What is my idea of happiness? Each moment I am fortunate to take breath, and having the ability / opportunity to work on fulfillment of all of my imaginations and make them reality.
What are the best things that I love about my work? Being my own boss has so many positive aspects. I get to set the schedule, and work on what inspires me at the moment. Everything that I do, I want to do. I do it out of love. It’s my Ikigai, or ‘scopo nella vita’ (my purpose in life).
Building my businesses and life from the ground up… even the frustrating parts and physically exhausting moments of it make me feel alive and accomplished. Being able to express myself through my actions, images, creativity, and my words… the release is necessary to feel inner fulfillment.
What is my greatest fear? Losing my eyesight, that would alter my ability to do what I am most passionate about: ‘Photographing wildlife and travel destinations’ around the globe.
What are my most marked characteristics? My independent nature, I rarely ask for help on anything. Being reliable and always on time. My word means everything to me. If I say it, you can bet it will be done!
What are the traits that I most appreciate in myself? My confidence and self motivation: I hardly ever run out of energy, and I am a ‘do it yourself’ type of person. I imagine it; then I make it happen. I thrive on being able to do everything I attempt in business, and in life.
The words I CAN’T have never been a part of my personal vocabulary.
New porch, I CAN build it. New website, I CAN create it. Flat tire, I CAN change it.
Nothing stops me. When I set my mind on something, I achieve it. I have never experienced true failure where I just give up. Obviously there is no success without plenty of failures. I just keep doing it until I get it right. I have always believed in my abilities to overcome any obstacle, and I have.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? The last few years, my lack of patience with others is definitely something I need to improve on. I get easily annoyed watching the lackadaisical efforts of people in all aspects of life. Those who do things ‘half-assed’ and never finish what they start really irritate me. So internally this bothers me. Perhaps this is why I usually choose to do things myself, and work alone in isolation. At least I know the project, or effort will be done properly, with extreme care, and to the highest of standards possible. I see myself a perfectionist: Sometimes it’s a blessing, other times it seems a curse.
If I could, what would I change about myself? Maybe my sense of humor, I’m the only one who usually laughs at my jokes, but then… I’m usually the only person in the room. See how bad that was, you’re not laughing are you? Bad jokes aside, I would learn how: not to be such a loner. I always preferred the company of animals, over humans, even as a child. As an introvert, I’ve never been a very social person and I wasn’t very popular in my youth. Perhaps it was my joke telling?
On what occasion would I lie? I don’t feel sugar coating, or little lies are beneficial to anybody. I would rather have a harsh truth (reality), than to have someone lie to me to spare my feelings. Tell me like it is… straightforward and honestly. I can’t grow from lies, nor can I heal my wounds. I need truth! And you’ll get the same from me.
When and where was I the happiest in my work? Right now… today. Watching my dedication and efforts materialize into what I imagined is the best feeling!
What is my greatest extravagances? Travel and camera equipment
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, or partner in crime? I feel the nameless supporters who have purchased my images, and image products over the years ARE my greatest fans. I am truly grateful for each and every one of them.
Where would I most like to live? I’m already living here. I live on top of a mountain, with a spectacular view in my own perennial garden paradise in the Great Smoky Mountains. When I first visited North Carolina, I felt like I was coming home, though I had never been before. That is why I eventually moved here.
Of all the countries I have traveled, Italy had the same magical pull for me… I would love to have a home there too! Or at least visit more often so I can research my heritage. It’s one of my favorite countries!
What is my most treasured possession? My home is where my heart is. The knowledge that I will always have a roof over my head, that no one can take from me…. It’s like a security blanket, it is very comforting. I can travel the world and no matter how long I’m away, I’ll always have a home base with all its familiarities and comforts. I understand the saying ‘There is no place like home’… for me this rings true.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? My home: The peace and serenity I have created here…. silence from the outside world, listening to the birds & frogs, and the sounds from the nearby creek while surrounded by flowers and nature. It’s perfect place to work and gaze out of my office window.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? Before or after COVID? It’s been a while since I ventured out for dining.
What books influenced my life and how? The ‘book of life’ has been my biggest influencer. I learned most everything of importance from ‘hands on experience’ and real life, not from books. Honestly… I have never been a big reader with exception to plenty of romance novels in my early 20’s. I have hundreds of books, though most of them are reference as I do a lot of documentation on travel, species, and creatures. The last book I read from beginning to end was National Geographic – Complete Birds of North America. It’s 700 pages – Does that make me nerdy?
The last book I purchased was political – Proof of Corruption by Seth Abramson. It just arrived, so I have yet to start it. But I’m sure it will be a great eye opener and have detailed references to our current situation in America.
