I’ve always denied being an artist.
When I was younger, I was that artsy fartsy kid. I was constantly covered in glitter or face down in my sketchbook scribbling away doodles, dreams and imagining worlds and people from lands far away. Every year until about sixth grade, we had a “nice comment” day during which we wrote compliments to each other on brightly colored construction paper. Mine would be filled with “you’re so creative,” “artist,” “so artsy,” etc. Being a young and dumb adolescent, I hated the fact that my reputation was linked to my creativity. I wanted to be known for being funny, pretty, nice, smart or something more tangible. Unfortunately, the struggle to balance who I was and who I thought I should be followed me for years.
In high school, I pushed away my artistic side and went for business. I joined business clubs, took business classes, started my own business and hardly expressed myself artistically until my senior year. Then, I decided to take yearbook. It was something simple that didn’t require me to look at projections for the next fiscal year. When they asked me what committee I wanted to be a part of, I chose the photo department because they rented out nice DSLR cameras.
My passion for photography grew through being a part of yearbook. I had no idea what I was doing but I loved capturing expressions of people as they laughed in the cafeteria, action shots of people playing rugby, or magnificent murals painted by the art department. It was real, it was raw (but actually .jpg because I didn’t know what raw was), and I became addicted to taking photographs.
When I graduated high school and entered college, I knew I didn’t want to give up photography. I signed up for “Fresh Fotos,” a club in which freshmen documented their first year of school. There, I met one of my closest photo buddies and mentor. He taught me how to properly use a DSLR, shoot in manual, and edit using Photoshop. The following year, we joined the schools fashion magazine and I became his assistant. Being a part of a team that created a magazine every semester was magical. When the issues would come out the feeling it gave me was indescribable. It was euphoric. It was art. The art created with photography lifted the veil from something I’d been pushing away for so long.
After I graduated college, photography was the only thing that made sense to me. I would set up low budget shoots with clothes from my closet or Goodwill and makeup/ hair messily done from tutorials I watched on Youtube. I conceptualized a shoot, asked a friend to be a part of it, shot, edited, put out my work on social media and repeated. Over time, it gained traction, and people started to recognize me for my work. Before long, stylists began to reach out to me, then makeup artists, hair stylists and models. Clients began to build up, and I was able to get to a point of consistent work in the photography field. People saw potential and passion in me that I didn’t want to accept for years. Once I stopped denying my true self, I felt free. I am able to pursue my art, photography, with passion. I can say proudly that I am an artist and express myself through photography.
If you’d like to purchase the magazine I’m in, you can do so with the link here! The magazine is filled with other photographers, models, and creatives who are trying to push through the mold and redline!
If you purchase it, make sure to put my name “Genet Jean-Pierre” at check out so you can support me and my work ❤️