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  • Art---Contrast_web
    Contrast Jenny Poley 

Jenny Poley

  • Jenny Poley, Office Professional TechnologyJennyPoley_web

    Jenny's lovely photo, "Contrast," was published in Volume 14. A student in the Office Professional program, Jenny has a full and busy life, as she juggles school, a husband, six kids, homeschooling duties, and her job as an administrative assistant at a church. Luckily, she makes time to live a creative life, as well, as she enjoys delving into photography, reading, and writing when she can.

    Jenny managed to squeeze in an interview with Illuminations, for which we're grateful. 

    Illuminations:  Your photo, "Contrast," shows the contrast between a dark bee and a beautiful sweet pea flower. How did this photo come about?

    Jenny:  I was on vacation in California and taking a walk around a lake. I was passing the sweet peas and heard the bee buzzing loudly. I noticed that it had landed, and the sharp difference between his black and the color of the petals caught my eye.

    I:  Is photographing nature one of your primary interests, or do you enjoy photographing other subjects, as well?

    J: I do enjoy taking photos of my family, especially when they do not know I am taking the picture. I do not mean trying to catch them doing something embarrassing, but rather while they are just being themselves: reading a book, doing school work, playing, thinking, etc.

    I:  You mentioned in your Vol. 14 bio that you also love reading and writing. What do you enjoy writing most, and who are some of your favorite authors?

    J:  I love to write, as I find it is cathartic; I am able to reach into myself and let thoughts and feelings untangle, flow out, and find a place to rest. It helps me to go back and read the thoughts and find clarity in them (though I confess some remained tangled!). 

    I love reading the Psalms, which would include a few authors, but mostly King David. I know it sounds corny to say I love to read the Psalms, but there is a tremendous amount of anguish, love, suffering, and redemption there. Who would not want that? I also enjoy C.S. Lewis, A.A. Milne, Beverly Cleary, E.M. Forster, James Herriott, John Christopher, Edith Wharton, J.R.R. Tolkien, William Shakespeare, and good, solid poetry (which can be quite a few authors!)

    I:  You have six children whom you home school. How do you try to instill a love for reading and writing in them? Are any of them photographers?

    J:  Instilling a love for reading and writing in children, in our family at least, has been easy with some of the children and a challenge with the others. Reading great literature aloud to them, teaching them to be discerning and to think through what they are listening to, and then moving into expression through writing has been the pattern for our schooling. It has been one of the greatest joys in my life.

    My oldest daughter is a photographer, and a very good one, as a hobby. However, she is also a writer, and a most excellent one at that. Many of my children are very good writers. My husband has told me, "I wanted to raise a group of philosophers, but you raised a group of writers!" It's true, though -- good photography is a large part of my children's hobbies, also.

    I:  "Contrast" is striking because it shows an awareness of beauty that others might simply ignore. What advice can you give to other photographers as they search for "beautiful" subjects?

    J:  I would say, do not try too hard "searching." If you think about it, most of the best moments in life come upon us unexpectedly.  If we try too hard to find the "perfect" photo, I think we miss quite a bit that goes by while we are waiting.  I would recommend watching for moments throughout the ordinary part of life and taking the photo when the chance comes up. However, I also know sometimes we want to take a particular photo; then I would say take many photos, and then choose the best one.  One of my favorite photographers is Ansel Adams, and that is what he did. It is important to also consider the lighting, coloring, and what you want to communicate with the photo.

    I:  You're in the Office Professional program at SCC. How do you see photography playing into your future?

    J:  Honestly, I had not thought about that! I know that at my current job as an administrative assistant, sometimes photos are needed that we don't have, so I do have to take them or find them. I suppose that means that as an assistant, I may need to continue to hone my photography skills in case my employer needs photos.