Jennifer Rose Keany
By Judy Bass
Being a photographer is not an easy job but it is certainly is a rewarding one. Just ask Jennifer Rose Keany of Holbrook, who has made it (especially fashion photography) her profession – one that she obviously loves, has an immense natural flair for, and excels at.
At 26, Keany’s list of credits is already impressive. Her work has been published in magazines in New York, Canada, Boston, the United Kingdom, and by Vogue Italia online; her clients have included NASCAR and Staples; and Keany earned creative photographer honors in 2012 and 2013 at the Boston Fashion Awards.
She is among 70 local artists whose work is on display at Discover Quincy’s Pop Up Art Gallery, which is part of the 50 Days of Freedom Program Series. The gallery’s final night is Friday, July 31. Located at 64 Ross Way, it is open to the public from 6-10 pm. Admission is free.
The fashion photos on Keany’s web site, www.jenniferrosekeany.com, showcase her mastery of color, lighting, and other key elements that bring out the mystique of her subjects, who are professional male and female models. Keany is a virtuoso at conjuring up moods of sensuality, playfulness, exotic allure, or whatever is the necessary emotional backdrop for that particular assignment.
It all began for her at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, where she studied cosmetology. Attending Blue Hills “was a way to get a trade under my belt,” she explained. Although her career path led her in another direction after she graduated in 2007, Keany said she benefited from having her cosmetologist’s license because she can expertly pinch-hit if a hairdresser or makeup artist doesn’t show up for one of her fashion shoots. Some states, she said, will not even allow a photographer to do a model’s hair or makeup without a cosmetologist’s license, so it’s a helpful credential.
“It’s nice to have that skill,” Keany noted. “I could be a one-man band.”
By the time she was in her senior year of high school, her nascent interest in photography was asserting itself. Keany had a point-and-shoot camera and she started taking classes in black-and-white film after school at Massasoit Community College, right next door to Blue Hills. In addition, a school friend of hers showed her the intricacies of Photoshop, the versatile software that is widely used to work with digital photos.
There was no mistaking Keany’s affinity for what she was learning. “I just fell in love with the process,” she declared.
Keany stayed at Massasoit for a year taking random art and business classes before she enrolled in a two-year program at the New England School of Photography in Boston. The next few years were hectic and productive for her.
Keany graduated in 2010, freelanced for a couple of years, did photography for a modeling agency in Boston, worked for Fuzion Magazine in New York (a trendy publication about music, fashion, celebrities, and lifestyle news geared to “the urban woman”), shuttled back and forth between Boston and Manhattan, and even did some dog walking on the side.
She then landed a gig as an image specialist at Staples, the office supply chain, working on their web site, ads, and catalog. Today she calls it “a great learning experience.”
Now, Keany is globetrotting to far-flung places such as Italy, Iceland, and Norway, along with taking jaunts to domestic locales like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Vermont, as she shifts her focus to doing landscape photography, florals, and travel photography.
As for her own role models in the industry, Keany admires the late, legendary Richard Avedon, whose idiosyncratic celebrity portraits and fashion photography pushed the traditional boundaries of the medium, as well as British-born Lara Jade, a New York-based fashion photographer whom Keany calls her “absolute favorite.”
“There’s a lot of greats out there,” she acknowledges.
Keany may someday join their ranks. For the moment, she says she wants to produce work that people can relate to.
This soft-spoken, self-effacing young woman intends to keep perfecting her craft every step of the way.
‘There’s always something to learn. One of the greatest teachers in life is my art. You just have to keep shooting and going toward what is pulling you and fueling the fire.”