Have you ever wondered who does Rethreaded's amazing photography? Well, for the past two years, we have been working with the talented Jesse Brantman and Lexi Mire of Jesse & Lex Wedding Co. on various style shoots and one-off projects. They have graciously donated their time and talents to help push Rethreaded's mission forward. We have had some great conversations with Jesse and always feel so inspired by his drive to use his talents to impact the community in positive ways. We thought you would like to get to know him too, so last week we caught up with Jesse for a little Q & A.
1. How long has photography been your passion?
In the beginning, photography for me was a means to an end. I wasn’t super passionate about the process, but it helped me to get a scholarship to go to school. It wasn't until I started diving into the different genres of photography that I really started to develop a style and love for what I do. In my last year, I discovered the art of portraiture and got drawn into learning about the micro-expressions that separates a good photo from a great photo. Even still, after I graduated, I wouldn’t describe myself as having a passion for the art, but I did enjoy my work. It wasn’t until three years ago did I begin to develop a passion, really an obsession for what I do. I feel like now it is always on my mind, and I get so excited for new projects. Each new client gives me the opportunity to problem solve, experiment with lighting and create something original and unique.
2. Who has influenced you in photography?
I met a professor, Ginger Sheridan, in high school, who really pushed me to get into Jacksonville University. She helped me get the scholarship and continued to help me along my journey while I was there. She encouraged me fully apply myself and to stay intentional about my photography and concepts. Another professor, Jeremy Paterno, failed everyone on their first assignment in his class. It was really a wake-up call. I learned that my work had to be more than good, it had to becompelling. I respected his perspective so much because of his intimate knowledge of photography from the business side of things and actual application of photography.Ryan Ketterman has also been a huge influence in my life. He is just such a wealth of information when it comes to the technical side of photography. He has also taught me so much about the business side of things, hard work, and just how to treat clients. I have been working with him for about five years and I still feel like I learn so much from him each time we work together. Lexi Mire, the other half of Jesse and Lex Wedding Co. has been a huge driving force in my photography. We started partnering about three years ago. Our first project was over a year long and there were so many ah-ha moments. Together we just push each other creatively. I have really grown in confidence working with her and have gotten so much more intentional about my photography.
3. As you have been pursuing your passion for photography, you have also developed a passion for using your talent to elevate community. Can you tell us how that passion came to be?
I never intended to develop this passion. I really just saw a need in our community. It seems like today photography is so accessible, yet such a great need for business. I empathized with nonprofits that had small budgets for photography projects but needed a competitive edge to gain awareness and traction. I feel like the effort that I put into these projects isn’t nearly as great as the mileage and impact that compelling photography affords the companies I partner with. To me, I feel like if you have a skill or talent and you are only using it to gain profit or benefit yourself, then you are doing the world an injustice.
4. How did you hear about Rethreaded?
I first gained awareness of Rethreaded through One Spark. I thought it was such an important cause, and knew it was going to do a lot of good. I didn’t get involved then and I hadn’t heard any more about them for a while. But then I began a partnership with Karen Kurycki, Rethreaded’s first graphic designer. She did some design work for me in trade for the use of my photography. Instead of asking for something personal, she connected me with Rethreaded who was looking for a photographer for their next styled shoot. We had a really great team of people on that first shoot, Fitz Pullins, Ari Gaski, Melissa Frank and Karen Kurycki. It felt super impactful. Lexi and I have participated in a couple more shoots since then, and each time I feel like we are growing as a team.
5. What about Rethreaded made you want to develop this partnership?
One of the reasons I think it is so great to partner with Rethreaded is the enthusiasm and positivity from the staff. There is a huge payoff when you see how excited people are when reacting to your work. Another is just how I view this organization. It’s like this train of hope and empowerment making this huge impact on our community. I see this impact run all the way through the company, from the survivors that are having their lives changed to the way the organization interacts with the community. It’s an entire culture of empowerment. I really enjoy being a puzzle piece that fits into it all. It’s super meaningful.
6. What’s been your favorite memory of working with Rethreaded?
I really enjoy seeing how Rethreaded uses my photography. I get to see the direct impact I have had in working with them on social media and their website. And I think overall, it’s just the sense of collaboration I feel when working on a project with them. They are so driven by passion. Like I said, it's this moving train and I get to hop on and off from time to time.
7. Do you have a favorite product?
Lavender Candle by Thistle Farms is by far my favorite. Lexi and I love to give them as gifts. It's just another way we can share our love of Rethreaded with our friends and family.
8. Any last comments?
One of my best friends and I talk a lot about how we have created a lifestyle out of living outside our comfort zones. I definitely aspire to that and see that happening at Rethreaded.
This blog is part of our Empowering Men to Make a Difference blog series. To learn more, check out the rest of the series.
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