Disclaimer: Seller Spotlights are hand selected by the ArtFire Staff and contacted personally. We ask sellers to tell us a bit more about themselves and their business through their own eyes.
Rest Haven in Springfield, MO Route 66
Capturing things as they are to share them with others to remind people of our past.
Though I shoot to appeal to the eye, I consider myself a documentary photographer, capturing things as they are to share them with others and to remind people of our past – something I think is foolhardy to forget. Each of my limited-edition photos is carefully signed & numbered by hand before being mailed out from my home studio outside of Columbus, Ohio.
Jen photographing ghost town, Texola, Oklahoma, on Route 66
People kept writing asking to purchase photos I was posting on my blog.
Dad—a devoted shutterbug himself—put a camera into my hands and taught me the basics when I was an already creative tyke, and it became an instant passion. A love of photography runs in both sides of the family, so my taking to a camera at an early age was no surprise! That I’d end up selling my work never crossed my mind until many years later, when I was finishing college and people kept writing asking to purchase photos I was posting on my blog. At the time it was just a long-enjoyed hobby, I was continuing to teach myself through experimentation and study.
Around this time, not long before marrying my wonderful husband, a chronic health issue arose that keeps me from working outside the home. After we married, I was casting about for work to do from home (I’m a very Type A personality). Several people, including fellow photographers, asked why I did not become truly serious about my photography and begin selling it.
Jen with a ’56 Fairlane that we decided not to bring home (yet)
Thus encouraged, I jumped in with both feet; since then, it has been not only a lot of fun leaving happy customers in my wake, but selling my work has really encouraged me to pursue technical excellence as well as creative ways to portray truth and beauty.
Occasionally I look at my older work—of classic cars and architecture, for instance—and the difference is a little astounding. Of course, much of that is having discerned my own vision and style, two things that really do take a little time to develop no matter one’s medium.
“Cool Dirt” Corvair
I want to capture physical pieces of our past to show my affection for them, unfortunately more then once this has also turned into a way, however slight, to preserve them.
I am inspired by & therefore photograph the things that stir deep passion in me—joy, excitement, and wonder, as well as disappointment and sadness, though I always do my best to mingle the latter with hope when I can. One of my other loves is history, particularly American history, I even “dress vintage” in 40s & 50s fashion; this fascination with and love for the past definitely shows up in my primary subjects!
There are the aforementioned classic cars, which are not only gorgeous but to me represent freedom and imaginative excellence in design; Route 66 and other pre-interstate American highways; vintage signs; “Americana” such as grain elevators and local festivals; and distinct architecture, including historic homes and buildings, as well as abandoned places. I want to capture physical pieces of our past to share and show my affection for them, down to the smallest detail; unfortunately, more than once this has also turned into a way, however small, to preserve them.
“Glory Days”, Glenrio, TX/NM (the town straddles the border)
Sometimes I wonder if we, knowing that our end will also involve brokenness and decay, are drawn to these places because they allow us to approach our own mortality and prospect of eternity a little more easily.
When it comes to abandoned buildings & places, I cannot help seeing them simultaneously as they stand today, with scabbed paint and broken windows, and as they must have been fresh and new, full of promise, people buzzing in and out of the doors. I’m not sure how that happens, other than too many history books, old movies, and too much time looking at old photos! Sometimes I wonder if we, knowing that our end will also involve brokenness and decay, are drawn to these places because they somehow allow us to approach our own mortality and the prospect of eternity a little more easily.
I was literally standing on the Mother Road, gazing at the remains of what was not so long ago a prosperous, busy town.
Photographing the Route 66 town of Glenrio, which is nearly a ghost town now, was a powerful experience for me. I was literally standing on the Mother Road, gazing at the remains of what was not so long ago a prosperous, busy town. The combination of the decay I saw with my eyes and the gleaming success of 66’s heyday I could see in my *mind* hit me hard. My hope is that I was able to capture the present-day decay with the glory days and even my optimism for the future in my photos—this is always my hope with my abandoned place photography.
Thanks to the current popularity of dystopian themes in everything from art to film, I think people see abandonment and instantly think of the sadness, but I am a Christian and see greater hope for man in Christ than I can see, despite my sometimes annoying optimism, for these buildings and towns. My hope is to photograph these places in such a way that I point viewers to the life, beauty, and joy of these places in the past and, with luck, the future—and to nudge them into considering whether this is, in fact, possible for us, too, despite the almost insulting decay we face as we age. Perhaps I’m getting it a little bit right, because “Silenced,” a black and white photo of an abandoned church, is my best seller.
“Silenced”, St. John’s Baptist in Stotesbury, WV. Now gone, mostly toppled in a storm then demolished.
Translation is one of the biggest challenges of my work, and the challenge of any present-day artist, I think: There are so many eyes reached by our work, and more than ever before, people are coming from vastly different places culturally—even those who’ve grown up in the same country, the same town. Not everyone has read the same literature and history, seen the same films. Right now I’m reading Jacques Barzun’s incredible “From Dawn To Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present”, and the portions about artists of the Renaissance, for instance, has really brought the difference in audiences home to me.
I have to be blunt: I love ArtFire! I’ve sold at other sites, but not been as happy or content. There’s still a great “we’re working together” feel around the site.
I have to be blunt: I love ArtFire! I’ve sold at other sites, but not been as happy or content; often they’re quite vast in terms of sellers, and though ArtFire is of course attracting more artisans every day, there’s still a great “we’re working together” feel around the site. One is much less likely to get lost in the whirlwind! The staff listen seriously to sellers’ and buyers’ concerns, even when folks are angry about a potential change—I really, really appreciate that. For those new here, I highly recommend the ArtFire forums
: So many sellers are not just willing but *eager* to help, and there truly is a great camaraderie I’ve not experienced at similar venues. Altogether, this fosters a sort of team spirit that’s always encouraging in what is often a hardscrabble business! No one selling here feels alone, I think, at least not so long as they avail themselves of all the help that’s freely available.
Rusting Dodge Coronet in Texas field