The sisterhood of the traveling scarfA knit purple scarf has recently finished its trip across the country, from Washington to Florida with nine stops in between.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
A knit purple scarf has recently finished its trip across the country, from Washington to Florida with nine stops in between.
Jenny Cook, a professional photographer from Silver Bay, received a package containing the scarf months ago. After opening the parcel, she photographed her infant niece Addilyn with the scarf draped over her shoulders. Then, she packed it up and sent it along to its next stop.
The photographs are now in an online gallery as a part of “From Her Lens,” a project involving 11 women photographers, most of whom have never met in real life.
“It’s kind of like our own little child,” Cook said.
The project was a photographer’s take on “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.” The women shipped the same purple scarf to each person in the group. When she received the scarf in the mail, the woman would photograph it however she wished and send it along to the next photographer. The results were diverse.
In addition to Cook’s pictures of her niece, one photographer styled the scarf as a headband on a dark-haired young woman. Another woman took tasteful boudoir photographs, with the purple scarf serving as a pop of color. The photos all have their own noticeable style and are unique in their use of the scarf. Cook said seeing the creativity of her fellow photographers has motivated her.
“It is really inspiring. It kind of gives me a better perspective on photography,” Cook said.
Cook said she dove headfirst into professional photography–her first paid gig was a wedding, one of the most difficult assignments for a photographer.
“It was on a wing and a prayer and it all worked out fine. I didn’t even know enough to be nervous,” the 32-year-old North Shore native said.
She no longer photographs time-intensive weddings, but her portrait business is flourishing. It’s only a part-time gig–she works during the day as an administrative assistant for Lake County–and she said she can’t find time for all the work she is asked to do.
“It’s unreal the amount of people who come to me,” she said.
Her interest in photography started after the birth of her first son, Tucker, now 7. She bought her first high-quality camera to take pictures of him and later her second son, Levi, 3. She started a blog to post her pictures and people started noticing–that’s when she was asked to do the wedding. Things grew from there.
“I never planned to have a business,” Cook said, but for the past five years, her business in Silver Bay has been booming. While she said she loves putting so much time and energy into Jenny Cook Photography, she began to feel burnt out.
“I got kind of drained professionally, just doing it for everyone else,” she said.
“From Her Lens” has changed that, she said.
After connecting with other photographers through Facebook for years and eventually becoming a part of a network of about 25 women, Cook said she’s only met one of her online colleagues in real life, but the diverse group chats regularly, sharing ideas about photography and their businesses. About six months ago, one of the women suggested the “From Her Lens” project to bring the group closer together.
Jaime Cox, a North Carolina photographer who is also from Silver Bay, is part of the group, too.
“I think it was refreshing to do something I wanted to do. It was just about me,” Cox, 33, said of the project. Her photos feature a young girl wearing the scarf around her head.
Much like Cook, Cox said her kids, Naydine, 8 and Dane, 6, were her impetus for starting photography, which accidentally blossomed into a business. Her husband Eli’s work for the military sent them to North Carolina, where she found a niche for her work and a number of appreciative clients. She said “From Her Lens” has been a lot of fun, but she’s most grateful for the camaraderie of moms-turned-photographers all over the country.
“I really love how all of us girls have pulled together and we’re actually friends. It’s been nice to just make some new friends and be supportive of each other,” Cox said.
Cook said their second prop, a vintage sheet, is almost done making the rounds. The photographers will reveal the images once everyone’s had her turn.
The purple scarf photographs can be viewed at www.fromherlens.com. You can also follow the project at www.facebook.com/fromherlens.