We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Dela Resma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Everyone talks about how if you want to be successful, you shouldn’t give up. How if you work hard, you can achieve anything – and it is true, absolutely! Yet one thing people often forget is sometimes it really is just luck – the right place, the right time, the right people. And that’s okay! It’s incredibly hard to not compare yourself to others, and something that has helped me immensely is remembering my journey is my own. I’m allowed to be happy for someone else while also wanting more for myself, so long as I remember everyone is on a different path.
Please tell us more about your career. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was knowing my worth! Even if you’re new to something, you still deserve to be compensated for your work and time. It can be hard at first, but you get a feel for it as time goes on. When I first started out, it was exhausting traveling, shooting, editing, and delivering for free. My work wasn’t valued until I started valuing it myself. Even if it meant turning down potential “clients,” I knew the ones that stuck around were the ones worth working for.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well…if this were non-pandemic times, we would be all over Los Angeles. First, we’d pick up some coffee from one of my favorite shops – Klatch Coffee (dirty almond milk chai), Iron & Kin (honey latte with oatmilk), or Unincoporated Coffee Roasters (Paco’s Delight cold brew). They are all actually outside of LA but very, very good. Then, we’d be off to pick up some sandwiches from Wax Paper (I love the Ira Glass with salami) before enjoying them at the LA Historic State Park. After such a nice picnic, I’d head to East LA to my favorite taco truck – El Ruso. Sonoran style tacos with the most delicious meat made by the nicest family. After stuffing our faces, we’d head to one of my favorite bars in the Arts District, Resident. Not only do they have great cocktails, but I love their chile lime peanuts! Another day would be spent in Little Tokyo. Lunch at Marugame Monzo for some udon, popping into Fugetsu-Do for some homemade manju, walking to the Kinokuniya bookstore for everything from cookbooks, manga, to cute gifts. Hit up Tea Masters for some delicious matcha soft serve and explore all the little shops in between, before enjoying dinner and drinks at Far Bar, and maybe more after-dinner drinks at Wolf and Crane. LA may be relatively dry and hot, but there are still great hikes all over. There’s tons of trails to explore in Griffith Park, and others north of LA such as Ernest E. Debs park, Echo Mountain, and Eaton Canyon. There’s also the many beaches, my favorites are up in or on the way to Malibu where they’re much less crowded.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I don’t consider myself anywhere near successful, but every part of who I am as a photographer today is owed to those who believed in me from the beginning. My dad gifting me a little digital camera for Christmas when I was 10 years old. My high school friends gifting me my first DSLR for my birthday. My first clients who took a gamble with me for their weddings and portraits. The fellow creators who connected and collaborated with me while we both worked on building our styles. The established artists in the film and photography industry who took the time and energy to mentor me. All this support from different people in different parts of my life shaped me into the artist I am today. I thank the people from whom I draw inspiration and am flattered if they draw any from me!
All shots by Jen Dela Resma