How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? My daughter is now 19. We moved to Westport when my daughter was six because of the school and the environment.
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I’ve actually come full circle in life. I started out as a photographer in the Navy in the 90s, got into publishing when I lived in Taiwan and then back here in the States, had a food business (Nothin’ But Foods) for a decade, and now I’ve come back to my original love of photography. It’s how I best show the world how I see it.
What 3 things do you keep on your nightstand? Lotions. Way too many. I love vanilla and coconut scented lotions, so I have at least three types of hand cream on my nightstand at all times.
What’s your favorite app right now? Vanity Fair Magazine on my iPad. I love the images and I study them for inspiration for the work I want to create as a photographer.
What is one food you could not live without? Avocados. Yes, totally basic, but I grew up in Ohio and didn’t even have my first taste of guacamole until I was almost 40. Yes, 40! So, j’adore.
What are you most excited about in life right now? On March 7th, I’m having my first show of portraits at POP’T ART Gallery. This is the culmination of a project I started for AWARE (a local charity organization) in support of The Cancer Couch. I’ve met some incredible people during the making of the portraits and I can’t wait for people to see how beautiful we are.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I like quiet. I grew up in a family with five kids. It was always noisy. So, I like quiet times.
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been? That’s a hard one. I had a food business for a while and we had to sell it to another company a few years ago. I saw myself at that time building a food business that would turn into something more. I watched that dream deflate and am now watching from a distance as a company that I thought had experience and could go the distance, fail at taking a brand I created the distance. So, I have no idea. This version of me is Jerri 5.0. It’s a good version that has a few bugs that’ll be worked out in updates, but it’s working.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? Half a day at a spa after going for a good hike with my dogs. To be massaged, stretched, and pampered with a delicious meal waiting at the end would be ideal.
What is your most marked characteristic? I want to really know what people are feeling and can sometimes ask questions that may or may not be comfortable. The people who choose to answer honestly are often times the ones I want to connect with. Life is really short and no one is promised a tomorrow. Shitty conversations annoy me.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? The only vacation I’ve been on in the past 20 years was when I took my daughter to Paris five years ago. I had a little bit of money and wanted her to experience a city that was a large part of my youth. We walked a lot, I introduced my daughter to coffee, and she fell in love with it as well.
What is the best white lie you have told your daughter? Sadly, I literally don’t lie to her. When I just asked her she told me I was, “…too honest. Like, you should hold some of it back, Mom.” So, no white lies for me.
Are you a morning person, or a night owl? How does sleep fit into your life right now? I’m a bit of both. I’m going through the start of “the change,” so I’m all over the place. I also like working on editing photos and writing when the rest of the world is asleep. Weird.
What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? How much I would like living here and not making bold moves to leave it though I don’t have a purpose for living here anymore. My daughter is no longer in school and the reasons to stay aren’t here anymore in that sense, but I love my community, the environment, many people, and who my daughter is as a result of where I live. So, I’m surprised that even though I don’t blend, I am enjoying being a part of this batter.
What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? Hug Bowie and Billie. I adopted two dogs a few years ago when my daughter turned 16. They complete our family (the cats, though “great” were sort of assholes).
What is one thing you can’t leave home without? I hate saying it, but, my phone. It’s my camera and my cash in case I need to dash! That is a little rhyme.
Who in your life was – or is – the greatest inspiration for what you’re doing today? My father was an amateur photographer who shot for fun. He collected cameras and always told me the importance of telling the story with the photos you take. He passed away in 2006 and I so wish he could have lived to see what has happened in photography. I also wish he could see how much his passion has imprinted on me. Before I pick up any camera, I thank him for giving me the eye to see things and the desire to capture them for myself and others.
https://www.jerrigrahamphotography.com/about | @jerrigrahamphotography