This post is about change and about quitting. And also it’s an apology to you. It’s also about starting fresh. It’s also a full blog post with a lot of text and only one picture, but I’m hoping you’ll read it anyway.

Above is one of my all-time favorite moments on camera. It seems to evoke a sense of movement and introspection that is so timely for my life right now, and so I find myself looking at it a lot. When I look through my portfolio it’s full of “nice” photos and design projects, but only a handful that really communicate something…or at least communicate the values I want to put out into the world. So over the last two months I was put to the difficult task of figuring out WHY. Why am I unhappy with my work? And why do I feel anxiety when I think about my business? Why am I always so overwhelmed?

Something didn’t feel right.

After much consideration, I realized I needed to do two things; 1. simplify my life 2. embrace change and the fear it no-doubt will bring.

Business has been tough lately, to be frank. In this age of social networking I think we all feel the pressure to look successful and busy even when the crickets are chirping in our inboxes. Truthfully, I’ve been struggling to feel happy for all you guys. By “you guys” I mean the creatives in my field (photographers, designers, artists and small business owners). Don’t get me wrong, I WANT to be happy for you, but I’ve been mostly feeling jealous and frustrated when I see your amazing accomplishments and opportunities streaming across social media (I’ll come back to this at the end of my post).

Business is always hard, particularly small business. I’ve struggled to find clients and I’ve struggled to charge what I’m worth. I’ve felt spread very thin over an array of interests that I hold, struggling to improve my skill or excel in any one area. Truth be told, I’d been wallowing in all that rather than trying to fix it (and baking…like…A LOT). I found myself hiding and isolating myself, not wanting to be seen or heard in real life (yes, REAL life, not instagram).

I wasn’t sure whether to welcome or run from these new realizations. As I felt the drive to clarify, clean up, and refocus not only my heart but my career, I also felt really afraid. As much as I love dabbling in many different things (photo,design, video, DIY, writing, etc), it makes no sense professionally, for my personality type (that is rubbish at multitasking) to try and maintain. Additionally, I think potential clients are confused as to what exactly I do. Much like I’ve had to clear out my physical closets this month as I prepare to go overseas…I made the difficult decision to clean out my career closet as well.

Here is what that means.

As of January 2015, I’m dropping the business name JARFLY.
I realized that for years I’d been hiding behind the whimsical title “jarfly”, which has sentimental significance between my husband and I… but little merit for my current work. In the end, I realized I needed to acquaint people with ME if I was to welcome them as clients…my name being the stepping stone to that transition.

As of June 2015, I will offer ONLY wedding and portrait photography under the business name Jenni Kupelian Photographs.
This was a hard thing to wrap my brain around, especially after slaving away through design school. The truth is, I’ve fallen head over heels for photography…it’s my passion. I love every inch of it and it is where my strongest work shines. While I enjoy design, it always seems to fall prey to the other love. So rather than keep pushing something out of pride and a desire to say I’m “using” my degree, I’ve decided to stop offering custom design services. I will continue to use my design skills to create my new photography brand, as well as photo-cards, album art, and other printed products that my photography clients can purchase as a part of their portrait packages. I will also continue to design off the books in a volunteer capacity here and there.

The JARFLY blog (that you are now reading) will become the blog associated with Jenni Kupelian Photographs, under a new domain name.
I love blogging and feel it’s an important way for potential clients and fellow creatives to connect with one another, comment on each other’s work, and share each other’s links. I also view it as a creative journal and place to experiment. I will always blog, but will be limiting the range of topics I cover. I’m excited to launch a YouTube channel associated with my photo work that will feature tips for clients, behind the scenes video and other photographic tutorials as well, and I’m excited to challenge myself to get in front of the camera more so my demographic can get to know me.

Until I launch my new photography brand and website, the JARFLY FB page will be erased and my other social sites re-named. I will most likely NOT be updating this blog, until it’s moved to my new domain in the spring.
My husband and I are getting ready for 5 weeks in Europe and Iceland…and I’m getting ready for a solo trip to East Africa. We will be sharing our adventures and photography together at The Ragamuffins, our travel blog (if you’d like to join us there).

Making this decision was difficult, and even more odd to try and explain to people. However, the overwhelming response has been positive from close friends and family. I feel like a burden has been lifted, allowing me to truly be happy for my creative peers in their success and to FINALLY actually support others rather than covet their talent. That being said, I feel like I owe my fellow creatives an apology. I’m a tiny spec in a sea of entrepreneurs, and while nobody has been “waiting” for an apology from me, I promise I owe you one anyway. I’m excited to finally support, cheer on and collaborate with you all. I’m excited to see what amazing things you accomplish in 2015. We are all in this together, right?

Damn right we are!

