Jennifer Doohan is a British photographer. In 2016 she decided to realise her dream of moving to Italy and become an English teacher. She has been living in the Bel Paese ever since, keeping up with photography and the many challenges it involves when doing it professionally.
You are a photographer, and passionate about sport photography. Did the passion for photography or that for sports come first?
I am a Photographer and a Retoucher. My passion for photography started at around 15 years of age taking photos of sunsets from my bedroom window with a webcam. I eventually went on to study photography at University. I’ve always been drawn to documenting life. For example: I had a period of street and travel photography which I am proud of. As a cyclist for over 10 years I started photographing what I was passionate about. My first photoshoot was in 2015 where I, along with two other photographers photographed the all-female cycling club I was a member of. I didn’t see my own cycling experience as woman reflected back at me in the media and I wanted to change that in some small way.
Were you already established as a photographer before you moved to Italy? If yes, how did the move affect your profession?
I wasn’t really established as a photographer before moving, it’s a constant process of chasing work and making contacts and I don’t know when I’ll feel properly established. When people start calling me I suppose! Photography isn’t my full time job, especially with sports, it’s all so seasonal and you have to know the right people! For quite a while I wanted to move from behind the screen as a full-time Retoucher and be the creator – the story teller! I realised I really enjoy it and have produced some work I am very happy with. Moving to Italy has given me the freedom to work as a photographer, before I didn’t have that!
How is everything going? I know that photography is a hard sector to be in in these times…what part of your profession is easiest at the moment? What are the challenges you face?
Everything is… going, slowly! I am teaching a bit of English, freelancing for companies in the UK and just trying to puzzle together a life of which yet I don’t have all the pieces. Photography isn’t my primary work and nothing about it is easy. What I will say is that it’s easier to find creative work if you are truly, visibly passionate about doing it because it comes through in what you do.
In terms of challenges, there are many. Knowing what I do now, I have actually questioned why I chose to come to a country / economy where its young people are leaving to find work. The creative industry is so niche, and in the UK I have a solid network of people that I have created through experience and hard work. But here it’s growing in its own way. You have to be resilient and very, very determined and I am just starting to get things moving really. For now I am happy to exploit my versatility and hopefully this summer I can get some work as a bike tour guide too. I am hopeful that this time next year I’ll have more of a solid, predictable work schedule. That would be fantastic!