“I always loved pictures and wildlife, but when I had a film camera, I just didn’t get into it because of the cost of development. After he got me the digital camera, I could just take photos, upload them to the computer and print them myself,” she said. “I’m mostly self-taught. I recently took a few classes and picked up a thing or two, but I don’t have a fancy camera. I just shoot on automatic settings.”
While some like taking portrait and family photos, Jeannie prefers to let nature be her inspiration, specifically the wonder of God’s creation.
“I don’t take photos of people very often. I just like to take photos of whatever I run across in nature. I have an arboretum behind my house, and it’s a wealth of opportunities. I see deer, rabbits, turtles, frogs, flowers and more,” she said.
Jeannie found out about Parsons Presbyterian Manor’s Art is Ageless program while visiting the Labette County Fair. She decided to enter, and is glad she did.
“I ran into Marketing Director Terry Lillie and saw the photos in the booth they had. I didn’t really think of my photography as art before, but why not,” Jeannie said.
With a first and second place finish last year, and a first place finish this year, it’s safe to say Jeannie’s work is not only art, but high-quality art.
“I enjoyed seeing everyone else’s work. It amazes me, that at these ages, how awesome their work is. It makes you feel good if you can accomplish something like that. Years ago, I had relatives in nursing homes and all they had to do was sit in their room and watch TV. It’s great that Parsons Presbyterian Manor has activities going on to encourage people to pursue their passion.”
Jeannie’s talents extend beyond photography. She grew up with two older brothers and was raised by her mother. They didn’t have much, and had to learn to do many things on their own, including woodworking and carpentry. She had a gift shop for five years and made most of the items she sold.
“I made toy chests, bookcases, you name it. One lady came into the shop frequently, and would show me photos from catalogs and ask if I could make it. I did woodworking 10 years after my shop closed,” she said.
Now, Jeannie spends her time working at the Baptist Church, taking photos when she can, and spending time with family, including her daughter Kelly, three grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
“I keep Noah one day a week. We walk down to the arboretum, and we take photos together,” Jeannie said. “He really enjoys it and once kept completely quiet for 30 minutes while I took photos of a heron catching crawdads in a pond. That’s pretty good for a 5-year-old!”
Jeannie encourages others to give Art is Ageless a try.
“You never know. By entering the contest, people comment and say your work is great. You could get a lot of enjoyment from it. I have,” she said.