We had the good fortune of connecting with Jolene Siana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jolene, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have admired photography for as long as I can remember. Once I began taking photos in an elective class in college, I knew it was something I would like to do professionally. After my first year at The University of Toledo in my hometown, I transferred to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh to get my degree in Photography. I loved everything about it, although I did not immediately begin my photography business after I graduated. I moved to Los Angeles and held many different jobs…I worked in film production for 4 years, I also worked in hospitality. I continued working in hospitality once I moved to New York City, and eventually took the leap and started my photography business.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an event/portrait/family/music photographer. I love faces. What I love about shooting events, is that I have the wondrful opportunity to work with people on some of the most special days of their lifetimes. Knowing that I am chosen and trusted to capture those moments means so much to me! I also love working with families. I have some clients who I have worked with since their maternity shoots and it’s so fun watching the children and the families grow. It’s a special kind of relationship. I also love that I have had opportunities to work with some of the musicians that I grew up listening to—bands that basically formed the person I am today. I guess that is what I am most proud of. Collaborating with artists who I have such admiration for…and receiving positive feedback from them is just something that is so validating and incredible. Having their posters on my wall when I was growing up and then finding myself shooting portraits of them in New York City…I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would have these opportunities!
I would not say this journey has been easy, but it has been inspiring. Again, I feel so lucky to have so much support. I have learned so much from some amazing photographers and I feel that I have all of the tools I need for success.
What I would like the world to know about my story is that I would like to be remembered as someone who took great care into preserving special moments.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well this question is somewhat tricky at the moment as life as we knew it in early 2020 has changed due to the pandemic. In general I’m a fan of cozier places, smaller venues like wine bars with fireplaces in the autumn—in before times anyway…
I love all of the Soho House properties. I think as far as the New York venues, Dumbo is my favorite. I love Dumbo in general, you can’t beat the view…so gorgeous.! It’s fun to walk up to the Brooklyn Heights promenade, and watch the sunset too…I will never take that for granted.
I live in the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn and I love it so much. Now that restaurants have outdoor terraces on the street, it reminds me of Montreal which I love. I mean, I loved Brooklyn regardless but it just makes the city feel even more alive. Trying to find the small joys that came out of such a dark year—that is definitely a positive and charming thing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All of my friends are super-driven creatives. I’ve been very lucky to have been surrounded by positive people who have always supported me. My friend Gilden Tunador from the band Figg has always pushed me to take risks. She always sees the positive approach to things and is so warm, inspiring and uplifting. When I told her about the letters that I wrote to Kevin Ogilvie (Ogre) from Skinny Puppy, that found their way back to me after a decade had passed, she encouraged me to write a book from the letters. At the time, I was so afraid of how people might perceive it. I felt so vulnerable sharing so many personal things but she assured me that it would help people to know that they are not alone. She was right.