Jen Burnett

Jen Burnett

What is the most important part of a photograph to you?

That metaphorical space between the photo and the viewer is the most important part of the photograph. That's where the interplay happens -  invoking an emotional response, a thought, a memory. Without that interaction, our photos would not live.

How do you decide between black-and-white and color for a photo? Do you prefer one or the other? 

Most times, I let the photo tell me since I primarily shoot in color.  I will edit an image that I think would make for a good black and white photo, and go from there.  And sometimes while shooting, I just know it's going to be a great black and white.  I have always loved black and white photography, and it's still my favorite. 

Have you always been in DC? How do you think the area impacts your work?

I moved to DC from Miami about 14 years ago - and I really miss the light in South Florida. When I lived in Miami, I recall artists who had recently moved from New York talk about the quality of the light in Miami. I get it now.  In DC,  I became more focused on city/urban/architecture, and this city is a great subject for photography. DC has everything from iconic monuments, to street action,  to parks and green spaces, historical and political events, and a variety of architectural styles.  I can find inspiration wherever I go around town. 

What are the biggest misunderstandings about DC and what are your favorite things about it that people may not know or realize?

I think most people outside of DC, and rightly so, think DC is the monuments, museums and the White House.  The city of marble and stone. What people may not realize is that once you get past the downtown area, you have these vibrant neighborhoods filled with street art and graffiti, commissioned murals, and more galleries and performance spaces now than ever before. On any given day, I can explore an alleyway with the latest coffeehouse and around the corner come across pasted wall art and murals. DC also has a rich music history, from jazz to punk, and the local live music scene is still pretty strong here.

Do you think “minimal” is the best way to describe your style? If not, what word would you choose?

The hardest part for me is describing my style. I would say in general it's more of an industrial feel than minimal. I tend to be attracted to lines, shapes, angles, light and dark. While my style continues to evolve, architecture will always be my favorite subject to shoot.

Interview by Jack Sommer

Kevin De Los Santos