10 quick questions, 5 professional and 5 random, with people you should know.
“If someone asked me to take the best picture of them ever, I could do that. I make people look their best.” Jenny Hands isn’t kidding. Her portfolio of beauty portrait photography demonstrates an innate capacity to portray her subjects in the most exquisite light. From close-ups of natural, flawless skin to graphic experimentations with form and colour, Jenny’s career has been dedicated to the beautiful.
But she’s keen not to uphold typical standards of beauty. “I like shooting women for other women,” she says. “I like to be able to achieve beautiful pictures of women of any age that aren’t retouched, that aren’t messed with and that are widely accepted in the industry. I don’t think women should get old and have to worry about it. It shouldn’t have to be something that we even need to think about.”
With that in mind Jenny’s embarked on a long-term personal project that sees her shooting women of all ages in the most flattering light, confronting traditional ideas of beauty and putting women of all ages front and centre in the limelight. “Through my work I would like to influence advertising to take a better road in terms of women.”
In tandem with these noble intentions, Jenny has other, simpler creative motivations; to take fashion’s front of severity and flip it on its head, because; “fashion’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to make you feel good.”
Q. What do you love about your job and your work? What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging about the industry?
JH. I love taking pictures, as simple as that. The most challenging part of the industry is exactly that, it is a very challenging industry and hard to break into. Life is too short to be frustrated with it however, you just need to follow your own path and not look at what everyone else is doing.
Q. Best advice, personal or professional, you’ve ever gotten? What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to have your career?
JH. Have thick skin was the best advice ever given to me, you cannot please all the people all the time, just do what makes you happy and try to be happy with that. It’s hard work being on a permanent job interview, this career is not for the easily bruised, sensitive person.
Q. If you could be equally as happy in a different career, what would it be?
JH. Hmmmn , tough one, I think a gardener, I love growing things. It’s so wonderful to watch the magical cycle of seed to plant, even better when you get to eat what you grow. It’s so cool being outside all the time and being part of nature, hands in the earth and nurturing growth.
Q. What/who has been your biggest influence?
JH. I am influenced by so much, I guess you would say *life* influences me. I love variety, I am fascinated and confused by human beings, emotion is a big part of my life, how women are so many different people, the evolution of feminism, art, history, failure and progress, I love making fantasy scenarios to escape in, fantasy women to pretend to be, celebrating quirk, personality, ideas, fashion, beauty …. I love indulging myself in my imagination, you can be anyone you want up there at any given moment. Maybe I should have been an actress, maybe I still will be, an old lady character actress.
Q. Piece of art (physical, image, architecture, music…anything) that physically moved you?
JH. The more I see you- Chris Montez – I always cry when I listen to this song, it’s our song, isn’t it Mr B 🙂
Q. What song best describes you?
JH. ‘Our Day Trip’ by Nina Nastasia – everyone needs to skive off now and again.
Q. How did you meet your best friend?
JH. We had the same agent and I was sent to see *him*, the art director, we became friends over time, and then best friends, and then we had two amazing children and then we got married.
Q. Favourite City/Place in the world?
JH. Home, here in the Oxfordshire countryside with my husband and children, rain or shine, it always feels like a holiday when I am here.
Q. Would you rather be able to change the past or see into the future?
JH. Neither – no one should have that power. Learn from the past and make yourself a better future.
Q. When did you first consider yourself an adult?
JH. Who said I was an adult? I think that happens when you are around 80 or so.