Interview with Photographer Jena Cumbo

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER?

I actually grew up in Rochester, NY, home of Kodak, so camera’s were always around growing up, but I never thought I’d make a career of it until much later. My parents were very working class and it was expected that if I went to college it would be for math or science because that’s what I was good at in high school. So I went to college for Biology at the University of Hartford in CT, but when I was choosing schools I strategically picked colleges that also had an art program so that I could take painting and photography classes too. I was totally smitten by the Hartford Art School, my classes and the friends that I met there. I ended up changing my major half way through my second year of college. To my parents chagrin, I became a painting and photography major. After undergrad, I went to SUNY Buffalo and earned an MFA in photography.

greenPointFashionShoot_50mm_MG_8496Greenpoint, Brooklyn Fashion Shoot

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR JOB?

I’m freelance, and I do a lot of different things, so everyday is different. I kinda thrive on the excitement of having to throw my schedule around based on what comes up and sometimes even what falls through and how to best use my time.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

Marketing and pricing, I’m a horrible business person. Constantly trying to get more clients and retain the ones that I already have.

greenPointFashionShoot_50mm_MG_8727print
Greenpoint, Brooklyn Fashion Shoot

WHAT IS SPECIAL OR UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?

I think I’m good at making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. My work can be a little bit campy, I’m not afraid of trying silly things, working with props, or sometimes I create a situation or activity for the model/person to do to get a good shot and tell a story.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM SHOOT?

working for TEEN Vogue or Roxy – I like shooting youthful, active fashion-lifestyle the best.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOOT YOU HAVE DONE SO FAR?

I did a shoot for Zooey Magazine where I prop styled a whole room to make it look like a kitchen and had two models from APM ‘making cookies’. It was a really fun and cute shoot.

ZooeyMag_2014_MG_8579
Zooey Magazine Shoot

WHAT PHOTOGRAPHERS INSPIRE YOU?

Ben Watts, Jason Kibbler, Craig McDean, Tierney Gearson, Jeff Wall, Lauren Greenfield (I use to assist Greenfield)

 

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

I shot for my Biology professor’s summer internship program with Nasa. We were doing things like soil samples and the whole thing had to do with water, it paved the way for me doing lots of Art Department event photography for years to come.

 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STARTING OUT PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Assist. It’s the best education, I learned way more about lighting and the business from all the photographers and various sets I worked on than I ever did in school.
Also, don’t compare yourself/your work to others too much – I try to limit my time on social media because I am victim of that myself. I think its more important to shoot a lot and figure out what your own voice is that way.

mePhoto of Jena Cumbo

Follow Jena!
site – http://jenacumbo.com/
insta – https://instagram.com/jenacumbo/
tumblr – http://jenacumbo.tumblr.com/
fb – https://www.facebook.com/JenaCumboPhoto

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