Jill Beth Hannes, Photographer
Jill Beth Hannes is a photographer and dream-weaver we're very taken by. Her work is intensely enigmatic and eerie, at once beautiful and haunting. We love her stunning pictures and especially her thoughtful, honest and inspiring responses - thanks Jill Beth.
What do you do?
I’m an artist and photographer based in Los Angeles.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
I have a quote by Guillaume Apollinaire that I got in a fortune cookie that I have on the wall next to my bed.
"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” I need to remember to be in the moment, to be happy with my life as it is. I’m always wanting to be better and I compare myself to others a lot. Life is so brief that I really need to remember to be happy in this day to be proud of what I’ve already accomplished.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
The biggest milestone would have to be that I’m five years sober. I would not be able to be an artist if I were still drinking. Which is funny because I grew up with this mindset that I needed to be self-destructive to be a great artist. When I was drinking, there was no room in my life for art. Now I try to live my life day by day and each day is a milestone.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently finishing my first book with images from my series “Strange Women.” I’m very excited to see a project that I’ve been working on for five years come together in one book! I’m also starting a new photo series this month that I hope to have a gallery show for. I would also love to create a short video this year.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
People are always surprised when I tell them I was a cheerleader in Highschool!
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
Working for exposure is a huge one. It's so hard to get paid in the field of photography now let alone make a living.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
What’s your guilty pleasure - Little Women LA on Lifetime. I can’t get enough.
What is your dream project?
I would love to create a film! I’ve been really interested in directing and seeing my visions come to life through a moving screen.
What places are important to you?
My bathtub is very important to me. It's my time to just sit and relax and let my mind wander a bit. I also really love going to Texas. That's where my family is from and I’m always inspired by the open landscape and the small towns that seem to be stuck in time. There is something comforting yet really eerie about them that I love to capture in my work.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
I don’t know if it's advice but I recently had an experience that has really shaped me. I just had my first baby on April 1, but when I was 19 weeks pregnant I almost lost him and was put on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy. I just remind myself how precious life is and how incredible it is that we are here and get to experience this world. Instead of constantly thinking about “making it” in the photography world to just be thankful that I can shoot, that I found something I love and just enjoy creating. That's what it's about, the joy we find in our passions.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I don’t have a lot of close friends that are in my same field but I will say for all its faults, Instagram can be a huge source for finding other supportive female photographers. I have to say that #GirlGaze Project has been so supportive of my work and I’m so grateful for Amanda de Cadenet for creating such a supportive group of female photographers.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
I remember the first time I saw The Shining I felt so incredibly inspired by the look and feel of the movie that I wanted to create a world that felt similar. Also, when I was first introduced to Mary Ellen Mark’s photographs in high school, it confirmed my dream of becoming a photographer. The emotion she was able to capture is a constant inspiration.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
I’m currently listening to the podcast Strangers by Lea Thau. It's so great and the stories of the people she interviews are amazing