We had the good fortune of connecting with Jes Kimak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jes, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I got my masters in Social Work and work as a mental health therapist as well as doing photography and yoga teaching on the side. I am also a foster mom and when I got a placement that did not work with my 9-5 schedule I knew I had to take the leap. Three weeks before the pandemic arose I decided to go full force into photography and pray that it worked. I knew I needed freedom to pick up kiddo from school and make all of her appointments. I also was severely burnt out giving so much energy to my therapy clients. Photography lights me up and I get to connect to my clients in a way that bring so much joy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have had the hardest time calling myself an artist. I am a very logical mathematical individual but I also love human connection. As a mental health therapist most of my career, I know how to create authentic connection and trust. I love being able to make women, moms feel beautiful, for children to feel like their parents are really enjoying time with them. Photo shoots can be difficult for small children to understand but I like to play games, sing songs, encourage laughter. If after a shoot someone says “that was fun” my job is done. To me the art of my job is not the photo but creating the experience for the client. To get to where I am was not easy. I am a single foster parent so taking risks is hard. I have a mortgage and mouths to feed so I don’t want to put any of that lightly. I very much made sure when I made the “leap” there were lots of soft places to fall. Luckily so far so good. I have lived a lot of my early 20s waiting. Waiting to have a partner to fall back on. When that didn’t happen I had to decide do I do it on my own or keep waiting. Im not very good at waiting. So I did it. I want others to know that I know the images we see are not always what is going on behind the scenes. I want to create real authentic images and have real connection. I don’t expect perfection from anyone let alone a 3 year old. I want them to know I am right there in it. I probably was crying that morning over whether or not to let my kiddo watch more Youtube or not.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Coming from New Jersey I have shown many peeps and family around this beautiful state. I for sure first take them to the Mts. If I am going to take days off that is the first place to go. I am a bit of a hot springs tourist. So far my fav to go to is Hot Sulpher springs just because I have a little airbnb that you can walk to the Springs and it is great on a budget. There is also a very surprisingly gourmet restaurant in the very small town The Dean Public House that I hope makes it through the pandemic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The River Yoga Studio. I started out as a student and am currently a teacher there but to be honest it is where my photography took off. My friend Madison asked if I wanted to trade photos for yoga. I was terrified and doubted I was good enough for anything like that but I thought, “hey if she believes I can she must see something I can’t quite yet” Some of the shoots were hard and tested my abilities but they were so kind and I kept at it. So many of my families I photograph today can be traced back to someone from the River. I continue to take photos for Yoga on the Rocks and their teachers graduations and content for social media. I am so grateful for their encouragement and connections.
Jes Kimak Photography