Portfolio: Jennifer Diener

by Kara Fox

We talk about the elusive quality of creativity as though it were some concrete thing. Creativity is the use of the imagination, or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. As I view a painting, a photograph, a piece of sculpture, read words, see a play, watch a movie, listen to a speech or enjoy music—I am aware of the artist bringing a part of themselves into their creation.

Two musicians, sitting at identical pianos, offered the same four notes, will each present a completely unique composition. Two painters sitting at the ocean's edge, a canvass before each, each given four tubes of the same colors of paint and identical brushes, will create two unique paintings. Two photographers given the same cameras, asked to photograph the same scene, at the same time, will produce uniquely different images.

Everyone sees things in their own way. Each artist is affected in their own way. This is why I am happy to share with you the photography of Jennifer Diener, as an illustration of her personal vision, her creativity.

Little did I know when I crossed paths with Jennifer, that this calm, cool and collected woman was also a remarkable photographer whose work is anything but calm and cool! And like a true artist, she brings to her images that part of herself which makes her art unique.

Born to an artistic family, Jennifer spent many of her adult years being exposed to art. As an adult, when she travelled out of the country with her husband, Royce, there were no photos of her and her husband; there were simply photos of where they had been.

When she became aware of this, Jennifer became obsessed with trying to take photos with nothing modern in them. When she was in France, she would photograph old scenes from the 19th century and earlier. Wherever she was, she liked to imagine what things were like in the past.

Jennifer soon discovered that she could organize her images in albums to give to the viewer a story of what had been. She found that when people would look at her photographs, they commented that they were not simply photographs, but images that were more like artistic paintings that told a story.

She assumed that all those years of looking at paintings in her youth allowed her brain to absorb many of the rules of composition. It comes naturally to her and she enjoys that her response to a scene is automatic and not filled with principles of technique.

In spite of Jennifer's exposure to art as she was growing up, she was never compelled to take photography seriously until her 50's when she became restless with her life and had the good fortune to cross paths with Robert Weingarten It was as though a light bulb went off in her head. Mr. Weingarten had been enjoyed photography in his youth but followed a career in business, returning to photography in his retirement. Jennifer told him she was interested in photography. He told her what equipment to buy and she found someone to teach her.

Jennifer feels that her greatest challenges are the technical aspects of photography;  the eye comes naturally. She has the greatest respect for what people can achieve technically with the camera, as well as  in the computer or darkroom.  However, she loves the satisfaction of returning from her travels to download her pictures and find the unexpected. Everything changes when she sees it on the big screen of her computer. Her interest lies in how the elements fit together in the frame. She is always seeking balance and simplicity. There is always a main point she is seeking to capture. She never focuses on the flaws—those, she ignores. She claims she is not a perfectionist when it comes to her photography.

Jennifer Diener admires an artist who can create something that doesn't exist. She is reactive to what she is seeing in her own creative way: the emotional and spiritual meanings that lie before her. She thinks of the symmetry out of her personal need for balance. Her sensitivity to colors and balance may be informed by her environment and by her love of yoga.

A Nikon D700, with a 24-120mm lens is her favorite. She doesn't like to carry a lot of equipment. When taking portraits she likes to use a 300mm lens for an intimate study of her subject. Often, when attending an event, a wedding, a party, if a guest stops by to say hello and they look up at her, click.

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