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Conversations with Jayme Burrows

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jayme Burrows. 

Jayme, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started shooting in high school– taking photography classes, then becoming my school newspaper’s photographer and photo editor. I loved photography right away but thought I needed to go into something more stable like law or business. I went to UC Santa Barbara to study law but quickly found that it was unfulfilling for me. I completed that degree but also attended the Brooks Institute of Photography at the same time while in Santa Barbara. I began my career in photography as a photojournalist shooting breaking news, sports, red carpet events, and covering general assignments. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’ve been in the photography world for a long time now, and I’ve got a stable roster of returning clients, a studio in Highland Park, and have generally hit a point where work is consistent, and I feel like the trajectory of my career is right where I want it to be at this point in my life, but it took years of ups and downs and struggle to get here. 

I graduated from photography school at the height of the recession, and there was almost no work out there for me. I expected to graduate and start working immediately, but that didn’t happen. I continued to wait tables and apply for jobs, and put my work out there, but my photography income was pretty non-existent. I then enrolled in grad school to earn my MFA, and that kept me from leaving the industry completely and gave me some time to hone my skills further and for the economy to improve. 

Once I finished all of my schooling it still took me years to get my career really rolling to the point where I could sustain myself on photography alone. It took hustle and persistence, but eventually, things started to coalesce, and work became more consistent. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
These days I shoot mostly commercial lifestyle campaigns. That basically means advertising shoots with people interacting with a product. My specialty is shooting campaigns that focus on real-looking people engaging in genuine moments together that don’t feel forced or staged. Typically, my shoots have a fun, joyful energy with lots of that good California light. 

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m definitely a (calculated) risk taker. A while back, my partner and I sold everything and traveled around the world for two and a half years, working our way across 4 continents. That was equally thrilling and terrifying to hit the road not having a home to come back to or being certain that you could earn enough to stay on the road. But it all worked out, and it was the adventure of a lifetime. 

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©Jayme Burrows

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