Marking the start of another year of interviews, I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Tremp for Aloud. A Melbourne based photographer, Jessica creates imagery that is poetic, eerie and enchanting, qualities she is able to bring to her commissioned work just as beautifully as to her personal artistic endeavors.
ALOUD: Could you start by describing your background as an artist?
JESSICA TREMP: I’ve always needed to find ways to express myself. As a young single child, this used to be hours locked away in my room scribbling on fresh notebooks. I’ve dabbled in singing, painting, writing, drawing, studied dancing, considered drama school and practiced the guitar, but photography just seems to have stuck the most. It just linked arms with me one day and never let go.
ALOUD: Could you describe your work (in terms of inspiration, imagery, themes…) ? What do you want to express as a photographer?
JESSICA: I’m inspired by a plethora of things: Blues music, Italian food, midnight snacks eaten alone,talking with friends after the third bottle of wine, hugs, fights, the animal kingdom, uncomfortable social experiences, Park Chan-Wook’s movies, daydreaming of running with the wolves…
What I want to express I find is difficult to put into words…it’s “that thing” that we all feel is there but can never quite put words to. Hence the imagery instead.
Further to that, I learn more from what I’ve already created than what I want to achieve. A type of theme usually forms without being too conscious of it. Often it has to do with wanting nature to feel womb-like, like we are being cradled by it, but because we are so far removed from it nowadays, it is almost unnatural, eerie, discomforting at the same time.
ALOUD: Is working for yourself an important aspect in your choice of career? What do you enjoy and/or find most challenging about having an independant art practice?
JESSICA: I’m still waiting for the day where this can be my sole type of work, so at the moment I’m juggling between creating work that I have the urge to, doing a little commercial freelance work and trying to keep an admin job going to pay the bills. It’s difficult finding a balance, but I know more and more that working independently is what I love. It’s wonderful to be able bring genuine passion to the day and call it ‘work’. But every aspect has its own challenges of course, from finding motivation, time, the courage to charge adequately and not undervalue your work or services are just a few and I’m still working on it all. I do enjoy working alone and I’m looking forward to one day having a schedule that can fit a little more around me than me summersaulting around it.
ALOUD: How do you define what is life and what is work?
JESSICA: I’ve recently split my commercial work (now ‘Brown Paper Parcel Photography’) from my personal work. Giving it a name helped define the line a little. Creating my own personal images started off just being for me and as long as it’s a natural urge and passion, that will continue to be able to play happily in my ‘life’.
ALOUD: How differently do you approach your work when shooting commercially or for your own artistic purposes? Would you like to see the balance of your work lean more one way than the other?
JESSICA: Of course everyone wishes to be able to create the work they want to and be able to make a living off that alone. It happens for very few. So whilst that part is still the ultimate dream, I still feel pretty lucky to have the wonderful trust of people requesting my services for their needs.
ALOUD: How would you like to see your work/career evolve over the next few years?
JESSICA: Both sides will need refining, growing and chipped away at independently. It would be nice to settle into a niche and feel comfortable in it and make a little nest there. Right now I’m still testing the waters with what works and what doesn’t both for myself and for my clients.
ALOUD: What makes you doubt yourself professionally? and what makes it all worthwhile?
JESSICA: I’m not a very slick photographer. My style is much more raw and emotional. That appeals to certain people, but I know not to measure myself against big production commercial photographers. Sometimes I need to remind myself that different is a good thing.
ALOUD: Where can we see your work? (links, upcoming publications, exhibitions…)
If you are an artist or designer and have found ways to turn your passion into your livelihood, I would love to hear from you and help you get the word out there. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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