INTERVIEW
Tantalum Magazine interviews Jennifer Avello for their work on Flower Power

How does this collection speak to you? How did it come about? What did you want this to say to your audience?

When my stylist approached me with the concept of shooting a high-end romantic feminine summer editorial, I was all for it. It seemed like the perfect story to balance out my more recent darker work. This season, I’ve been all about florals, patterns, texture and color. So this editorial was the perfect blend to showcase this seasons’ gorgeous fashion.


What do you find to be the most difficult when bringing a team of artists together to create a cohesive look? How do you pick the right team?

With any project, it is definitely important to find the perfect team who is all on the same page. If one aspect of the shoot is off, the entire image seems to suffer. After working with many artists, I tend to find their strong points and favor those artists depending on the specific job and its needs. I always prep my team with a concept, followed by a mood board of imagery and direction. I like to be clear and up front with what I am looking for but I always allow my artists to take the ideas, run with it, and turn it into their own.


As an editorial artist, what do you feel is one of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make?

Don’t wait around for inspiration, just get up and get to work.


Chuck Close said it best, “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”


How would you describe your artistic style?

I like to think my photography is a manifestation of my art, background and life experiences throughout the years. It’s always a journey and it’s a never-ending exploration. I feel like over time a style may start to develop but you shouldn’t let a style, genre, or any “rules” hold you back. Keep shooting, keep evolving; Rules are meant to be broken. I think people see my work as colorful with dark undertones of many different conversations. I definitely feel like my fine art background is present within my photographs and I hope I never lose sight of where it all began.


Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?

If there is a camera in the room, I’m either in front of it or behind it. But I’m a photographer for a reason. ;)


What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?

I, myself, am my biggest weakness. I am constantly over thinking things and being my own worst critic.


I am a huge believer in experimentation, creative freedom, and the quality of images and I believe my work reflects my experiences, education, and training.


What misconceptions do you think outsiders have about fashion and beauty editorials?

I think a lot of people have this notion that all we do is take pictures of beautiful people all day and get paid a boatload for it. They don’t realize how many hours, days and even weeks of preparation and work is put into it even if there is no paycheck at the end of the day.


Additionally I think a lot of people still believe that what they see in magazines or online is reality. That the images they are looking at haven’t been alter and enhanced. Even as a fashion photographer who knows all the tricks of the trade and even though I know nothing you see should ever be taken for face value; I still too fall victim to these fabricated and embellished images. It is like even though we know magazines are retouched, misrepresented, and fabricated we have this notion in our heads that a photograph must capture a moment in time, the real moment.


What is your secret to keeping a happy balanced life while following your passion?

I’m still trying to figure out balance…. I am constantly focusing my time to both client and personal work to keep myself busy and inspired. I also enjoy my time alone and always allow myself to take breaks and spend time with people who lift me higher and motivate me to be a better artist and person.


Music feeds the soul and often motivates. What music are you playing while you are shooting?

The music on set is always different based upon the shoot, the team, and the model. I always like something that my subject enjoys, can help loosen them up, and also feeds to the energy I am looking to be captured on film.


Words to live by?

Do the things that scare you the most.