What a pleasure to be mentored by the fabulous Jess Vastola! I have been following her emotive and beautiful work for quite some time, and when I heard she was coming to the Houston area, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of her workshop and study under her. She is a down-to-earth artist, an open book, and was so easy to learn from. It was great learning from her, and also making new friends who have becoming supports and encouragers in our little group. I especially love that her encouragement didn’t stop after the workshop; she has continued to be an inspiration and help in the areas that I want to grow in.
Jess got her start photographing newborns about five years ago, and says “My journey into photography is not a profound story, but I have loved it for as far back as I can remember. I loved photographing flowers, birds, and landscapes, and received my first film SLR when I was nineteen. I use to take notes about my settings so I could compare, and make them perfect.” She had a daughter in 2012, and wanted to document her growing up years, but wasn’t sold on the newborn aspect. Her first session went less than ideally, and she laughs, “It was awful! I didn’t know what I was doing, it wasn’t warm enough, and I didn’t know enough about light in my space. I didn’t quit though, I just knew I had to learn more. I spent hours and hours researching, and became obsessed with everything posed newborns…I probably drove my family crazy!” Mentoring played an important role in her own life, and she says “I can’t really stress enough how important it is to have an in-person mentorship. There is nothing like a real baby and a hands-on experience. You can watch videos all you want, but feeling and seeing things in person really does change everything. When I am teaching, the safety of these little lives is so important, and so looking for cues from the baby is very helpful. I fully expect to learn and grow with every session!”
Find Jess on Facebook HERE.
(All images courtesy Buffalo Baby Photography and are used with permission)