I remember the first time that I saw some of Jessica Thomason’s work on the ClickinMoms forum. It was around the time when the word “real” was a buzzword in photography. People were starting to move away from the stylized perfect lifestyle type photos and realize that photos of real life unfiltered were beautiful too. I remember her being hesitant because it was different. I was drawn to her work because I had always felt like I just couldn’t DO the posed perfect shot, and here was someone DOING that I wanted to do! There is something so tangibly real about Jessica’s photos. Her photos are like being a fly on the wall in her life. Just raw, beautifully captured and yes, real. I love her work and I’m so glad she agreed to answer a few questions for this series.
All photos courtesy of @jessicathomasonphotography
Tell us about yourself and your background
Hi! I’m Jessica, a 35 year old wife, mother, pharmacist and documentary photographer. I live 15 minutes from the beach and 5 minutes from a Starbucks drive through so basically you could say I’m “living the dream”. I also teach The Documentary Approach, an online workshop, at Clickinmoms.
How did you first get into photography?
I’ve had a love for documenting life since I was in high school – first with point and shoot disposable film cameras quickly followed by the advent of the incredibly high-tech Kodak Advantix (remember those?!) In 2009, my husband and I went on a trip to South Africa so I bought a Nikon D90 and scoured the internet for advice on how to use it. I read a little about composition and settings but ultimately I kept it on some kind of semi-automatic mode most of the time. Like so many other photographers, with the birth of my first daughter in 2011, I became full on obsessed with mastering the camera so that I could document every precious little moment of her life. At that point I started to read anything I could find on mastering my D90, stumbled upon Clickinmoms forum in 2012, threw my camera in manual and never looked back.
Tell me about your Instagram journey: How did you get started?
I don’t actually remember signing up for an IG account but my first post was in 2012. I think I avoided it at first because I don’t “see” in squares. But as I began to use it I loved the simplicity — nothing but pictures. 100% visual. And I quickly came to love looking back at my old posts and seeing little snapshots of life all stacked like tiles, one memory on top of the other.
What is the story that you hope your Instagram tells?
I hope it tells a story of what life is really like. It’s hard to know when you’re in it. Life feels one way and then when you look back a year later with some perspective, you might feel something different. And so I’m careful not to cut out all the bad and only include the very best parts. Yes, I love a cute baby and nice light and happy faces – who doesn’t?! But at the same time, there are dark parts of life. Confusing parts. Utterly boring parts. Those people, places and things that you feel like you see and do every single solitary day of your relentlessly boring life until one day you wake up and realize you don’t do that thing anymore. And ‘what did my old office even look like?’ and ‘what was that thing the girls used to do in the bathtub that was so funny?’. I want to scroll through my IG and find the answers.
What was on of your favorite photos that you took recently. Why?
Who or what inspires you?
I’m currently so inspired by Mark Manson whose new book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is rocking my world!
I’m inspired by things that make me uncomfortable or stressed. Things like aging and shame. I’m inspired by my children of course but particularly the way they see themselves in the world. Their perfectly unwavering sense of self worth. Their total confidence. The humor within the chaos is another aspect of life I’m drawn to and I think that finds its way into my photography.
What is your favorite thing to photograph?
My kids at home. It’s where we do the majority of our living. And I’m a sentimental kind of girl. As much as I love to document our adventures I care the most about preserving the memories that take place within these four walls.
What do you shoot with?
Most of IG is with my iPhone 5s and my DSLR is a Nikon D750
Favorite App to edit with?
Black and white or color?
I could never choose just one but I probably edit 75-80% in color. Maybe even 90%.
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