. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. Seeing someone without any veil is a stunning experience. It’s an experience I feel very honored to be a part of.
With this heart-felt vision and deeply insightful approach, Jennifer Graham Photography is here for the East Bay community to reveal its true self. It’s an opportunity to show our particular beauty and singular expression of life to the world.
For more information or to book a session with Jennifer, visit the website of Jennifer Graham Photography.