Mary Akers: Hi, Jenn. We were thrilled that you agreed to illustrate this issue of r.kv.r.y. I’ve been a fan of your work for several years now and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to share your /images with our readers. One of the things that I love most about your photographs is the richness of color and the depth that your /images achieve. Do you also feel these are some of the strengths in your work? What do you feel makes your work so unique, so fresh?
Jenn Rhubright: Well first of all, Mary…a resounding thank you for your compliments on my work! It’s funny, photography is so instinctive for me. I honestly have a hard time not really knowing what makes it unique or intriguing to other people. All I know is that I like what I see, I take a picture of it, and 92% of the time I like the end result of said picture. I was a writer for many years before picking up a camera so to be able to tell a story, or more importantly, for other people to be able to create their own story, from one of my /images…is…in a word: rad.
MA: Yes, I love that confluence. This whole issue came together beautifully, thanks to your unifying /images. Was there one poem or essay or story that especially stood out for you, or tugged at some part of your creative brain?
JR: Yes. Carrying The Day by Sylvia Hoffmire. Partly because I recently adopted my son, Aiden James, so of course the topic hit home for me. But more than that, it was Hoffmire’s incredible imagery combined with the multiple levels of emotion conveyed in a short piece of writing that impressed me. She’s got mad skills, I’ll definitely be looking out for more of her work.
MA: I’m a big fan of Sylvia Hoffmire’s work, too. And along those lines, I’ve long felt that one of the reasons art is a deeply moving experience for people is because they take it in and make it their own–ascribe to it some part of their own personal history, if you will. And I think we sometimes work very hard to do this when we view creative work, even when we aren’t aware of working to make those associations…rather like a computer humming in the background, processing data while showing something very different on the screen. I’m babbling a bit here, but trying to get at the idea that some of the authors may have found meaning in your /images that you didn’t anticipate (and couldn’t have anticipated). I know some of them wrote to you after the issue went live. Were there any notes about your /images that surprised you?
JR: We artists always seems to be tuned in to similar frequencies wouldn’t you say? Just like you and I respect each others work so much as well as marvel (humbly I might add) at how the collective end results compliment each other so nicely. Yes, I did get a great response from the writers about the /images I matched with their pieces and the validation was good medicine for someone who hasn’t been creating art as much as I would like (read: new mom).
MA: I think every artist wishes they had certain talents that they don’t believe they possess. If you could enhance your abilities in some part of your process, what would it be?
JR: Interesting and tough question! The one trait I wish I possessed more of…and I’m not sure it qualifies as a talent, is the act of following through. I suck at deadlines, whether they’re imposed by someone else or myself. But all in all, I’m very grateful for the talents I have been given as well as the ones I have nurtured. It’s an honor to be an artist.
MA: Well, you made this deadline just fine. Thank you! 🙂
I love seeing how an artist’s body of work changes over time. Have you found your creative focus altered at all by the experience of being a new mom? (Congratulations, by the way.)
JR: Thank you! Being a mom rocks, no doubt. The biggest challenge of course is finding the time to write, photograph and keep up with my music, but I am confident that the time spent being a good parent is part of the artistic process for me. And it’s an amazing personal epiphany for me to learn that motherhood is an art form unto itself.
MA: And finally, what does recovery mean to you?
JR: Hmmmm..well, to me recovery is synonymous with process, as we charter through this life journey we are constantly recovering from old experiences as well as new ones. Recovery is never ending when one equates it with the goal of being the best earthling one can be in this lifetime.