[KELP] Can you talk about why you chose photography? What does this form provide that other media does not?
[JENNIFER SARA WIDELITZ] First and foremost, I am an artist with a deep-rooted passion for storytelling in a variety of mediums: film, photography, painting, poetry, writing, etc. As such, I utilize whichever medium I feel is best suited to the message I wish to convey, as each artistic medium possesses its own strengths and weaknesses. I am also of the belief that being well versed in one artistic medium can aid an artist in his/her/their pursuit of another art form. For instance, a background in painting can increase a photographer’s awareness of composition and color, and an interest in writing can help the photographer find content, stories, and messages in the unlikeliest of places.
With that said, I choose photography because I can capture moments and places in their unfiltered, unbiased essence, allowing me to view the world from a different perspective. I enjoy capturing moments, places, and objects that will never be the same again, but will forever live in my work. Life has so many stories to tell, big and small, if only we take the time to look and listen. Sometimes I feel as though life creates the true art and I was simply meant to record it.
[KELP] What do you look for when framing a shot? What draws you to the pictures you take?
[JENNIFER SARA WIDELITZ] My photography exhibits my desire to find places and moments that are screaming to be seen and remembered, whether they be large monuments withstanding the test of time or untraveled roads, or discarded and forgotten objects. While I do enjoy viewing the big picture, I am often a small details kind of person. I enjoy searching for and capturing the stories that people are unlikely to come across or are too busy to notice.
[KELP] Should photographers be cognizant of the narrative they create of a place or time when exhibiting photos?
[JENNIFER SARA WIDELITZ] Overall, I believe photographers should be cognizant of the narrative they create, especially when preplanning with a distinct message in mind, the way a painter will plan a painting or a writer will plan a book. In my opinion, the awareness of the photographer about the subject is part of what makes photography an art form and distinguishes the photographer from other individuals taking pictures on a camera.
However, I am also a believer in happy accidents. In photography, that often means those unexpected moments when you happen across the perfect image, or when you capture something incredible in your photograph that you were unaware of as you were taking the picture.
[KELP] How has the digital age affected photography?
[JENNIFER SARA WIDELITZ] The digital age has affected all aspects of photography, even birthing a new art form: digital art, which often utilizes photography through the use and manipulation of photographs. However, the greatest innovations to photography during this age can be summed up in two words: accessibility and ease.
Cameras have become readily available with increased accessibility to the public that almost anyone with a camera, or smartphone, has the capability to be a photographer—that is perhaps the greatest and most wonderful part of how the digital age has impacted photography.
Not only has the digital age made photography more accessible, but it has also contributed to photography’s reverence and recognition as a legitimate art form by calling into question the definition of photography, turning it from the physical act of taking pictures into an artistic field.
The newfound ease of digital cameras and smartphones granted photographers more creative freedom, as the transition from film to digital allowed for a heavier focus on the creative aspects and uses of photography rather than the technical aspects involved. Instead of worrying about f-stops and ISOs, people can take pictures with ease by simply pushing a button. Despite automatic settings, many photographers will still strive to understand the technical aspects and know when to manually change them to suit their artistic needs.
[KELP] Are there any photographers that have influenced your work?
[JENNIFER SARA WIDELITZ] There are many photographers who have influenced my work, some consciously and many unconsciously. I believe that we, as humans, are an accumulation of all our experiences, and therefore artists are influenced by other artists and artworks, whether they are aware of the influence or not. In that case, every photographer and photograph I have come into contact with has influenced me, and thus my work, in some form. A few of my favorite photographers who have greatly influenced both me and my work are Ansel Adams, Carrie Mae Weems, and Dorothea Lange—I will always remember the first time I saw their work. Ansel Adams helped me see the beauty in the details, and both Carrie Mae Weems and Dorothea Lange instilled in me the power of message and story.
As I stated before, we are influenced by all our experiences. Therefore, as an artist who works in a variety of mediums, artists and works from a diversity of fields have also been greatly influential. Although Andrew Wyeth was a great twentieth-century painter, his work has significantly affected my photography. His work often depicted normal, mundane scenes that may be easily overlooked or forgotten, and has a melancholy feel—something I often search for in my photographic work.
Jennifer Sara Widelitz received her BFA in Visual Effects from the Savannah College of Art and Design and works as a compositor, creating special effects for film and television. She is an artist with a deep-rooted passion for storytelling in a variety of mediums: film, photography, painting, poetry, etc. She is an emerging artist and photographer who is in the process of writing her first poetry collection. Her photography is soon to be featured in the Summer 2021 issue of Camas Magazine, and her poetry has been published in Open Minds Quarterly and Stonecrop Magazine, and is soon to appear in The Pointed Circle. You can visit her website at https://jenniferwidelitz.com/ or find her on Instagram at @jennifersarawidelitz.