When I was about 8 years of age, I loved picking up my little 110mm camera and snapping photos of my stuffed animals, barbies, anything that I could give an imaginary situation to at that age. My mother would go develop about 8 to 10 of those rolls of film that I just snapped, and to her surprise, no photos of people or anything interesting to her. Of course then, we didn't have the convience of digital photography in the 80s. I remember always going through family photo albums and being very inspired and enlightened by my great Aunt Misty's photographs. She was amazing and would capture the very essense of life. 

I knew I wanted to take photos just like her, even though I've only met her a few times in my life, and then she passed away when I was about 11. 

Another inspiration was my father, my childhood memories even up to when he passed away {in 2010}, was that he always took photos and always had a semi-professional camera with him. When I graduated highschool in 1999, my gift from him was a Canon EOS 1-film, with a lens kit and telephoto lens from him. 

I then went off to Burlington County College to study, well, I wasn't sure. I just went for Liberal Arts, and my amazing mother paid for my way through all the years of college for me. Thank you mom! 

 The college didn't have photography as a major at the time, so I fulled my schedule up with Black and White Film courses! I would spend hours in the darkroom, just to get that right print and exposure, walking out with only a hand full of photos! But my experience there was amazing, even though it was just a minor. I had very caring and talented professors, who exposed me to lighting techinques and such.  Later after I graduated I didn't continue on to another college, I then took my path towards my dancing. I was very much into Breakin', if you don't know that term, I mean breakdancing. I then continued down that path of dancing, which lead me to touring the world, teaching dance worldwide, dancing at so many amazing shows with another talented dancers, especially meeting my husband, and lastly performing for Madonna in September of 2010. I believed that to be my accomplished goal for that dream. 

 In 2011, the day before my 30th Birthday, I was in a car accident, someone ran the red light, sending me spinning in the road and my car was a total loss. It's now July and I still have been seeing my chiropractor since Feb, 3 to 3 times a week. I haven't danced since that night. So, not that I thought my hope was gone for that, of course I still was very much in love with dancing. But my career as a dancer had faded and come to a completion. 

 So I picked up my camera, even though I never really put it down, I picked it up and gave complete focus to that and only that. I already had my Canon 400D {Rebel Xti } with a broken standard lens. So I purchased a 50mm f1.8 and started to play. I then purchased a 430 exii speed flash, and shortly after another lens 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 and another speed flash. This was all in a spread of 4 to 5 months. I didn't have much money because I work part time delivering groceries. 

 My very first paid shoots came from the dancing community in which I built in over 12 years of my life. They needed headshots, portfolios, etc, and I wanted the expierence. Plus I didn't charge much because I felt I wasn't " professional" enough. Yea passion since 8, took film in college... still meant to me that I wasn't experienced enough to charge alot.

I shot my very first wedding, as the main photographer, on the beach of LBI for Tiffany and Keith(Kelley's brother), they were through a very good friend of mine Kelley & Gene, I used to teach their daughters Devon and Shelby over at Dance Xperience. It was a success, I had my friend Steph, another aspiring photographer, as my 2nd shooter. It was a low-key relax and fun wedding! 

I did my 2nd  wedding June 18th 2011, for a friend Domencia and Ben.I met them through my good friends Ricky and Tina. It was a very fun experience. I shot about 1600 photos and they were very pleased.  I was very happy for the experience. 

I have another wedding planned Aug 20th in NYC, I'm very excited! 

I then started to book clients of all kinds left and right! I was so overwhelmed. 

 

I then registered for Rawartists.org and I received a call the very next day from Fredricked the director , telling me they have a spot to fill for the upcoming Art Showcase in PHilly and would I be interested to take the spot!!! YES of course, what an amazing experience!!!  I then quickly found a spot that did prints for a reasonable prints for me, and my bestfriend Jeny is helping me alot with my " set up " at the show. I'm so grateful that I have sold out all my tickets and more to the show! Thank you everyone for your support! My husband is so excited for me, he always supports me and is always my #1 fan! 

  The show is August 4th, 2011 Thursday, stay tuned for details. 

 

 And the rest is to the future in the making... 

 

- J Renee Collazo