HARLINGEN — Janine Marie Campbell captures life’s moments through the lens.
Campbell is the owner and talent at Janine Marie Photography, a photo studio located at 109 S. J St. in Downtown Harlingen.
Recently, she embarked on the task of capturing the stories of some of our local veterans.
Q: How did you get into photography and how long have you been a photographer?
A: I got into photography through watching my mother, aunt and grandfather, who all own professional cameras.
My grandfather was a professional photographer back in the 30s and early 40s. He had a photo booth in a furniture store as a way to put himself through medical school. He charged 10 cents to sit in front of his lens and get a photo.
My aunt loved nature and submitted pictures to Texas Highways Magazine and others. When my aunt passed, I inherited all her camera equipment and that is where it all started, in the 8th grade. I have been a hobbyist since then but a professional photographer since 2007.
I pick that year because it’s the year I found myself needing to charge someone. I had been taught to start a business the right way, pay your taxes and join the chamber. So that’s what I did. Before I charged anyone I got my DBA, tax ID and a few weeks later had my ribbon cutting. It was the coolest feeling to have a legitimate business and become part of the community.
Q: What is The Pride of America Project?
A: Pride of America is a project that started with a sense of urgency about being storytellers to the generation who helped build this nation. Through iconic images I collect of military service members clutching the flag, they remember and we honor the sacrifice they and their fallen brethren have made. The collection of images will be put together into a collection of commemorative coffee table books.
Q: Why Valley Veterans?
A: The Rio Grande Valley is known historically for having a high recruitment level. Add that to the Winter Texan community we have and you get a melting pot of veterans dating back to WWII, Vietnam, Korean War and more.
Q: When photographing people, places, and things, where do you get inspiration from?
A: Everyone and everything in this world has been uniquely, beautifully and wonderfully created. I get inspiration directly from the person, place or thing in front of me. I think most photographers would agree that each moment is as unique as the next and it’s my job to capture life and the world in order to leave a visual story behind.
Q: If there was one person, place or thing you would most like to photograph, what would it be?
A: Hands down my favorite thing to capture with a lens is High School Seniors. The future, right in front of me. Their accomplishments, dreams, aspirations are shared so that images can be more personal and accurately reflective of who they are as an individual. As a result, I have formed relationships with some of them that carry me to their wedding, their first child and headshots for their new jobs. It’s like being a big sister to them in some shape or form and being part of their family. Portraiture is a gift for the future; I just try to ensure history is recorded every time I press the button.