My book is so beautiful it makes me cry! The gorgeous cover and inside “beauty” shots were all styled and shot by local photographer, Jayme Burns. I thought it would be fun to look at her motivations as an artist and share some of her luscious photos with you all, so I set up this little photographer interview with her!
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, where to start. I’m 31, from Louisbourg Nova Scotia. I love art in all forms and spend many hours researching styles, techniques and generally Ooo’ing and Ahhh’ing at others work. I’m currently obsessed with Charmaine Olivia’s paintings and the photography of Brooke Shaden. I’m a self proclaimed cat lady, coffee lover and music addict. I currently have Ed Sheeran on a constant loop while I work. But will forever be a Blind Melon fan.
Where is home?
I’m currently living in Truro, Nova Scotia (my birthplace). But I’m a bit of a gypsy. I crave change and new experiences so I tend to move a lot. But when I refer to ‘Home’ it’s most certainly Cape Breton.
How long have you been a photographer?
What does photography mean to you?
For me, photography is about capturing a moment. I have a terrible memory so photography has been a way for me to document important events in my life, and ultimately other people’s important memories.
How would you describe your style?
I would call my style Fine Art Lifestyle. I like a punchy color pallet, contrasty and animated. I like to create joyous images.
Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many things I can’t say there’s one thing that drives me. I always had a love for fairy tales, nature and the ultra feminine, so ultimately these are elements that catch my eye. I often find inspiration in artwork I admire. There’s a painter, Charmaine Olivia, from San Francisco that I’ve been obsessed with for a few years now. Her work speaks to me on many levels. For instance, I created this image based on a series she created based on roses and the female form. I had a different vision of the end product but that’s okay. I let my decisions flow naturally while I create (for fine art). It’s an outlet.
Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
I don’t know that I want to say anything exactly with my work. I have these creative urges, sometimes just to document something beautiful, sometimes it’s to get an idea out of my head and into a tangible thing I can see or hold. Sometimes it’s to answer a question for myself or playout a day dream I might have created around a specific location.
Can you share some of your favourite Jayme Burns photos with us?
Sure! A lot of what I’ve shot over the past 5 years has been portraiture. Lots of weddings and family photo sessions. So most of these will stem from those sessions.
What inspires or motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
My motivation lately has definitely been of an economical standpoint. I love photography but it’s absolutely been the reason I’ve picked up my camera over the last few years. I’m planning on taking a step back from it after this year. Try and recharge my passion and rediscover it for myself again.
What was your career path?
How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it for a living? A lot of determination and struggle. I worked very, very hard to get to the point I’m at right now. It’s not my ‘bread and butter’ but it certainly plays a factor in my over financial situation. I started out shooting for family and friends, charging very little. But the moment things got real was when I moved back to Cape Breton (I was living in Halifax and Calgary for a few years). A close friend who was involved in the art scene put me in touch with an organization called Coastal Art, it was a collaborative group of artists, photographers, painters, film makers who we’re looking to gain exposure. From there I got involved with the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design where I made a lot of connections and got to work with other artisans. I learned a lot about promotion, honing your craft and the different opportunities available in my community. Not long after that I began building a client base and I’ve been shooting steady ever since. Cape Breton welcomed me in with open arms and really supported me.
How did you get into product photography?
Actually it’s funny, most of the product photography I had done was limited to what I did in College. When I was brought in as a member of CBCC+D I was contracted to do some product photography for them, as well as a number of local artisans. That was really it. Since then I’ve shot for a few small companies. I really enjoy it to be honest. I’m able to take my time, experiment with light and arrangements. I love working with people, I find it really energizing and I like the spontaneity that comes along with that. But with product photography, it’s almost zen like for me, very focused and quiet. I enjoy it.
What was your first thought when you were asked to do the beauty shots – and the cover! – of the Freeform Wire Art Jewelry book? I was elated! I love your work and I immediately was flooded with a dozen ideas of how to showcase your jewelry. Your work directly relates to a lot of the themes I have in my portfolio. Recycling things that someone discarded, making it beautiful again. Bright colors and interesting textures and patterns. I honestly couldn’t wait to get started.
What’s your favourite shot from the book? Well, to be honest I haven’t seen the book yet, but I think my favorite shot was of a piece done in labradorite that I photographed on top of a pile of agate and other purple and blue hued gemstones. I love a rich color pallet and I was really happy with how that shot came together.
Are you pleased with the book shoot(s)?
I really am! You gave me a lot of creative freedom and I appreicated that. I got to stretch my creative legs and really experiment. I think we created a really beautiful book that I’m DYING to see!
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I do a lot of research. There’s a number of photographers that I admire and I study how they work. I’ll also watch old black and white films, paying attention to how things are lit. I also have lots of reference material to go to in my library if I want to review a technique. It’s so important to keep learning now skills. It just makes you better.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
How to use a flash. My god, the difference in my work once I figured that out! I certainly don’t use it all the time now, but at the time, I would have really benefitted having nailed that skill down.
What makes the good picture stand out from the average?
For me, it’s a combination of a few things, not every photo has all of these but it should have 3 of the 4.
- Sharp: Nothing can spoil a photo like poor focusing. With that said, I have a few shots that are not super sharp, but every other element was undeniable and I’ll keep it.
- Color: the color has to be correct, or add to the feel of the image. I always change the color of my shots, I prefer a bright, warm image so I tend to lean towards warmer color pallets.
- Emotion:It doesn’t have to be oozing with emotion, but my favorite shots tend to be moments where the subject is really engaged.
- Composition: Nothing will ruin a shot faster for me than one where the composition is weak. Paying attention to your surroundings when composing a shot is so very important.