Jina Morgese is a portrait and commercial photographer working in Sarasota, Florida. She also uses Florida's famous colorful urban and natural landscapes in her visual storytelling. She studied photography at a Ringling College of Art and Design.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
It's all about stealing from the world around us, and, like all great endeavors, trying to find meaning. I was 14 and a family member gave me a Minolta 35 mm and told me that she wanted to give it to someone who was "going to be a photographer." My first time in the darkroom I realized this was magic. My style is ever-changing, developing and chasing that magic, that is what got me to where I am now.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
We are products of the world around us. Although we each contribute to creating our shared culture, ultimately our art is shaped by our surroundings.
How do you choose your subjects?
There are both objects and times that leap out and are so striking they cannot be ignored and have to be preserved in an image.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
I assisted Alessandra Sanguinetti, a Magnum photographer, in New York City in 2010, and it completely revolutionized the way I thought about photography. That was an incredible influence. William Eggleston is another influence.
Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of?
I live near my alma mater, and going out with peers and friends to shoot is a great source of inspiration. Working with others is really invigorating.
Where do you go to draw inspiration?
Watching light and color move, change, and dance, especially at sunset, is a fantastic source of inspiration; conversely, industrial areas can have especially interesting subject matter. These mixed with a South Florida backdrop give me my ideas.
Do you feel creatively satisfied?
Only for a little while after shooting something that comes out just right, but satisfaction is fleeting and compels me to keep shooting, to keep moving.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I'm collaborating with Katie Bell at Green Fuse gallery in Westport, Ireland and we're doing an exhibit this coming August. It's called "I Am Not An Object." And we're replicating classic paintings. We want to give these images a twist to help bring awareness to equality and women's rights, especially in Ireland.