Meet Atlanta Wedding Photojournalist, Jes McGowan
Readers… Meet Atlanta wedding photojournalist, Jes McGowan.
She’s a Grant Park native, a one-year wed “Mrs.” and, obviously, a phenomenal photographer. Jes is also someone who brings a mellow enthusiasm and eclectic perspective to the view behind the lens, making her subjects feel as good about being themselves as they would without a flash going off. I can attest, because this photojournalist did just that for me and my (now) husband.
photo by: Tim Moxley
But who is she, really? A pony-tailed, funny girl with red lipstick, a camera pack and an efficient trigger finger, for sure… but here’s a little more insight into who our femme photale really is and why she’s a photographer.
Why did you choose photography? | I have always had a fascination with photography, with people and with the story behind them. I got my first camera from my aunt when I was 15 years old. She heard that I was interested in learning, so she showed me the basics and told me to ‘just start taking photos, because you can only learn by doing.’ Since then, I’ve learned to translate my love for quality of light and lines into film. Plus, I discovered that photography gave me access to people’s lives and a good excuse to get to know them.
How is your shooting style different? | I photograph with the eye of a photojournalist. People often wonder what that means, and the short answer is that it is telling a story with images to document a slice of life. It’s not a story about me as an artist, but the story of the subject (or subjects) in front of the camera. I observe, wait and capture the true moment unfolding. It’s that instance that a subject forgets about the camera where you find the real person.
Why did you decide to shoot weddings? | As a photographer, I get to witness and document the love between two people. Weddings are a perfect story to capture. There are nerves, tears, laughs and true love. Getting all of these emotions in photos is a photographer’s dream. …And usually, the client’s.
As a lover of Jes’s photography and shooting style, I wanted to share some of the thoughts that go through her own head. So, here’s a collection taken from her own portfolio – favorite shots that tie to favorite memories and moments. We talk a lot about telling a story about life with pictures, so why not get to know Jes through her own?
I love this photo because of its beautiful color and light quality, but it goes beyond that. It reminds me of a peaceful moment that I was a part of – Buddhist monks in New Mexico performing a religious blessing before being totally secluded in their temple for two weeks. It’s an image that represents dedication and commitment.
This is the first picture I ever had published on the cover of the New York Times. It’s an image of a Shriner in Alabama who blew the whistle on the activities of his fellow Shriners. To me, it reveals a man with a strong moral code.
I love unexpected and humorous moments that take place at an unlikely time. I know this woman was only blocking the sun from her eyes, but it makes me smile.
I took a 3-week trip to Vietnam to follow Vietnam War veterans who were doing philanthropic projects around the country. I made so many memories and took amazing images, but this woman’s face still sticks out in my mind. Despite the poverty around her, she looks happy and at peace, with a face and eyes that reveal years of experience.
This wedding picture always reminds me to be patient for images to happen. I don’t direct the activities of the wedding, so I had to wait for this image to come together. I had lights set up inside for the dance floor. At some point I stepped outside to frame the happy couple in the doorway. It was worth the wait to capture a special moment between newlyweds and to highlight an incredible venue.
I am always looking for interesting angles and perspectives to document the standard wedding events, like cutting the cake. Sometimes you can use a harsh light to your advantage and create fun, playful shadows. I love the abstract quality of that the shadow brought to this image.