Jen Reilly Graves - Q&A


What's your philosophy on photography?

I love using natural light, and seeing images in a way that most people miss.  When I paint I love to emphasize reflected light, the  light that bounces off of an object and is seen on another object.  I use that same love of light as a photographer.  

What kind of photographs do you like to take?

My preferred photographic style is photo-journalistic, or making images without the awareness of the subject.  One of my all-time favorite photos is of a grandmother staring in open-mouthed amazement her granddaughter's beautiful wedding cake.  The grandmother had no idea the camera was focused on her.  To capture that kind of shot, you have to be ever at the ready with your camera, while at the same time in tune with the crowd. 


Why did you decide to become a photographer?

I've been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old, and have wanted to be a professional photographer since I was about 10 years old!  I just love taking photographs.  It's even more fun now that we have digital photography and powerful computer programs like Photoshop!

If you loved photography so much, why did you wait so long to pursue it professionally?

I was chicken.  I really was not confident of my own ability.  I am blessed to have friends who saw my talent and encouraged me to pursue it.  The digital age also had a lot to do with it.  My technical skills have improved dramatically since having the immediate feedback that the digital age provides.

In your other life, before you were a professional photographer, what did you do?

I was a Jane-of-All-Trades!  I taught gymnastics, delivered Domino's Pizza, was a legal and real estate assistant.  I owned and managed a horse farm, was a Realtor, waitress, secretary, and, the one thing I'll never be done with... mom to a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy, who is growing up way too quickly!

If somebody was describing you, what would they say?  

I think most would say I'm friendly, accepting, comfortable, and kindhearted.  

Where have you lived?  

Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, North Dakota, Washington, DC, and Maryland.

Where have you traveled? 

Most states east of Colorado, California, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands.

What is your education?  

I earned my BA in Fine Art (painting and drawing) from University of Northern Colorado, and earned credits from McNeese State University, North Dakota State University, Aims Community College, Prince George's Community College and Anne Arundel Community College.  I love learning!  

What's your dream vacation?  

I'd hike in the Colorado Rockies during the day and come back to a personal massage therapist every evening.

​If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would play you?  

It would be an intense movie about a woman "in search of herself," as lame as that sounds!  It would involve many friends, travels, self doubt, Faith and love.  I'd be pleased if Kathy Bates played me.  She's one tough cookie!

If someone wanted to get to know you better, what should they do?  

Just ask!  I'd be happy to answer.  Coming up with these Q&A's was harder than I thought it would be.  :-)