Jen Hillenga

I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl. I heard that line in a movie once and always thought of myself that way. I can be structured when I need to be, but I like my life and my work to have an element of the spontaneous. I think when you are free to roll with the moments in your work, that is where magic happens,I’ve been in photography for 13 years now, and in the beginning…you learn the basics…then you master the concepts of light and composition and posing…then the all rules are so ingrained in you, you begin to throw 
away the rules and push limits…that’s when you become creative.

I think that is why I love the After Dark platform so much.

There is space and time for each student to find their own way….whether it is learning the “rules” stage, or the “letting go” stage. There are mentors teaching the basics and mentors being spontaneous and creative and just “playing”. There is a certain freedom at After Dark to create your own path…whether it is as a student, or as a mentor… we are given the freedom to learn and teach in an environment of “play”.

I am best taught by hands-on learning and dialogue….I love it when someone is speaking with me, not at me!!! That is how I love to teach too! I’d rather have a small group discussion about the things we deal with in our studio on a day to day basis, or visualize to music with someone, or really get into a shooting groove with someone…..than sit in a class listening to broad topics that may or may not apply to me. I want someone to really get into what is the unique set of needs and parameters for our studios… do we deal with things in real life….thinking outside the box for creative solutions and tried and true problem solving techniques.

So…let’s all meet up and play!