My Story

Having come to photography as a teacher and writer, I've long understood the grounding power and deep clarity of the visual. During a period of major transition several years ago, I turned to photography as an unexpected spiritual practice. Making pictures became a means to witness cycles of transformation in my own life by studying and framing those around me. 

As I chose to revisit and photograph the same areas over the course of months and years, my intimacy with these landscapes deepened. As a result, the images held an extended story of my relationship to each setting as well as my present moment's interplay with it. I detail that experience within this blog and in my essayist site, Transition Chapters: Sharing Life's Transformative Passages

In the last few years, this practice has lovingly extended into an ongoing creative vision. It's a journey I find even richer as I l apply more technical dexterity to my intuitive process. For me, it's a continual apprenticeship of both skill and spirit. 

From the beginning I've been drawn to photographing wild spaces and natural elements, and I've maintained that focus in my work. Many of my photos come out of personal retreats around the Great Lakes and North Woods. Nonetheless, I also find frequent inspiration in urban parks and even city streets. 

Whether I'm framing a sweeping vista or my own neighborhood, for me it's always about the quality of my own attentiveness. Am I willing to offer a non-directed, open-minded desire for discovery? Can I let go of creative agenda and allow a landscape to distinctively reveal itself on a particular day? Can I encounter a setting from a place of reverence?

Generally, I prefer to stay close to the empirical nature of each space, leaving settings unmanipulated and using minimal editing techniques. It's an approach I relate to (and retain from) my beginning experiences with photography—letting intimacy be the root of art. 

All images © 2016-2018 Jennifer Wannen. All rights reserved.