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Art & Life with Janet Duszak

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janet Duszak.

Janet, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Although I didn’t pick up my first professional camera until just a few short years ago, my love of photography traces back to as long as I could remember. Growing up, I’d never leave home without one of those little point and shoot cameras, or if I’m being honest here, probably even a few handfuls of disposable cameras. I’d develop all of my photos and hang them all over my wall before we had these virtual walls we post all over our social media. I took a photography course in high school, and I haven’t stopped honing my Photoshop skills and learning new ones since then.

It was when I went to Europe a few summers ago that I realized I need to invest in a professional camera. I love travel, and the cell phone photos weren’t going to cut it anymore. I wanted to beautifully capture my memories around the world, and so I enrolled in a course to begin learning some fun new skills. Shortly after, a few friends asked me to take their maternity and family portraits. I found that each photoshoot lead to another one, and I discovered that people became my favorite subjects to capture.

Fast forward about a year and more photoshoots than I can count, I found my focus to be couples. I love and want to be the photographer to capture the entire story, from the proposal, to the engagement, to the wedding. After assisting one of the most amazing wedding photographers in the industry, and then shooting my own this past year, I found that my focus and passion is with couples on their wedding day.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a natural-light, portrait photographer always searching for the best photoshoot locations throughout Chicago. I consider myself a people-centered photographer because I strive to capture the feelings of the moments being celebrated. When a couple is expecting their first child, I love capturing those final moments as just husband and wife before their lives change forever. I love being the one who gets to spend a day with a senior who has been looking forward to what might be her first professional portrait session and making her feel as beautiful and special as she deserves to feel every single day. When a couple becomes engaged, I love hearing the story of how they met, how their relationship evolved, how he proposed and then telling their story through my photos.

When people look at my portrait galleries, I hope they feel the same joy in the stories being told through them. Likewise, I imagine that the couples and families that I photograph will look back on these times in their lives and remember the special little moments of what they were celebrating.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
One of the biggest challenges I see facing artists today is comparison to others. Looking for where originality and personal creativity in portrait photography intersects with a modern style can be difficult in a market saturated with amazing photographers.

I have found, however, it can be inspiring to look at other photography and work towards continuous growth and improvement. I’ve always believed in community over competition. And luckily, in just a little over a year, I have met some of the most wonderful artists, photographers, and entrepreneurs who are committed to uplift and empower one another throughout this journey.

My advice is to remember your purpose and stay positive. Your work is valued and important, and the rewards will outweigh the struggles.

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