Jennifer McClure (https://www.jennifermcclure.com/) is a fine art photographer based in New York City. She uses the camera to ask and answer questions. Her work is about solitude and a poignant, ambivalent yearning for connection. The Leica Gallery in Boston will present a solo show of her work in April 2021. She was a 2019 and 2017 Critical Mass Top 50 finalist and twice received the Arthur Griffin Legacy Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography’s annual juried exhibitions. Jennifer was awarded CENTER’s Editor’s Choice by Susan White of Vanity Fair in 2013 and has been exhibited in numerous shows across the country. She has taught workshops for Leica, PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo, the Maine Media Workshops, The Griffin Museum, and Fotofusion. Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, GUP, The New Republic, Lenscratch, Feature Shoot, L’Oeil de la Photographie, The Photo Review, Dwell, and PDN. She also founded the Women’s Photo Alliance in 2015.
Scheduled to Teach
LACP Interviews Jennifer McClure
LACP asks Jennifer McClure ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Jennifer McClure : I am a fine art photographer, and I shoot mostly myself and my family these days. I tend to work on very personal projects, using photography as a way to work through issues that keep me up at night. The act of making photos helps me process and name my emotions.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
JM: We moved frequently when I was growing up, and I used photographs to help me remember people and stay grounded. I thought I wanted to be an English professor, and then I worked in restaurants for a while. I came back to it almost twenty years ago.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
JM: I took continuing education classes at SVA and ICP. I’ve also taken workshops when I could afford them. I was a teaching assistant for many years, which helped pay for classes. I mostly focused on conceptual classes and took technical courses as I needed them.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
JM: I knew around 2005. I had some pretty self-destructive habits, and I realized I could pursue those or photography, but not both. Photography was my lifeline.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
JM: I still do, all the time. I find it hard to believe that my insecurities and angst and small joys could be interesting to anyone else. But then I get itchy if I go too long without photographing, and then the pictures I make lead to more pictures, and then I’m in again.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
JM: Financial security. All of my money goes to photography and travel to make more photos. This was fine when I was single, but I worry about it more now that I have a kid.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
JM: Emotional intelligence and presence. I learned how to find beauty in the moment instead of getting lost in my own head. I have a network now of incredibly smart, talented, and generous people. I also met my husband through work.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
JM: I’m teaching a self portrait class this fall.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
JM: I love the exchange of ideas. I love watching people open up as they learn to be vulnerable in their photo practice. I love helping them use photography as a tool to process emotions and connect with others. I am constantly inspired by my students.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
JM: I would tell them to seriously consider the financial viability of pursuing this as a living. If it’s not possible to earn a living, then perhaps look for a job that leaves time and headspace to make photos as well. I would tell them to make photos that they care about deeply. And to be kind to everyone–to their subjects, to other photographers, to editors, to clients, to collectors, absolutely everyone.