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Meet Jennica Abrams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennica Abrams.

Hi Jennica, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
When I was 14 or so I started taking conceptual photos of myself for my MySpace but I never considered it photography. Then when I was 15, I took a black and white 35mm film class in high school and was given an unexpected amount of praise from my teacher, and that’s really what made me stick with it. I finally felt like I was good at something and it felt really validating. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve taken every single photography class in college, and I decide to use my last semester before graduating to study abroad at my school’s Switzerland campus and do an internship with a photographer out there who graduated from my school. I actually ended up walking at the Geneva campus’ graduation ceremony and was the first photography student to graduate there since they technically hadn’t built their program yet. After earning my BA in Commercial Photography, I continued to travel overseas and go to tons of music festivals while freelancing and working at various photography jobs, as I had been doing since I was 18 after working a nightmarish job at a café and deciding to only focus my energy on photo-related income earning. Around 23, I had the realization that instead of going to shows just for fun, I could also be shooting and making good use of my time.

So, I started hitting up blogs, DJs, managers, booking agents, or any other email I could find that would land me a photo pass to various shows and festivals. I would send the photos I took via DMs, by posting on Instagram and tagging the artists, by Googling email addresses, etc. and hoping they’d post the photos and tag me. I built my network this way for about a year until deciding to make the move from St Louis to Los Angeles in 2014, where I knew only a couple people. From there, I took whatever photo jobs and gigs that I could, made friends, went to a lot of shows, and reached out to all the contacts I had made to start shooting shows again. After a few months of shooting at shows as I had been doing in St Louis, I started getting booked (paid) to shoot shows and portraits. This evolved into touring with the likes of Marshmello, Ed Sheeran, & Lauv, press photos (sometimes in my “home studio” that was literally in a studio apartment), album art, and editorials until I was able to leave my job and be a full-time freelancer. I eventually learned video and editing and directed my first music video for Borgore in 2019. Then at the height of my career, COVID struck and left me pretty uncertain about my life. I am now able to do shoots outdoors and with other fully vaccinated people, and I’ve recently minted my genesis collection of NFTs.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t believe smooth roads exist in any creative field. I have good weeks and bad weeks just like anyone else. COVID has by far been the biggest challenge since most of my photos are of people. But before that, my own insecurities and gatekeepers were the main challenges. I truly detest self-promo (I would call it “shameless self-promo” but for me there’s no such thing) and I know that if I was better about this, I could be further in my career. But on the other hand, I sort of like to move quietly. I’m a big fan of things happening organically. Beyond those things, getting noticed can be hard before you develop a personal style and brand. In my opinion, figuring yourself out and staying true to yourself will result in longevity and real growth more than clamoring for attention before you put in the work.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’ve been a photographer for more than half my life, a videographer for four years, and a director for the last two years. I specialize in portraits and tour photography/videography, as well as album art, editorial work, and music promo teasers/trailers. It’s hard to choose what I’m most proud of! What I consider to be my biggest masterpiece is “Summerlake”, the music video I directed and edited for Borgore, the treatment of which was actually thrown together when I was brought on board less than 48 hours before we shot it. Generally, I am pretty proud of my lighting, coloring editing, and concepts. I’m most known for my colors and lighting.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Creating art, traveling, and plants make me the happiest. I’m not even sure if I can consider making art “happiness” because it’s more of a compulsion at this point. If I see something, I want to take photos of, it makes my skin crawl until I actually am able to do it. Traveling I love because it’s an endless source of inspiration and knowledge. Plants are a more recent interest (or obsession if I’m being honest) for so many reasons – I love the way they look, I love watching them grow, and it’s really rewarding to figure out how to make them thrive for me. I won’t touch too much on this last part, but there are studies that show organic elements indoors are powerful for happiness, productivity, and healing.

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