Pictures Worth 1,000 Words-Interview with Photographer Jen Bonin


Renny Adames, Journalist & Photographer

Last week we had photo day and our photo day was much more than an ordinary photo day for our Newspaper and Yearbook Staff here at JSEC.    JSEC students had the opportunity to meet and get to know our very own professional photographer, Jen Bonin.  Jen has photographed hundreds of RI Events including the states most famous event as of late: Providence WaterFire.   Jen is not only a professional photographer but also a meteorologist and college professor.  We were so fortunate to be able to work with her for a portion of the day.   She allowed us to time,  between classes coming down to have their photos taken, to teach us  many photography techniques to use to in order to take better quality photos. Most of us on the Yearbook Staff are also are on the Newspaper Staff realize photography compliments our writing and our writing compliments our photography, they go hand in hand.

When speaking with Jen, she discussed her professional relationship and friendship with Barnaby Evans, the creator of Water Fire.  Jen has been one of the chief photographers of Waterfire, downtown Providence for years.  Jen is not only a photographer for this event but also volunteers for the event and is going above and beyond by cooking food for all the volunteers at a huge breakfast this weekend as a show of appreciation to their hard work.

WaterFire is the award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans presented on the rivers of downtown Providence, RI. It was first created by Evans in 1994 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence, and has since become an annual public art phenomenon.-Wikipedia

Following photo day we had the chance to interview Jen Bonin which proved to be a very interesting interview for sure.

INTERVIEW WITH:  Photographer Jen Bonin

Pictured: Photographer Jen Bonin & JSEC student Renny Adames
1. Whats made you want to go into photography?
I have been taking pictures since I was 5 years old. Film for 30 years. Digital for 10.
2. Would you ever do it full time?
Never. I was a chef for 20 years because I USED to love to cook. Now I do not even like to boil water. If I hated photography, it would break my heart.
3. Besides photography what other hobbies do you have?
I am a college geography professor. I am also a master cartographer. I also enjoy boating, metal work, jewelry making, volunteering, and driving.
4. What is the worst thing about photography?
People with cell phones getting in my way.
5. Where did you go to college?
Johnson & Wales (Associates)
Rhode Island College (Bachelors)
UMass Amherst (Masters)
University of Southern Mississippi (PhD)
6. What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Social Interaction and helping others
7. What brand name or non name brand gear is the best and most affordable for a photographer?
8. How did you know you wanted to become a photographer?
I am not a photographer. I am a geography professor who likes to take pictures. I really only take pics for non-profits and charities. I very rarely take money.
9. Is there anything you would like to photograph but haven’t yet?
The Milky Way, Auroras, and Star Trails.
10. In your opinion, what makes a picture worth a thousand words?
The feeling it evokes in those who see it.
11. Among all the pictures you have taken, which one is your absolute favorite?
I have 2.  Here is just one of them:
12. Whose work has influenced you the most?
Hard to say. I have pretty much been on my own with taking pictures all my life. However, my favorite photographer of all time is Ansel Adams due to my love of National Parks.

At the end of the interview Jen wanted to point out that she is easily accessible.  Jen can be contacted for special events, photo questions, or photo day picture orders with the information listed below:

Jen Bonin Photography

Providence, Rhode Island

[email protected]


Upon conclusion of time with Jen she gave some additional helpful hints that included lighting tips, lens types, grainy vs. clear photos, & different types of cameras.  She also concluded she learned most of what she knows that’s useful from You Tube videos.  She stressed she loves what she does and does what she does and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.