Portrait photographer Jenna Barrett is passionate about photographing people. Finding what is unique and beautiful in her subjects inspires her to translate those qualities into photographs for others to see.
Barrett has traveled the world and describes herself as “a bit of a wanderer.” She attributes that spirit to growing up in a military family and moving from place to place. For Barrett, that life was an adventure encouraging her to look forward to each new experience. Even now, she says, she finds herself dreaming of the world around her, ready to begin a fresh new quest. That drive has sent Barrett to Africa where she has observed lions in their natural habitat, put her on boats that have sailed tumultuous seas, and placed her on glaciers she has climbed to reach icy caves at the top.
Traveling has taught Barrett that “the world is a beautiful place and beauty is worth capturing.” She believes that whether one’s passion is painting, sculpting, photography, or sidewalk drawing, inspiration to create comes from everywhere.
Despite all the exotic places Barrett has visited, the beauty she most wants to capture is that which exists in people. To do so, she is involved in every step of the portrait process, including designing costumes, scouting locations, constructing props, and sometimes doing hair and makeup. The attention to detail in Barrett’s studies is evident when you look at the work she has created for her company, Anthem in Art Photography. Whether it is fashion photography or artistic photography, Barrett’s subjects are enhanced by the meticulous details she includes.
Creating art through photography is second nature to Barrett. It is an extension of who she is and something she has to do. Just as important to her, is giving back to the community. She has worked with and donated her art to a number of different philanthropic organizations involved with eliminating world hunger, assisting with disaster relief, and providing assistance to victims. Specific charities Barrett has worked with include Fashion Cures Kids and The Women’s Home.
CKW LUXE is proud to feature Jenna Barrett’s photography on the cover and inside this edition of our magazine. Her work represents the strength and beauty that lives within us all. The photo shoot contained in our pages was done exclusively for us. CKW LUXE has always been proud to feature images of strong women, and Barrett’s photographs for us continue that tradition. It was a pleasure to talk to her about the images and gain some insight into them.
CKW LUXE: Please tell our readers what inspired and compelled you to do this particular photo shoot.
Jenna Barrett: I am always inspired by the ocean, and I feel a strong connection to it. I was in Africa about ten years ago and we were on the wild coast. I climbed out on some rocks over the sea, and there was an older man sitting on them. He told me some amazing stories about the sea. He also said, if you slowed down and waited you could feel the waves like they were the heartbeat of the earth. That imagery has been with me ever since. Whenever I’m near the sea, I feel calmer and more at peace. I have also been on the ocean with nothing around for hundreds of miles. It’s the most serene feeling I have ever experienced. These feelings are what inspired me to create my series of underwater photos, which I call the Serenity Series.
CKW: Were there any challenges unique to this shoot? If so, can you tell us what they were and how you overcame them?
JB: There were definitely challenges to creating this shoot. First of all, I don’t scuba dive, so there was no way I could actually go underwater and do it! As much as I love the ocean, I have never been able to dive, despite my efforts. About six feet beneath the surface I have a serious panic attack. I also don’t have any underwater housing for my camera. I had to come up with a way to create these photos out of the water and make them look as if they were actually taken underwater. This required a lot of creativity and attention to detail!
CKW: You have traveled the world and experienced many different cultures. Have those experiences influenced your art? If so, can you give us a specific example?
JB: I would say that all my travels, and each of the places I’ve been, have absolutely influenced my art. Art is such a personal thing to the artist. It is our expression of how we see the world, so everything we experience affects it immensely. I grew up travelling, as my father was in the army, and I’ve been to Europe, much of Africa, Norway, the Caribbean, all over North America, and most of the fifty states. The places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met have been incredible. I wouldn’t even be a photographer were it not for the first DSLR camera I purchased before one of my trips. I believe that seeing the world and experiencing other cultures allows you to grow in your creativity. The architecture, the fashion, the people, the jewelry, the colors, the lifestyles—they are all different everywhere you go. The more you see, the more you can use those memories to create beautiful images.
It is Barrett’s hope that she can bring beauty and inspiration to the lives of people everywhere through her art and through her philanthropic work. For her, life is a magical mosaic of adventures, and she relishes all the challenges and possibilities it brings her way.