Personal-Everyday ChaosPublished / FeaturedStudio News

being published + being grateful

By November 25, 2013 2 Comments

Sometimes I just sit in front of my computer staring at a blank screen trying to come up with the words to write a blog. Not because I don’t know what to say, but because I have SO MUCH to say…..and to be thankful for that I often times don’t know where to start. A couple years ago when I went “viral”, my name was plastered all over the web, covered by national (and international) news stations and it was a whir wind time for me. And as awesome as it was to be featured in some pretty amazing places online, in print, etc…….it amazes me that after all this time, things keep popping up and each time something is brought to my attention -whether it’s because of the bully article or just my work being featured- I get this overwhelming feeling of gratefulness.

If I’m being 100% honest, I was flat out told once (in college specifically) that there is no career in photography. I had wanted to do my internship with a photographer during my senior year of college (it was a requirement to graduate) and I was told no by my advisor. There’s no job market in that he told me at the time and he forced me to choose another avenue. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I did because I was able to study public relations with a local newspaper which really has helped me in the business world but I’ll never forget how heartbroken I was that he looked me in the face and told me that being a photographer was a long shot. I honestly think that conversation fueled the fire in me to prove him wrong…..and boy have I ever. I mean, I was the girl from the trailer park, the first one to have graduated high school in my family let alone college, I had no one in the family that was knowledgeable about entrepreneurship to guide me and then someone I was supposed to look up to was telling me that it wasn’t possible. I felt so defeated. So you can see, to some these things below might be “nothing” -but to me, and where I’ve come from, it makes me feel proud. You see, I come from a long line of people who believe you grow up to work for someone else. Being your own boss is too risky and that’s for the rich or REALLY smart people. The truth is, it’s for the people who believe in themselves and aren’t afraid to go after something……..whatever that something may be.

I’ve always said that someday I want to start a non-profit that will work with underprivileged kids educating them on how to use their own skills/talents in the entrepreneurship world to help them get themselves out of poverty. I really feel like we’d have something in common! <3 If you follow me on instagram (jenmcken) then you probably have already seen these:

punxsutawney newspaper

I came home from a weekend away to a package in the mail. It had a newspaper and a wonderful card signed by all the students of Mrs. Green’s Art class. I had face timed with them a few weeks ago talking about all things photography. I finally realized WHY she sent me the copy of the newspaper. Inside was an wonderful article about our chat. It totally made my day. The students asked such great questions and it’s apparent that there are some amazing artists in that class. I’m so proud to have lent a little bit of encouragement 🙂


This is so crazy and random. Several nights ago I got a text from a friend of mine (hayyy Licia!) whom is a teacher at a neighboring school in a different county. She said that teachers were given the book to use in their 6th grade classrooms as part of “bully proofing your school” curriculum. As she was reading it she came across MY NAME!!!! How insane….and totally random. So apparently, my story is published in a book…….so cool. Maybe I should to try to start writing the enitrety of my side of the story, and learn how to publish a book myself on the issues of bullying and how to be your true creative self!

Youth Communication (the publisher) is a New York–based nonprofit organization that teaches writing, journalism, and leadership skills to inner-city teens. Its mission is to help marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing, so that they can succeed in school and at work and contribute to their communities. I’m honored to be part of that!

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Oh how I love Overly’s. I’m so honored to have my images featured on their websites, billboards and as advertisements in magazines. Mallory also gets a kick out of seeing herself….even if she was missing a few teeth! Tee he he!

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…..and how could I not be excited about Lisa and Rick’s feature in Whirl Magazine. Not only was she a GORGEOUS bride, but they were so amazing to work with and I couldn’t be more grateful that they chose to work with *ME*!


And to my old college advisor…..neener neener neener!!!! haha!


  • Janet says:

    I am so grateful that you went “viral”. I have really enjoyed following your posts since that time. You are such an inspiration! I had a similar experience of being discouraged when I was a kid in school. My guidance counselor took me aside to lecture me on how there was no future in art. I needed to focus on a realistical career. I am now retired from spending my life in an office and regretting that I never followed my heart. I’m now trying to make it in the over-populated world of photography. I do it out of passion for the art. So, kuddos to you for living your dream!!

  • Jen McKen says:

    I once had a college advisor tell me there was no career in photography………..

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