Kelly Jacobi is located in Wisconsin and is best known for her incredible Black and Whites. The three words that best describe her brand? Connection. Emotion. Energy. 

All three of those words ring true in every shot she shares! Her Black & Whites are full of contrast and movement. They are deep and unapologetic. Most importantly, they knock our socks off. She knocks our socks off.

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What inspires your art? I am inspired by the line where art and reality meet. I have always had a love for documenting life through a lens; a very straight-forward approach. But I have also always had this yearning to create and to uncover the simple beauty. Photography had been my way to marry these two ideas.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens? I shoot with my Nikon D700 and usually my Sigma 24-35 or Sigma 15 is on it. I love wide angle lenses. When I want to shoot light (weight) I grab my Fuji XE-2 with my 27mm . This mirrorless camera is always in my purse and on-the-go with me.

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What other ways do you express your creativity? Drawing and painting used to be my creative outlet before children. Every now and again when I sit down to do crafts with the kids or chalk on the driveway with them it bubbles to the surface again. I’ve enjoyed writing prose and poetry since high school and still find it to be a great release. 

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? I love to take a big, hot bath at the end of the day. It is my zen. Baths have always been a way to de-stress for me. Sometimes I sit there in silence. Sometimes I turn my music on. Sometimes I read or write in the bath and let my creativity flow and other times I just need the time to unwind with Netflix or Pinterest.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing? I always have music on while I edit. I’ve realized that I have to create a space for myself that encourages calmness. If I don’t, it’s like I have to fight to pull my creativity out the entire time. I have my go-to Pandora or Spotify channels I will listen to. I’ve made a Youtube playlist of all of my favorites I can turn on as well. I love artists like Lana Del Ray, Florence and the Machine, the Black Keys, Angus and Julia Stone, Iron and Wine. Sometimes I like my old school favorites like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and the Smashing Pumpkins.

(My favorite Youtube playlist:

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What is your favorite book? Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is one that I have read and re-read and has stuck with me. Hemingway has a way of writing that draws you in and creates such vivid imagery.

Name one movie that inspires you. There aren’t many movies that come to mind that visually inspire me. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Labor Day are two that are great visually but there are others like Moll Flanders that inspires me with the storyline.

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps? I have always told myself to shoot through times like those. I take extra steps to surround myself with things that I know have sparked my creativity in the past. Taking a hike through the woods and being outdoors is a big one for me. Watching how the light and shadows work together, watching how the leaves dance in the breeze, listening to the quiet almost always ignites a spark, even if sometimes it is only a small flicker, it is a start. I have also found that looking through an album of my own favorite images reminds me that I love what I do and I have found joy in what I capture. I also look for inspiration outside of the photography world. Sometimes in those times of self-doubt and creative slumps the last thing you need is social media or Pinterest to compare yourself to or sway you to think you need to be doing what everyone else is doing. Instead I try to read beautiful words or listen to music that makes me feel something.

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What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey? The same thing that inspires me can also be one of my biggest struggles. I have always struggled to find my idea of the perfect balance between fine art and documentary photography. When I find that middle ground I think I do some of my best work. But I often feel like I am on a pendulum swaying back and forth between two very opposite ideas.

Who is one of your favorite photographers? Sally Mann is one of my all-time favorite photographers. I feel like she found this balance between creating art and documenting life in a way like no other.

Coleen Hodges