The New York photographer documents her life and all those that pass through it, inspiring both a sense of freedom and intimacy
Having spent almost a decade living in London, working as a model and photo assistant, Jenny Hueston moved to Brooklyn a few years ago to focus on making magic happen from the other side of the lens. With a pull towards portraiture, the environment of her subject plays an equally important role in the frame; flickers of her native Canada appear in her work and the interplay between nature, the city and a life lived between the two is a source of constant inspiration.
I'm drawn to places and communities that have a sense of beautiful decay about them. Places like rural Canada and the Isle of Wight have this magical quality...
Working mostly with film, she fervently absorbs moments between friends and strangers with a natural tendency to sit back and allow the scene to unfold, her 35mm unobtrusively collecting intimate snapshots of their lives. Always an eclectic mix, most recently she shot the album cover for the newly released Tanlines LP and will soon be travelling to Arctic Canada to begin a project on Nunuvat youth culture. With an exhibition of her work opening in L.A this month, we caught up with Hueston to find out what catches her eye...
Dazed Digital: When did you start taking photographs and at what point did you decide to make it a full time occupation?
Jenny Hueston: When I was in high school I had an incredible art teacher who helped me re-open our school darkroom. I loved spending hours in there playing with images. I started college for photography but left after my first semester to travel to London, where I met some really incredible creative people who were making music, creating art, publishing magazines - everything. They’d all made a career out of creating things and that’s what inspired me to get back to what I first loved to do.
DD: You once graced the cover of The Face during your modelling years and also worked as a photo assistant on fashion sets. Your own work has steered itself towards portraiture. Why do you think that is?
Jenny Hueston: I think it was just a natural progression. In London I was lucky enough to work with some incredible photographers. I learned a tremendous amount during that time, both artistically and also about the business. But I’ve always been drawn to the more intimate sides of photography. I love developing an organic understanding with the subject and the honesty it brings.
DD: Where is your favourite place to take pictures? Does location affect how you take your pictures?
Jenny Hueston: I'm drawn to places and communities that have a sense of beautiful decay about them. Places like rural Canada and the Isle of Wight have this magical quality which sits just outside of our time, and I love trying to capture that. In NYC I feel pulled to the outlying beaches and coasts. I like to shoot in the Rockaways where my friends surf and in Coney Island, where there is always something interesting going on. I love the beautiful, crisp, early morning winter light and the ocean amidst the aging boardwalks.
DD: Who is your favourite subject?
Jenny Hueston: I like subjects who are familiar to me, but enjoy the challenge to portray them in new ways. Some of my favorite subjects are my friend Jessie, my niece Lily, kids in my hometown, the old lady who runs the bodega on my corner and anyone that I catch in the right moment. Next month, I’m traveling to Nunuvat (Arctic Canada), to start a project on youth culture which should be interesting as I love to photograph pockets of little known Canadian sub-cultures.
DD: Are you inspired by other photographers or artists?
Jenny Hueston: Absolutely. I love the work of Alec Soth, Paul Graham, Bruce Davidson. Martin Parr, Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore... the list could go on and on. ‘Claxton Projects’ is a great website run by a friend of mine which showcases his vast and ever growing photography book collection, and I refer to this a lot for inspiration. Recently I came across a book called ‘Redheaded Peckerwood’ by Christian Patterson which I really love. It’s amazing how much incredible work there is out there. I just try and absorb as much as I can.
You can see Jenny’s work in the group show ‘Hellawood’ at Space 15 Twenty from April 6th. 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028