The MISSBISH Photography Workshop | Jeannette Lee
Photographer: Jeannette Lee
Location: I’m based in Los Angeles. I moved here three years ago and I’m still learning and discovering something new about the city on a daily basis. I’m also a teacher by day, which is extremely rewarding but also draining. Photography has been a constructive outlet, and the city makes it easy for me to explore mediums of creativity like photography. I probably wouldn’t be shooting at all if I weren’t in LA.
How did you get into photography? Tell us about your first experience.
To be honest, my entry into photography started with my first iPhone right after college paired with Instagram. Social media provided me with a platform to harmlessly experiment. By the time I got my first film camera, which was only a few years ago, I wasn’t sure my “skills” would translate. Shooting on film is not at all like shooting with a phone, but the intuition and eye you have as a shooter remains the same regardless.
Tell us about your gear, what camera do you use? What lenses do you prefer? Post-editing?
I use point and shoot film cameras. The first one I bought was an Olympus Infinity that I found for $5 at the Pasadena Flea. I’ve since upgraded to an Olympus Stylus. I also steal my boyfriend’s cameras like his Canon AE-1. I also rarely edit because what’s the point of shooting film then?
Tell us about your style of photography. How did you develop this style and what do you enjoy shooting the most?
I’m pretty open when I shoot and strive to capture images differently based on the subject. In general, though, I never like an overly produced or staged image. Whatever I’m shooting, I aim to capture the in-between moments; the shots between the frames that occur naturally as if it was a behind the scenes moment. I’m still pretty new to photography as I only picked up my first film camera a few years ago, so I consider myself an amateur who is still learning and ever evolving.
Photography is all about capturing that moment. What’s the secret?
Don’t force it and be patient. And always look for good light. Everything else is up to your intuition.
Tell us the story behind one of the most memorable photos you’ve shot…
One of my most memorable photos was a complete mistake on my end. I was shooting a lookbook in Malibu and like the amateur I am, I exposed the roll because I thought the film had already wound up (it hadn’t). I was so upset with myself and thought I ruined a roll, but to my surprise and relief, the exposed shots were my favorite. That’s the best part about film – you kind of hold your breath for the result.
What is a constant source of inspiration for you as a photographer?
The people I interact with directly and indirectly on a daily basis, the neighborhood I live in, and the students I teach.
Who has been a great influence or mentor to you and what did you learn from them that you still carry with you today?
As a photographer, my boyfriend is the one who encouraged me to pick up my first film camera and go for it. He’s taught me to slow down and be deliberate when I shoot which is something I needed to learn to do not just in photography but also in my personal life. Expediency is my greatest weakness so shooting is always a practice in being more intentional.
Tell us three photography tips.
1. Have fun – it’s the only way to capture the best photos.
2. Don’t worry about following rules – find your style and go with it and experiment to see where it takes your work.
3. Embrace mistakes – when you’re shooting film, there are going to be moments you expose a roll or catch someone with their eyes closed. It’s okay! Keep shooting.
Finish the sentence...
If I weren’t afraid I would... start a podcast. I even have a name and theme for it, but I just can’t seem to overcome my fear of public speaking!
I wouldn't be where I am today if... my mom didn’t model independence and strength.
I've been listening to... classical music. My commutes to and from work can be road rage inducing to say the least but classical music has been the key to my sanity.
Kids these days... need more opportunities to have their voices heard. I teach third graders and they’re smarter than most adults I know. Also a lot funnier.
I look and feel my best when... I work out! I’ve been learning how important it is to treat your body right. It’s my form of self-care.
When no one is looking I... eat a lot of Hot Cheetos. They’re my weakness.
Traveling... is something I promise to do more of this year. After I get my passport.
I respect... individuals who serve others.
I would recommend interviewing... @alexadela_cruz. She takes beautiful photographs and just launched her own business.
If I were to ask him/her a photography related question, I would want to know... how do you do it all?! You’re a mother, an amazing photographer, and businesswoman. You inspire me.