Hard Expressions

Pittsburgh Yinzer/West Virginia, Geordie artist & free thinker employs new art !!!”

Jeanne Adkins is a Pittsburgh based artist/photographer who has been creating alternative and captivating images of fine work since the age of seven. 

     She began like most creative types: 35mm camera film that led a path to digital and artificial design. 

     Thirty-seven years later she is still on the path of discovery with her art. Whether it is animals in their natural environments or an abandoned building in a forgotten street….., if something catches her eye, she will photograph it. 

     Having worked with many commercial companies over the years Jeanne’s preferred methods of work can be viewed here:

     It’s a huge pleasure to chat with this talented lady, and here at BALLBUSTER we are pleased to give you an insight into this talented independent artist. 

1) Hello Jeanne! Can you please tell us what your inspiration was to become so ensconced in photography & the art you’ve been creating for almost four decades ? 

 My mom gave me my first camera when I was 7 years old. A little thin horizontal purple vivitar with attachable flashbulbs. I loved it immediately! Took it and photographed family members and gatherings. I knew quickly photography was going to be my passion with a small stint of wanting to be a veterinarian in my early teenage years

2) How do you find the overall atmosphere in an over saturated habitat where many photographers always seem to churn out the usual cliche’ imagery ? 

The market is highly saturated and I have found great difficulty in selling my art, but i believe there is a difference in snapshots and art. An eye for composition and lighting comes with experience. It’s not something you start off understanding, at least, it wasn’t for me. It took time to come into my craft. That’s what I love about photography, I am always learning and growing.

3) Would you say the photography world is stereotypically male – dominated (?) akin to the music world etc ? If so, being female do you see or find any prejudices within your chosen line of work ? 

There has always been women in photography unfortunately for our godmother’s of art in the medium, they would be incredibly critiqued and cast aside. For instance, Julia Cameron circa 1815-1849, her art was considered full of mistakes. She saw it as art and science utilizing the collodion process, which was an extensive process in developing the actual ending of the artwork. 

Frances Johnston was another early artist who’s families wealth gave her access to celebrities and the like, she might not have had such access without it. Susan B. Anthony and Mark Twain are among her vast catalog of work.

4) May we ask your thoughts on ‘purist politics’ ?

EG : what do you feel when you’re asked to differentiate between the modern digital  ‘AI’ techniques & the camera-roll-of-film ?

Well, there’s always change and growth in any art form and with technology these days, it’s opened the door to express yourself without boundaries. I love my knowledge of film and the entire process of developing negatives and prints. I’m lucky I have these skills because newer photographers might not ever get the chance to learn them. However, technology has rendered those skills obsolete, I’m still glad I know them.

Love expressing my comparisons of the old and new forms of photography. There’s a vast difference on how it started and the tools of the present. I will never stop shooting with my camera and documenting how I see the world, but AI has given me a broader range for expression.

5) Forgive us to digress, but we want to mention an old Pittsburgh all-female punk rock band named CORPUS CHRISTI that you co-founded with old friends. Did you create much art at this time and/or assist any other bands with artwork ? 

Interestingly, what was it like playing angry punk rock songs in a mostly male dominated scene ? Any interesting stories you’d like to tell us about your time in this band ? 

I actually have quite a lot of my work on local band albums and even in Maximum Rock and Roll. All unpaid, of course. I enjoy music and would’ve felt bad for requesting money for things I was already attending, not that money was offered anyways. I’m still grateful for the opportunity. 

Playing in an all-girl band was quite an experience. I remember mostly playing for men and from my perspective, the men just didn’t know how to act seeing women playing so furiously. A lot of times they stood there dumbfounded, but when the male band went on, they’d be thoroughly enjoying it. Could have been our playing though. Hahaha…

6) If I wanted a plumber to come to my house and fix broken pipes or taps : I’d be paying a lot of money for said work – in a juxtapose how do you feel when someone wants you to spend YOUR time creating something for them and more often than not expects art for free? 

It’s a little disconcerting when someone down plays my worth. Opening the doorway to your art creates extreme vulnerability. Someone dismissing it can be deflating. Everyone is entitled to their opinion however. Opinions are like assholes, everyone fucking has one.

7) What drives you to keep on keeping on in the photography/art world ? 

I will never give up or throw in the towel where photography is concerned, no matter the obstacles I face. It’s my mental health and I can’t exist without it. I simply love it too much.

8) Any last words of advice to our readers ? Similarly, any friendly words of advice to any budding aspiring photographers / artists out there?

Thank you for your time and patience!

To anyone wanting to start out in photography, the more the merrier, I say. Just expect to put in a lot of time and energy into the craft what with all the heavy saturation of artists. Promotion is key, getting people interested is challenging and recommended if you want to expand your portfolio and resumé in the art form. My words can only be never give up on yourself, show your perspective and run wild with it.  At the very least, art can be highly therapeutic. Show more of yourself in your artwork. Take things down to the bone and really bare your soul. Someone out there will relate and thank you for it.

Thank you to BALLBUSTER for the opportunity to talk about my artwork. It’s an honor and I’m overjoyed for the opportunity. Jeanne 

All images P&C