Shooting photos at "tons of concerts" in Seattle opened the door to a fulfilling career that's taken Jimenez all over the world.

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Jenny Jimenez

What do you do? I’m a photographer specializing in documentary family portraiture, music and event coverage, and commercial and editorial photography. I [also] have a 15-minute headshot business called the Quickie. My work has taken me all over the world. I recently returned from Haiti, where I documented the operations of Haiti Babi, a Seattle-based nonprofit that employs Haitian women in danger of losing their children by teaching them how to knit and crochet beautiful baby products.

How did you get started in that field? When I first moved to Seattle from New York in January of 1999, I didn’t have many friends and was going to a ton of concerts by myself. I started bringing my camera and developing the film as a way to open up a dialogue with others about music and photography. The Stranger started using my photos to promote upcoming shows, which led to more work.

What’s a typical day like? A common timeline this time of year might be wake up, make tea, email, shoot a portrait session, eat lunch, upload/backup photos, email again, gather inspiration and scout locations for my next session, do some post-production, hopefully remember to leave enough time to cook dinner, recap the day with my husband as we eat, client phone calls, more email, and maybe catch a show at the Showbox.

What’s the best part of the job? I get to see how a variety of people live their lives, whether it’s in their home parenting their children, celebrating their wedding with decades of loved ones, onstage making music for an adoring audience or at work with their colleagues. It’s given me a much broader understanding of the human experience than if I was stuck in a cubicle all day.

What surprises people about your work? That portraiture is more about making people feel a certain way then telling them to look a certain way. I can tell someone to smile, but if there isn’t any emotion to back it up then the image doesn’t feel genuine. I spend the same amount of time playing around with people as I do photographing them.

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