What is my greatest achievement in work? Surprisingly to myself, when I built my own website to the ‘exact’ of what I envisioned after professionals told me I couldn’t get all the features I wanted on my budget. Sorry… unacceptable answer! The finished product is perfect and was ‘extremely’ under budget! Never tell me it can’t be done, I’ll prove you wrong!
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Those that get paid assignments to do what they love (EX: National Geographic explorers). In fairness to myself, I haven’t tried to yet. Perhaps I will in the future when I’m ready to make that leap. But for now, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I’m not complaining… life is pretty amazing as it is.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I love music and my tastes are very diverse, but I like the ‘sounds of nature’ the best. So this would be my first choice. But if I had to choose musicians: anything by Keith Urban or Christina Aguilera.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction (movie)? As I don’t have a heroine from books, I chose a movie instead. The character Laura Croft from ‘Tomb Raider’… she’s beautiful, smart, a bad ass, wants to save the world, and rich. What’s not to admire!
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My mom is a true heroine in my eyes – I know… everyone says that. As a single mother, she was a real role model and a figure of strength for me. She taught and showed me how to be a strong and independent woman. I think I inherited her determination, drive, and strong will too. She showed me women can do anything a man can, and not to let anything defeat you. Her lessons…. They have been the bedrock of my entire life. I wouldn’t be the ‘me’ I am today without those valuable traits and the selfless sacrifices she made for us. I’m truly grateful to her.
All those who tirelessly work to make a difference for people and animals that have no voice, and for the planet we all share. Animals shelters, animal rights activists, environmentalists… this list is long, these people are TRUE HEROES!
In general: ordinary people who listen and follow their hearts and create a better world around them without motive, or payment. Those that do what is right, even when no one is watching.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Why just once? Any great movie should be watched a multiple of times. I don’t have a favorite, but I have a few I love to watch repeatedly. Antwone Fisher, The Blind Side, Notebook, Dances with Wolves, Gladiator, Celtic Pride, Airheads, ED TV are just some that I always enjoy no matter how many times I’ve seen them. A great movie touches on your emotions, the same way art does. If they can tug on your heart strings, bring tears to your eyes, or bring you uncontrollable laughter over and over again… that’s a great movie worthy of watching.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ mean to me? I have control over my own destiny. We each have the ability to write our own novels, each chapter from beginning to the end. If you aren’t happy with the way it’s developing, just turn the page and rewrite it. I create how my story will end.
What role art plays in my life and work? It’s an obsessed role… it’s all I want to do each day when I’m awake. I feel a deep desire to express myself, whether in words or in images.
What project, in 2020-21, am I looking forward to work on? Since Covid-19 has altered traveling, I plan on sticking to the states for the next few adventures. While I haven’t figured out the all the details yet, photographing the wild horses of North Carolina coast is likely my next project. I’ll start putting it together soon.
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2021? Not one specific person, but I love admiring other photographer’s works, and learning from them. When I see an amazing image, I can’t help but read up on everything I loved about the shot. The location, the camera settings, and the artist themselves. This has significantly helped me grow in my own efforts over the years. I may go to the same location and try to create a masterpiece myself that can live up to theirs. Their work inspires me!
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? In this business, most photographers and their efforts aren’t really respected, or paid fair wages. STOCK websites have destroyed that for us. They only want to give us ‘pennies’ for our hard earned images, which has led to a domino effect of negativity for the photography world. In many cases, they don’t even want your images signed, and they make you sign waivers so companies don’t have to acknowledge your work when they do license them. Hardly any want to pay you respectable royalties anymore because they can get them for practically nothing in today’s stock image market.
When considering entering contests for ‘exposure’ in popular magazines (internet as well), the companies require you to sign away your rights of image to them in order to enter. While you still retain ownership of image, they can use your image in any way they want, without compensation to you. Most entrants don’t read the small print, and likely don’t even know it.
Locally – Establishments want you to hang your work on their walls for free, instead of them buying your art at a fair price. Of all the respected ‘businesses for profit’ out there (from trades – retail -advertisement and everything in between)…. Photography is the one everybody wants, but doesn’t want to pay for.
It’s all quite frustrating to me.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021? None for this year, perhaps in the not so distant future I will work towards a company who would like to license my images, hire me for an excursion, to sponsor me, or even to write a publication in a popular photography magazine. I’ve got enough on my plate to keep me busy right now.
What do the words ‘The Financial Freedom to Create’ mean to me? The ability to TRAVEL more, write more, & explore more!
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? That doing what you are inspired to do, will never end. There will never be retirement from passion! It’s impossible, only in death will I stop this journey I am on.
Where can you see my work? On my photography website and blog www.jenniferrobin.gallery
How can you contact me? https://jenniferrobin.gallery/contact/
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Thank you for the opportunity to be included in The Heroine’s Journey. It is an honor!