Jessica Jordan

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Jessica Jordan is a 21-year-old aspiring photographer and has been living in Cape Town for 3 years. She was born and raised in Durban, KZN, where she attended boarding school at St Anne’s College. Before starting her studies at Orms CSTP, Jess worked for Shanna Jones Photography, capturing weddings and learning all about photography as a business and lifestyle. Jess enjoys all genres of photography but loves fashion, portraiture, and weddings the most. If you catch Jess without her camera, she is either on the beach, playing a sport, cuddling cats and dogs, reading a good book or watching Netflix with some popcorn at hand. She loves meeting new people and starting new adventures and that is why she is obsessed with photography, as it is a medium that allows her to do just that.

View her photographs produced during this year, along with her year-end interview below:


When you started the programme what genre of photography were you interested in and has this shifted over the course of the year?

I was interested in weddings, as that was what I had mainly been shooting before starting at Orms CTSP and I knew that I was more interested in photographing people compared to landscapes. I think it has shifted slightly more towards fashion photography and portraiture over the course of the year but I have not decided exactly what I want to specialize in just yet. I will definitely do a bit of everything until a certain path is laid out for me.

Analogue (film) or Digital photography and why?

I love both kinds of photography. Film has a beautiful way of slowing me down as a photographer and really making me think about each shot I take whereas digital allows me to shoot continuously without really having to think too much. Both have their pros and cons and are perfect for different situations. I’ll always go back to film every now and then but will shoot mainly digital as I think it is necessary for commercial photography.

What subject matter do you find yourself drawn to?

I love photographing people and their emotions. That is why fashion and portraiture have been important genres for me this year because they both include photographing people but in completely different ways.

Pick three words/phrases that describe your approach to the medium?

Make unique and interesting content.
Don’t force it if it’s not working.
Do what you love and the money will take care of itself.

Why did you choose to study photography?

I decided to study photography because I knew there was still so much more for me to learn about the medium. I wanted to know everything I could about it so that I could use that and put into practice in my life as a photographer. I also wanted to have a reason to test out each genre of photography and find out which ones really stood out for me and then pursue those once I had completed the course.

What has been the most noteworthy shoot/project you have done this year?

I think it would be obvious to say the fashion photography project. That really taught me how to make my own decisions as a photographer and curate an entire shoot with multiple people involved. It was a huge learning curve as I wasn’t only focusing on the photography and had to learn how to deal with so many different elements. It also gave me a slight boost in confidence knowing that I had completed it without any major disasters and felt it was a small step in the right direction for me as an aspiring fashion photographer. We all have to start somewhere and I think that was the start for me.

Who is your biggest photographic influence at the moment and how/why?

I would have to say, Annie Leibovitz. I think her style of shooting and her approach to photography is very unique. She is highly respected in the industry and is given complete creative freedom with most/all of her shoots. That is every photographer’s dream, to be completely trusted and allowed to take the reins completely.

What has been your biggest misconception about photography as a practice?

I think before I became a photographer, all of the photographs I was looking at in magazines and weddings etc. looked so beautiful and it seemed like such a glamorous lifestyle, but once I had my fair share of being behind the scenes, I realized that it definitely isn’t as glamours as it may appear. There is so much that goes into one shoot in order to achieve the final shot and is accompanied by a lot of preparation and hard work, most of the time carrying gear from location to location and pushing to get the shots. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but just something I didn’t realize before I started out in the industry. Also, after all the hard work is over and the day is done, you are left with something special and something to be proud of.

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt on the course?

As cliche as it sounds, I’ve learnt to believe in myself as a photographer and trust in my skills, despite being considered ‘young’ in the industry.

What advice would you give to anyone seriously considering applying for the course?

I would say come with an open mind. Don’t try to force a specific path upon yourself and rather just allow the year to guide you. Try everything with a positive attitude and you will know which genres you are more drawn to at the end of the day. Consider yourself lucky to be taking part in the course as not many people are as fortunate enough to have people so passionate about photography surrounding you all day, every day. Take it all in because it’ll be over before you know it!