J'aime Davis, Unraveled | An Interview

J’aime is a hobbyist photographer that can walk into several Starbucks and be identified by name and drink, but that not only drinks coffee for her own well being, but for the well being of others. She left her corporate life behind her after being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Daily Headaches - all within a 2 month time span- and purchased a camera on Black Friday and has never looked back. Truth be told, she likes editing more than actually taking the images (shhhhhh, don’t tell other photographers), and when you don’t find her editing (or negotiating with her 10 year old to take images), you will find her watching reality tv (she’s old enough to have watched the original reality TV series, Real World MTV)), cooking and trying new recipes, wishing she was good at food photography or had her own cooking show, or shopping. Or drinking coffee.

J’aime is one of the teachers of Empowering Women of Color Through Photography alongside Toni Black, Chinelle Rojas and Traci Lester. This is a ground-breaking MasterCourse that aspires to break down the stereotypes and misconceptions behind women of color in life and business, educate the public, as well as inspire and empower all people to connect, support and validate one another on their creative journeys, despite their race or color. Students will not only learn history but they will learn how to be inclusive in their business model, expose for different skin tones, and shoot what matters most.

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What inspires your art?

My daughter. When she is older, and in the daily grind, under all of the stresses that adult life can bring, I want her to be able to look back at these images and be reminded how stress free life was. How happy she was. I want her to see her childhood in the same beautiful way that I am seeing it now.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?

Nikon D750. Choosing a favorite lens is like picking a favorite kid. It would either have to be my Sigma Art 35mm 1.4, although now that it has turned a teen it is driving me crazy, or my Nikon 50 mm 1.8 G that I use for freelensing. Not everyone understands this child of mine, but we have a special connection.

What other ways do you express your creativity?

Cooking and designing my home. I can redo a vignette on my bookshelf 1,000, and when my husband begs me to please cook something “exactly the same way as before” I still can’t help myself but to try a new recipe.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day?

Watching ma shows.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing?

No music. See response above - I watch ma shows.

What is your favorite book?

I have loved to read since I was a child so I can’t pinpoint 1 single book. You may have seen me on an episode of Hoarders because even in this day and age of Kindles, I still love a real book in my hand and used to store them under my bed. Thank goodness a few books (okay more than a few) told me I had to learn to let things go…….

Name one movie that inspires you:

I love to watch movies that are inspired by true events in general. People fascinate me and I guess in the end you can say “people” inspire me. It’s interesting to me the choices people make— good and bad — and where those choices lead them. Again, I can’t just choose one.

How do you handle creative slumps?

I continue to learn about photography and try new editing techniques. That’s usually where my slumps are. I also try to remember that this is part of the journey and that as long as I don’t give up, I will come out on the other side of it.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?

Definitely hitting a slump that lasted a lot longer than I thought slumps were “supposed” to last. Also, not being where I wanted to be skillswise, when I wanted to be.

Who is one of your favorite photographers?

Niki Boon. I love her Black and White imagery, her compositions, her candid imagery, and the way she blurs her foreground. She is just taking images of her kids - she’s not trying to be like anyone else, and the results are amazing.

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