Five Questions with Jen May Pastores
Current Occupation: Photographer
Workshop: Project New Orleans
Nonprofit Assignment: The French Quarter Festival
Instructors: Jamie Rose, Jaime Windon, Chris Usher, Annie Flanagan & Tom Smith
What motivated you to take a Momenta Workshop?
I sought out an opportunity to dive back into photography full-time, especially after leaving a stressful, negative workplace. It was fate when I stumbled onto Momenta’s website and applied for one of the scholarships.
When I received news I was awarded the Momenta Aspiring Pro Scholarship to Project New Orleans I knew I was moving in the right direction of doing more of what makes me happy: giving back with photography and connecting with people who help me grow in my craft.
What surprised you most about the location you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
My assigned nonprofit was the French Quarter Festival, and my challenge was learning how to document a large scale event with little contact with the organization (due to the fact they were so busy before the start of the Festival).
To my greatest surprise, I found that once I got past the challenge of finding a story to tell, it was fairly easy to focus on getting images that would support the organization’s mission and vision. Which, in my good fortune, was celebrating the culture and heritage of New Orleans through special events that instill pride in the people of the city.
What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
When I’m feeling tired, frustrated, and out of ideas, it’s when I go back to the root of what makes something meaningful that I can clearly set goals.
What was your favorite photograph from this workshop and why?
It was hard to select because there were a lot of elements that went into the festival. But, it came down to my love for street photography and making portraits. The French Quarter Festival is backed up by over 2,000 volunteers who love to help keep the music and other festivities free for the public. So I photographed the people– you know, the people who help make the event happen, the people who are working in the businesses surrounding the event, the musicians who are performing, the artists selling their work, the attendees who have been going to this every year and the tourists who just happen to be at the right place at the right time.
What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
Life’s a journey and never a destination. Momenta helps create an experience where there’s hands-on learning, points of inspiration, and mentorship. If you’re game for walking into a room of life-long learners and rising to the challenge of seeing your work impact a nonprofit that needs their story to be shared with a wider audience, then allow yourself to be fully present with all that the workshop will offer.
Jen May Pastores’ Biography:
Jen May Pastores is a documentary photographer for cultural events and destination weddings, freelance writer, and artist currently living in Visalia, California and relocating to Honolulu, Hawaii in August 2015.
See Jen May’s Work: