Jessica Risinger's Blog bio picture
  • My Photography Style

    Natural, relaxed, and sprinkled with character...all about who you are on the inside (where it really matters.)
  • Why Lifestyle Photography?

    I love, love, love snapping photos that tell a STORY. In the same manner, I love antiques because they have a hiSTORY to them--a family that once enjoyed them and left a mark on them. Through my photography, I hope to show the marks you are leaving on your family. Marks of love and the joys of real life.

Rollerblading {Collierville, TN Photographer}

I am about to do it.  I’m about to roll up the garage door and bare the messy chaotic contents of our garage for the whole world to see.  Brace yourself.  It is messy.  And as a documentary style photographer, I’m ok with it.  As a person who likes order, well, I’ve just somehow formed a blind eye when I walk through it.

In an artistic way, I love how my boys get lost in some of these photos because there is so much stuff around them.  All the color, all the clutter, yet still my eye is drawn to them.  It’s drawn to the the shadows the sun is casting in one of the most dreary Januarys that I can remember.  What I’ll remember more than the clutter is how the boys are eating after school snacks, dancing and being goofy, and enjoying time together.  They are actually hugging and helping each other when they fall.  But let’s be honest, just like my garage is less than tidy, our lives are not always this jolly and joyous.  I’m still learning to let my son wear shorts when it feels like 9 degrees outside.  We still have daily meltdowns when things don’t go our way (myself included).  And while I love order, I also like to enjoy what’s happening in front of me.  So join me in letting things get a little messy so you can enjoy the moment.  Call your mess “art” and see what you can create today that might make a cold, dark January day feel like the sun is shining and casting beautiful shadows all around you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Locks of Love {Memphis, TN Photographer}

There is a common theme running through my photography.  It may appear as a background thought that doesn’t necessarily jump off the pages at first, but it’s there, and it’s on purpose.  I like to photograph character.  Not in the sense of a person who plays a role.  But character as in the manner in which someone conducts himself.  What is going on on the inside that makes them do what they do.    How they act.  How they respond.  It flows from the heart.  We’ve all heard that the content of someone’s character is a much better judge than what they look like on the outside.  That’s where I see the beauty.

When this childhood friend told me what she had planned, I could already see the beautiful story in front of me.  She wanted me to tell her story about hair.  Long hair, short hair, and no hair.  It sounds crazy, even weird at face value.  But the strand that weaves through this story is about love.  About how a daughter, with the weight of her hair lifted,  loves her mother so much, she stands along side her as she battles cancer yet again.  The two of them have proven their strength individually over the years in ways neither knew they had in them.  Put them together on a team, and I’m sure the forces of cancer better look out.

My prayers to this family for many times of joyous laughter with short hair.  Deep, meaningful hugs with no hair, and the opportunity to grow it all back as bountiful locks of love.

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Thanksgiving Dinner {Olive Branch, MS Photographer}

Courtney asked me if I would consider photographing her “large and loud” family at one of their gatherings.  She didn’t want “anything posed and formal, just looking to capture her special family moments and interactions.”  Well basically I screamed “YES” over our online messaging.  She was speaking my language for sure.  While I was so excited that it just fit into my schedule before we headed out of town for our super-secret Thanksgiving surprise for our boys, she was keeping this a secret from most of her family.  I managed to arrive a bit early (earlier than Courtney), rang the doorbell and was greated by one of the most hospitable families I have ever met.  Nana invited me in from the gloomy rain.  She was not at all alarmed that an extra guest whom she had never met had just showed up to participate in her family’s Thanksgiving.  She introduced me to everyone else, I was handed a cup and a Sharpie marker to put claim on my own drink, and then was engaged in conversation with people I have never met before.  How in the world was that interaction not awkward?  I just showed up to their Thanksgiving dinner.  A complete stranger!  Courtney’s cute niece let me know she was in on the surprise.  We giggled as everyone continued to welcome me as “Courtney’s neighbor.”  Then Courtney arrived.  As they gathered together, hand in hand to introduce new friends, family, a new fiancé, and then say the blessing, Courtney revealed that in fact I was her neighbor.  And while I did have my own cup and was told to eat probably a dozen times, I was there to photograph their family.  To capture this special time for them.  A lot has changed for them in the last several months, the loss of a precious Papa, and Courtney wanted to remind them of the blessing that family is.

Nana let me know what a wonderful man her husband was.  I believe it too.  The way this family gathers often to celebrate each other, it is evident that they were led by example.  Nana and Papa are leaving a legacy to their children, testifying to the importance of family, of community, and of opening their doors and arms to anyone who shows up on their front step.

 

 

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A family that plays together… {Germantown, TN Documentary Photographer}

I always go into a photo shoot expecting to have fun.  They way I approach photography is a far cry from the posed studio shots I endured as a child where the photographer would tickle my nose with what very well could have been a feather duster.  The way my photo shoots unfold would  likely send that photographer into a tizzy.  They are not planned out, nobody sits still in one spot, and we are very likely to acquire grass stains on our knees in the process.  It’s almost like I get to be that favorite aunt who comes to play and laughs when you stand on the furniture or when when you wrestle your sibling to the ground.  I’m really not sure who had the most fun during this shoot.  But I will take it as one of the greatest compliments when a boy asks his mom if Ms. Jessica is coming back again this weekend to take pictures in the front yard.  I think it’s safe to say he had fun.

Look at these photos.  Then look at them again and again.  Go beyond what you see at face value and study the story that unfolds.  See how they cuddle together.  How her hair cascades down her back in beautiful curls.  How their mommy and daddy have given them a safe haven to grow in, and how it is reflected in their freedom of expression and enjoyment of the moment.  It is priceless!

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Down on the farm

The contents of these photos will never get old to me.  The cuteness of a Welsh Corgi rounding up her herd, the smell of a horse barn, hair wildly dancing in the golden sunlight of an afternoon gallop, the purr of a kitten, family being together.  It is undeniable that these parents love their girls with their whole being.  And I’m happy for them that it is reflected in the beautiful young ladies they are raising.  Yes, they are quite stunning on the outside, but I am even more impressed with the sweet joys that radiate from their souls and shine in how they act with each other, and even with their pets.

Thank you K Family for allowing me to be a part of your family time, and to experience the joys of your life with you.

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