Q&A with Jennifer MacFarlane:
Please tell me about yourself and your creative work.
I am from the very interesting and ethnically diverse suburbs of NYC. I started a super hip Brooklyn based hipster wedding photography company a few years back called Stylish & Hip Weddings and I am the official head honcho! I think of Stylish & Hip weddings as more of a family community of people supporting and nurturing each other and making some money to survive in NYC in our 30’s! I am also a popular meditation teacher in the east village and soon to be mom!!!
What has been career path?
I knew I would be a photographer when I was about ten. My grandma was a fine art photographer and I used to love poking around her darkroom when I was a kid. I remember taking my first “artistic” photo at the age of ten. In my very early teens I started to hang out in the East Village photographing the NY punk/hardcore/skateboarding scene which were all my friends. This was around 1992 when NYC was still pretty wild!! I photographed punk shows religiously until I was about 20. Then I went to SVA to pursue my photo degree. My internship at Magnum sealed my desire to be a photojournalist and I started at the bottom working for crappy Brooklyn community papers photographing everything from mentally challenged kids in Sheepshead Bay doing the twist to break a Guinness Book of World Record to people who died in their car to Park Slope community board meetings. After a few years I got the balls to approach the NY Times and they took me on as a freelancer where I mostly photographed for the Metro section. I moved onto magazine work and then eventually into weddings.
How did you figure out what you wanted to do creatively?
I knew I wanted to create and photography was the most potent form of expression for me! When I was twenty-three or so I took off for a year to travel around the world. It was then that I could full time focus on photography and documentary. That year made me who I am in many ways! One whole year of exploring! The topics I was interested in started to rise to the surface. I’ve traveled for about three months every year for ten years and did my own documentary projects. Most significantly I did a project on the Tibetan diaspora, which I was interested in from so many different angles. Last year I met the Dalia Lama at an exhibit of that work that took place in Mexico city. It was one of the highlights of my life and came about five years after I had “finished” the project, so you never know. When you do a great body of work, it takes on a life of its own and keeps growing, and that is really exiting.
How did you learn to do what you do as a photographer?
Just by doing it A LOT!!!!! Working for all of those dinky local newspapers was one hundred times more valuable than my entire college educations because I was OUT there and people were relying on me.
What do you love about the work you do?
I really love weddings because I have never had my work appreciated SOOO much! and that is nice.
Where do you get inspiration?
Jung, symbolism, Tibetan Buddhism, understanding karma and how to live a good life.
What was your inspiration for the incredible tattoo on your back?
The tattoo artist! I found one of the best guys in the world who only does these big Japanese pieces, and I told him he could do whatever he wants. I LOVE my tattoo.
How do you define success?
Success is being balanced and being around people who love you! I feel very successful.