Five Questions with Jessica Pepper-Peterson
Current Occupation: Professional Photographer
Workshop: Project South Africa
Instructors: Jamie Rose
1. What motivated you to take a workshop and why did you pick Momenta?
I was ready for a change in my photography career. I wanted to do something that felt more substantial to me. I chose Momenta because we are all Syracuse grads! That and each photographer/teacher had had an impressive career behind them and then had chosen to focus on non-profit work similar to what I was hoping to do.
2. What surprised you most about the country you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
I knew very little going in but I absolutely loved Capetown, South Africa. The people were so kind and welcoming and generous. It quickly became one of my favorite destinations. The mountains, the sea, it’s just such a beautiful place.
3. What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
Shoot Shoot Shoot. I came in shooting maybe 200 or so images on the first days and by the end had probably quadrupled that. I learned to stay and be patient and follow my subjects.
4. What was your favourite photograph from this workshop & why?
This photograph was taken early in the day while we went around making home visits to the clients of the non-profit. It was really a special moment to get to be part of someones daily routine and watch them work. Some people questioned a bit why I was there and why I was photographing what I was but this women was so happy to spend her day with me allowing me to see so much of life in Imizamo Yethu.
5. What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
Do the research. Momenta gives you lists of books and movies about the country, read them, watch them and learn as much as you can going in. Understanding the people you will be photographing will do wonders to create relationships with them.
Jessica began developing her photography at age 16 with a Pentax K1000 at the Maine Photographic Workshops. After receiving a B.A. in Photography from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University she moved to Manhattan where she worked as a photo assistant. Since 2005 she has been based in Milan, Italy where she has been working in fashion and advertising photography and production. In 2011 she began photographing for non-profits to share stories of positive changes occurring in the world. She is currently developing a personal project on global motherhood.
See Jessica’s work: