We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Dory and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I always wanted to work in a creative field. As a child I was extremely shy, but I loved art and realized it was a way I could express myself. I have a Bachelor of Fine Art from 2oo1 which was right before the digital age really started. I loved photography but there was a lot more physical labor involved in the process.
I spent a long time working in the service industry where I spent 20 years (off and on) working for the Mercury Cafe in Denver. I love interacting with people and getting to be part of the community. Over this time I worked as a server, bartender, chef, baker, wedding coordinator and social media manager. I have a really varied skill set that I feel like helps me to be a good photographer.
I started my business, Rabbit & Fox Photography, in 2018 after consulting with my neighbor who is a career counselor. I was ready to progress to something different and just couldn’t figure out what. I spent a year doing research, purchasing camera gear, taking online and in-person classes and doing portfolio building sessions and building my website.
Creating a real functioning business has been challenging but rewarding – there have been a lot of times when self-doubt has crept in, but the act of continuing onward is growth filled. I’m not 100% where I want to be yet, but I am trying to play the long game and stay patient. I have three kids at home all the time and my husband works full time so my biggest challenge since the pandemic started has literally been just not having enough time.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love creating images with lots of emotion and connection. I really love documentary photography and getting to capture real life moments for families. I think that my shyness growing up gave me the ability to really see people. I think this act of “seeing” others is fundamental to what makes me a good photographer. I have figured out how to be a ‘functional introvert’ as an adult and I really enjoy connecting with the families that I work with!
As a family, birth & newborn photographer, my experience of giving birth to and raising three humans is really helpful. I have pretty much seen it all when it comes to kids – mine are 3, 5 and 14 so nothing really surprises me at this point. It’s helpful during sessions because I can reassure parents that everything is ok, and I have a silly sense of humor so I definitely lean on that when things aren’t going according to plan. Crying babies, toddlers having a moment and teens don’t scare me. I have a lot of real life experience to draw on.
As far as birth photography, all my children were born at home with midwives, so I feel like I have a really deep understanding and reverence for the birth process. I love attending births and it’s such an honor to be present to capture these moments. It is such difficult, vulnerable work that mom is doing, but also the most rewarding. There is truly nothing like the first moment you finally hold your baby. Being able to preserve the time leading up to that moment as well as the first few moments of the life of a new human is a really amazing feeling. I also love documenting the way mom is supported by her partner and birth team and the first interactions with siblings.
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?
I grew up in Colorado and lived in Denver all through my twenties, with a few years up in Boulder County. Now that I have kids the things we do are mostly family oriented. Also the pandemic has changed so much of what we do. However, Sunday Brunch at the Mercury Cafe is always a good one. It’s part of Denver history and it’s fun and eclectic, and is perfect for larger groups and families.
We have really been enjoying Levitt Pavillion and it’s another great place to take kids. I like the High-Dive, the Larimer Lounge and the Oriental theater for music without kids. Art at Redline, the Denver Art Museum or Santa Fe First Friday is always fun. El Taco de Mexico for a Chile Relleno Burrito. Late night at Pete’s Kitchen, the Breakfast King, or Charlie Brown’s. And of course Casa Bonita (looks like they are closing?!)
We love all the big city parks and the Botanic Gardens is good too. We love the Highline Canal that runs all around South Denver and Littleton. A day trip up to Boulder, Golden or Evergreen is a nice way to get out of the city for a day. We love hot springs so that is a family trip we usually do a couple times a year. Pandemic activities this summer included time at a secret creek spot that we found, riding around on our electric bike, (named Elsa,) and a regular socially distanced backyard hangout with four of my longtime women friends.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Tina Hagerling is a long time photographer in Denver. In the very beginning she consulted with me about camera gear, looked at my work and gave me the confidence to move forward! Tina has been a concert photographer for a long time and is doing a really cool Pandemic Portrait Project that we got to be included in so that was really fun.
Gina Gerboth of Metro Midwifery was my midwife for two of my births and she allowed me the chance to connect with her current clients to build my portfolio and get started with birth photography. It was so much fun to attend births with her. The first time I attended a birth as a photographer I was just blown away by the energy in the room and was hooked.
Marilyn Megenity, the owner of the Mercury Cafe, was my long time employer and mentor. I grew up so much over my many years at the Mercury and she is someone I have such a deep love and respect for. I still help manage the social media for the Mercury Cafe and send out the newsletter. The pandemic has been so challenging for restaurants but she has shown me that resilience and persistence can do a lot! Plus the love and support of a strong community.
Jessica Dory – Rabbit & Fox Photography