Interviews, Lifestyle

“I believe the fear of the unknown pushed me to say, “heck with it”, and pursue something I originally thought would be a hobby during retirement,” says photographer of  Citizen Couture, Jason Jean.

Jason is a NYC-based photographer battling with Glaucoma and seeing partial vision. He has shot some of the biggest names in fashion and renown for his street style photography. While there is no doubt that one of the most talked about topics during fashion week is the street style, we were interested in the lives of the people behind the cameras.  As soon as Jason arrived back to NYC from fashion week, we picked his brain and dove deeper on his hobby that turned into a career.



TEST3I first became interested in photography when…

I realized there was a possibility I may be completely blind in the future.  I sketched feverishly when I was younger but pursued a business profession early in my career because my family insisted it was much more practical.  Right before my 21st birthday, I noticed black spots in my vision and eye specialists later revealed that I had juvenile Glaucoma.  At that point, I lost part of my peripheral vision.  The next few years was a struggle coping with classes, medication, and surgery, but even with positive results, there was no cure and no way of regaining lost vision.   I believe the fear of the unknown pushed me to say, “heck with it”, and pursue something I originally thought would be a hobby during retirement.

 

My photography style is…

evolving the more I’m learning.  I’m inspired by the outdoors and finding locations to build a story or just create imageries, but I’ve been exploring more studio/indoor work.

 

My icons/influences are…

My parents.  They’ve worked hard for a long time but also took the time to push me to learn essential skills.  Now, as retirees, they maintain a very balanced lifestyle by staying healthy and exploring amazing destinations such as Iceland, Nepal, Bhutan, and Machu Picchu.  I admire their vision in life and look forward to exploring their next destination with them.

 

My most memorable fashion week experience…

When model Saskia de Brauw struck a conversation with me while I was photographing her exiting the show.  She had mistaken me for another photographer.  The next season, she stopped again and said, “You look familiar.  Do you make rug sacks?”

 

A typical day in the life of Jason Jean…

A freelancer’s life is challenging.  There are good months and slow months, and a typical day can range from sitting in front of a computer, meetings, traveling, or photographing.  The best part about freelancing is the freedom, but I have to remind myself to stay in and work when it’s beautiful out.  Other than that, I like to make my time productive and plan how I can progress my work and have projects lined up.

 

The best advice I received was…

Don’t worry about what others think of you.

 

My advice for aspiring photographers…

Get out of your comfort zone, work hard, continue learning, network, and take your time to define your style over time.


Check out more of Jason’s work at citizencouture.com and Instagram

[Cover photo: Jason is wearing the DITA Stranger.] 

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