I hope you will follow me to my new domain and blog launching next year. I hope you leave a comment or a virtual high five. And more than anything, THANK YOU for reading this long space of content. I only have a few readers, but I’ve been really thankful for you. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

xo, Jenni

SAVE THE DATES:

NOW | Jenni Kupelian Photographs on Facebook
Mid-January 2014 | Follow my 7 week, 11 country adventure at my personal The Ragamuffins travel blog.
June 2015 |  Jenni Kupelian Photographs launches + new brand identity + officially booking new work
September 2015 | Jenni Kupelian YouTube Channel launch + online giveaways

See you in June at Jenni Kupelian Photographs!

 

 

 

Posted in Life + Thoughts

“Love turns work into rest.” ― Teresa of Ávila

I often marvel at the war that wages in my mind when I try to reconcile work and rest. The journey of searching for balance seems to be a prize I never fully grasp. I am not a mother, yet, and I often find myself feeling afraid of the future picture of work and children. Can I still work? Will I enjoy my work without feeling resentful of my family? Or visa versa…

 

I ran into an incredible quote the other day; “Love turns work into rest.” . Teresa of Ávila was a controversial mystic of the Catholic Church during the 16th century, and while (after reading about her) I’m not sure if she was necessarily a beacon of peaceful “rest”, I think the statement she’s made in the above quote is simply breathtaking.

I don’t believe the idea that work is only fulfilling if you love it 100%. I think there is something to be said about working hard, even if you don’t enjoy it, so you can go home to the things that you do enjoy (like your friends, family, hobbies and vacation time). After all, I’ve met people all over the world who don’t have the resources to pursue their dreams due to a collapsed government or post-war poverty, but work hard so they can spend time in their community resting and enjoying much needed rejuvenation.

The idea that loving, just even loving in general, can turn your time of toil into a time of rest was really profound to me. It also brought me peace when I find myself feeling frantic about having a career and becoming a mother (I hope) in the next 2 years. The feeling of love and gratitude for my life and all my blessings carrying through during the stress of the work-life balance? What a beautiful thought.

Perfection is lethal, as they say. I’m sure I’ll have days (as I do already) when I’m throwing pencils against the wall and wishing I could just pitch a tent in a field, isolated from work. I often feel the stress that our fast-paced culture brings and it’s tempting to compare myself to other people or simply blast ahead like a mad-woman. Knowing my mind can overcome how I interpret the moment, however, that gives me hope. Knowing that love casts out all fear, gives me peace.

xo, Jenni

Posted in Life + Thoughts

I began blogging in 2008 because one night, while watching multiple bear documentaries (yes, you read that right) my friend Bethany turned to me and said this:

“You should have a blog.”

“I don’t even have a computer,” I answered.

“Use mine. You should have one, you say weird things I’d read. Here, I’m setting you up one,” Bethany said.

And that she did, right then and there. 

Thus, Thoughts From The Jar, my very first blog, was born. Here are the sad contents of my first post: “There must be nothing worse than being eaten for dinner by something you love.” -some guy on TV talking about Bears

I’ve graduated, since then, beyond one sentence bear-documentary synopsis’s (I’d hope). Blogging itself has come a long way too…it seems everyone these days has some kind of platform for their thoughts. I have to be honest with you, my corgi has his own Instagram (she typed, shamefully). Even more ridiculously, he has way more followers than I do (it must be the ears). And while my corgi’s job in the world of the web is just to be cute, I find that I struggle with the idea of what my blogging identity should be. Or even my professional identity as a whole.

I’m one of those endlessly fidgety people who love doing lots of different things. For example: When I was 13 I was absolutely, irrevocably convinced that it was my destiny to be a whale trainer after visiting Sea World. Those creatures needed me. On their noses. Balancing on one foot (to be specific). Yet, not one week later I was desperate to learn Spanish. The same week I developed the story line for a novel I would write entitled “Two Sets Of Twins” (yes, I have still have the story-board filled with googly-eyed baby drawings). Please don’t ask me to diverge the plot to this book as I’m can only imagine it was something of a Full-House meets Gone With The Wind concoction. My point is, I like variety, and I always have.

As an adult, I’ve managed to whittle down my interests to photography and design based disciplines…but always questioning my loyalties to either one. Truly, the simpler question is this: How do I develop an audience with so much noise everywhere…particularly when I’m fabricating some of the noise myself? And is there worth in blogging and sharing creativity even if you’re not sure anyone is watching/reading?

I greatly admire so many bloggers, creatives, and professionals. Particularly women who have worked hard, established themselves, obtained a clear brand/vision…and therefore earned their audience. Perhaps I simply haven’t done the work well enough yet, or maybe I need somebody to ask me the right question so I can work out the chaos of my many dreams…narrowing them to clarity.

I was listening to an interview on the radio with Barbara Streisand the other day. She was asked by the radio host what “emotions were uprooted” when she wrote the song Evergreen. She paused, and in her famous Brooklyn accent responded:

“Well I guess I could have been thinking about chocolate CAKE! I don’t know….”

Perhaps sometimes I make things too complex…I so often long for a sense of control and power over my own destiny. While I absolutely believe in hard work and intention…I think I just need to take a little easy on myself for now, and create simply for the sake of creating. If there is ever a need for me to blog about a Bear Documentary, well…I guess I’ve got that checked off on my resume.

xo, Jenni

 

Posted in Life + Thoughts

It feels like the last five years of my life simply flew by. I quit my long-time career path of nannying, got married, moved a couple times, went across the ocean a few times, went back to school and am now….quite suddenly…graduating into some quiet. I’m not always comfortable with silence…no that is an understatement…I can hardly bare silence. When all is peeled away, what are we left with? Ourselves, mostly. And THAT, usually terrifies me.

We live in a culture of “next”. I remember having barely been married before many (not all) but many people in my life started asking me about buying a house or having children. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing to other people, yet now, having recently graduated with my graphic design degree…I feel that pressure once again. What is next? Where will I work? If I’m going to be self employed…then I better get noticed! Get to tweeting! Get to networking! Just GET BUSY, (poor phrase choice perhaps)…but really, that’s how it feels in the quiet. So painfully aware of what everyone else is doing and all the ways I simply walk like I’m in mud professionally. The feeling that you move and move yet never truly arrive anywhere. Additionally, when you do accomplish something….there the “next” monster is…just waiting to devour you.

I often ponder this question (it drives me crazy in fact) “If I make something cool…but nobody sees it…did I still make it?”  It’s a ridiculous question really, as if going to Paris never really happened unless you got to share your photos on Facebook. However, it does feel that way these days doesn’t it? What would happen if I just took a gorgeous photo and placed it in my journal as a keepsake. Just mine, nobody else’s. I don’t know about you but the thought of doing something like that feels foreign. When I was 23 years old, I did not own a cell phone. I had no laptop. I checked my email at the library once or twice a week. I got the news by reading my parents newspapers (if I was in a “caring about the news” stage) and I wrote a lot of letters to friends and family. I had no idea what anyone was doing professionally unless I called and asked or read about it in Time (or let’s face it, Real Simple, more likely).

These days, I know what most successful creatives in my field are doing, pretty much globally. It thrills me to no end but also leaves me wishing I was better, more organized or simply had more guts and glory. When it’s quiet? All these thoughts flood my brain even more. Perhaps what I’m actually describing is cyber jealousy, burn out, or just an over stimulated brain. I do see the irony in the fact I’m blogging about it though.

As I laid in bed awake last night, thinking about all the amazing things I’d looked at on Behance, Facebook, the Kinfolk website, Once Wed…the ideas I trolled through on Twitter, the beautiful things I’d “pinned” before bed…I suddenly realized something: I need a slow summer. One that just simmers and gently rolls along. I need to be myself, create things that I like and just leave it there…rather than compare it to what other people are doing. I need to share things I’m working on and not check to see if it’s being appreciated with “likes” and “retweets”…being inevitably disappointed while it lays stagnant in the endless stream of creative noise.

A slow summer. A summer where 6pm feels like it just HAS to be 9pm, but you are overjoyed to discover the opposite! That your truly amazing day didn’t sneak past you in a hurry but rather tip toed along in the grace that contentment offers. I know I’m describing a luxury. I’m also aware that anyone who knows me is used to me grappling with this idea. Yet it would seem I have to grasp at it every morning  or risk jealousy, stress and anxiety in the wake of our very fast paced world.

So the question remains. If I make something cool today, but nobody sees it but me, did I really make it? You bet I did. Hold me to it.

xo, Jenni

Posted in Life + Thoughts
Tela11
I can still recall the sound of my mother’s vaccuming deep into the wee hours of the night. This was her inevitable routine after we were put to bed, particularly if she was expecting guests the following day. Snuggling deep below the blankets of my bed, the rhythmic “wrrrr”of the machine sucking up cherrios and barbie shoes from our living room carpet would gently lullaby me to sleep. I grew to live for the moments when I could hear my parents move up and about the house while I lay in my bed. Their feet echoing througout the house taking part in the mystical world of adults that exsisted beyond childhood bedtimes left me feeling safe and secure. Sleep found in the midst of those sounds was always the sweetest.
I’m nearly 30 years old now, but when I hear a vaccum running from the apartment below me I immediately feel quiet and at peace. If only there were a vacuum ready to serenade me at a given moment these days…because life is simply not always peaceful, is it?
I will confess that I’m rarely still enough to tune into the simple sounds of the world around me. The noise of social networking, computers in general and a busy school schedule keeps me so wrapped up in my own chaotic world that I miss the wind moving in the curtains…or the sound faint music down the street.
This morning I asked my husband if we could turn a fan on, even though it’s cold enough to leave frost on the trees on through afternoon lately. I think it’s that humming sound that reminds me of my Mom vaccuming that helps me fall asleep, a strange assurance that everything is okay.
Who knew that a vaccum would sound like peace. Life is funny that way.
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Posted in Life + Thoughts