Featured Guestagrammer: Jen May Pastores
Momenta welcomes featured guestagrammer,
Jen May Pastores!
Current job: Documentary Photographer and Youth Mentor
Current location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Connection to Momenta: I joined the Momenta family as a Professional Scholarship recipient for the Project New Orleans 2015 workshop. I’m also a workshop researcher helping Momenta to coordinate upcoming workshops and help manage their Instagram and blog posts.
Tell us about your journey as an image-maker and how you got to where you are today.
My imaging-making roots began during my high school days when I toured the island of Oahu in a band called Aftermath as their drummer. I documented the local punk-rock music scene in Honolulu in the late 90s/early 2000s on a 35mm SLR. Soon afterward my photography interests progressed to years in the darkroom and experimenting with lighting in a private studio. I interned with a photography magazine called Look-Look in Hollywood and worked as a photo editor for my university’s newspaper. At that time I began freelancing as a photographer in Los Angeles until I started my own wedding and portrait business. On the side I engaged high school students and the surrounding community in photography projects, and collaborated with an NGO in Cambodia where I instructed a self-designed photography course for over 50 youth where I had my first international photo exhibit at the Meta House in Phnom Penh. Soon after I was invited to participate in an artist residency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I had my first national photo gallery at the Asian Arts Initiative. I continued freelancing as a photographer and writer for publications in California and launched a photography class at the Arts Consortium in Visalia where I worked with adults of mental healthcare experience. Recently, I moved back to Hawaii where I reside in the Chinatown Artists Lofts where you can find me documenting my neighborhood on a regular basis.
What stories or issues are you most passionate about covering?
I am interested in pursuing humanitarian stories, because “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Where do you look for inspiration for your work: books, movies, authors, photographers, art, certain people?
I’m inspired when I do things I’m uncomfortable with: leaning into conversations with people until I break through to vulnerability, making portraits on the street with strangers, climbing heights for a different perspective, and swimming in the open ocean, camera in hand. I’m afraid of all of that, but it’s exhilarating to see what images and life lessons come from those experiences. It’s also important for me to be connected with a creative community who are actively making new work.
What social media or news feeds do you follow regularly?
Other than Instagram and not necessarily news feeds,
What is one passion you have outside of photography that might come as a surprise to our readers?
Inspiring youth to care deeply for others so that they can do great things in their community.
What can we expect to see from your “guestagramming” on our Momenta Instagram account?
Featured here are images I made on an SLR using Ilford HP5 film pushed three stops in development. On Momenta’s Instagram I’ll be sharing photos from New Orleans where I helped document the French Quarter Festival.
#seizethemomenta, and follow @momentaworkshops on Instagram to see Jen May’s work
About the author…
Jen May Pastores
Jen May Pastores is a research and development team member and content developer at Momenta Workshops. Her expertise is in visual communications and social media.