Jen Jones, a staple in the Hood River action photography scene has spearheaded now two season of mini episodes
Colleen: Hi Jen! Can you please introduce yourself to our kitesista readers…
Jen: Hey KiteSista! I’m a water loving entrepreneur, chasing dreams since 85’, waves since 2004 and wind since 2012. I started shooting kiting when I moved here about 4 years ago and almost by fluke have created opportunities in the industry that I could have never imagined.
Colleen: How long have you been shooting and what inspired you to first get behind the lens?
Jen: I feel lucky that I fell in love photography when I was a senior in high school… The process of developing photos in a darkroom was terribly romantic and I had a feeling that taking photos was something that I could see the world with and potentially make a living at the same time. After attaining a degree in graphic design, I took a chance at pursuing both as a freelancer.
I practically didn’t even know what kiteboarding was until the summer of 2011. I shot the Ro’Sham Throwdown that year as a spectator on the beach, which ended up getting me the job to shoot the competition the following summer.
Colleen: You’ve been shooting kiteboarding for a few years now, how does this differ from the other subjects you shoot on a regular basis?
Jen: I love shooting kiteboarding, mostly because how difficult it can be to get a really good shot. Anyone who’s spent time in the Gorge can tell you how amazing yet unpredictable the conditions can be. Nearly everyday there’s an opportunity to kite (or shoot kiting), but it’s all about scoring steady winds, beautiful light and lining up schedules with my pro-athlete friends. You really have to work for it, so when everything comes together it feels pretty awesome.
Colleen: If you had to chose just one, what would you say is your favorite thing to shoot?
Jen: I honestly love shooting athletes (or any human, really) in a “lifestyle” atmosphere. Of course it’s fun to get that banger action shot, but to create a comfortable environment where someone can be vulnerable enough to express their personality in front of my lens gives me goosebumps.
Colleen: You have recently come on board with The Kiteboarder Magazine as Art Director. Tell us a bit about this move…
Jen: Talk about everything in perfect timing! Being offered this job is true testament to how I managed to survive as a freelancer for over 6 years (and counting).
We had just shot a pilot for the series “Where the Wind Blows” last summer, and with nothing to loose I pitched Brendan Richards (TKB editor) a story about the project. Skipping over a few details and fast forwarding 9 months, I accepted the job.
It’s really exciting working for a print magazine in this digital age. The Kiteboarder has been around for 11 years and I’m honored to be given the responsibility to not only keep it going, but to take it to the next level. We’re a small team at TKB and it takes all hands on deck to pump out a publication every season. I think we get stronger every issue and I’m excited to see where I can take TKB and where this experience will take me.
Colleen: “Where the Wind Blows” is now in it’s second season, did you ever imagine the project would go to such lengths?
Jen: (Smiling)… no way, Jose. This project is a heartfelt collaboration of everyone a part of it. Of course I believed it in, but it’s created a momentum stronger than I could have hoped and I think our team’s growing friendships have a lot to do with the success. We really do enjoy going on adventures together. Even though our shooting windows can be ridiculously small, everyone brings their A-game and best vibes along for the ride. It could be pretty stressful, but instead seems to get easier as we go.
On a side note – It’s amazing to see how much everyone evolved in 1 year. From the girls riding abilities to our team’s cinematography and production skills… I believe we all stepped it up another notch this year.
Colleen: What do we have to look forward to for this new season of the web series?
Jen: I’m super stoked to be releasing another full length episode featuring all of the leading ladies : Colleen Carroll, Sensi Graves, Lindsay McClure and Laura Maher. Following our healthy living and sustainability theme, the episode takes a deeper look into clean energy and the girls experience a once in a lifetime opportunity, on camera.
Secondly, we’re releasing “selects” of each individual kite sista. In these shorter segments, we dive further into the lives of each woman and reveal some personal and empowering details of what their up to, in and outside of kiteboarding.
Colleen: Your other half is also the lead cinematographer of the project, how is it working together professionally?
Jen: Call me biased, but Wiley Watson of Red Tide Pictures is great. We’ve been working along side one another longer than we’ve been a pair and most of the time it feels seamless. We both have high expectations of our own and each others work, which is inspiring and continuously motivating. Sometimes we might step on each others toes a little bit, but most of the time we work great as a team – he shoots the video, I get the stills, high fives and tasty dinners follow a hard days work.
(He’s typically the only male addition to our 5 lady production team. This may have it’s challenges, but he rarely complains.)
Colleen: Any other exciting projects hidden up your sleeves?
Jen: I’m about to hit the road for winter travels. Kicking it off with a personal trip to India, where I’ll experience surf culture there and perhaps work on my photo journalism skills. Following that, I head to Baja and we have another TKB production cycle for the Winter 2015 issue. After that is open for opportunities!
The WTWB girls are packing their bags for the travels season as well and we’re casually throwing around the possibility of meeting up in a warm and windy location….. but I can’t let the cat out of that bag yet ;0)
Colleen: Parting Words?
Jen: Thanks so much for taking interest in my passions! I’m thrilled to spread the KiteSista love and appreciate how women in this sport lift each other up up up. Keep it going, ladies!
Written by Colleen Carroll