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Ring Ring; Real World? It’s Elizabeth calling

The real world. Something I’ve had the luxury of only imagining. It’s quite threatening actually, to be at the cusp of such a steep cliff. There you stand, toes over the edge, seeing all the wholesome people free falling before you, learning to fly. I’ve only ever heard about what’s to come, it’s so hard to really understand how it will play out. We embark on different paths though; we once would have stood still together in the same place, even called the same walls home. I wonder if we will rise together in this “real world”, or get sucked into entirely different vortex’s of existence.

Talking to professionals is like peeping through a portal of what could be. Can I be them? Did they feel like me? Should I go their way? They’ve forged a way leading by example. So what can I take from it?

Jennifer VerMeulen grew up in Saint Clair Shores. She started pursuing photography in the 10th grade as a hobby. Throughout her journey through college at Central Michigan she dreamed of all sorts of outcomes; at first she pursued fashion merchandising and design, then after deciding she wanted a more grounded position finished school in the event management program.

When she graduated from CMU she started work at a non-profit organization in Grand Rapids, where she was given the responsibility of planning a fashion show. After taking notice of her skills a local shop asked her to coordinate their annual fashion show. After this they took her on as a content producer and retail assistant in the store.

Moving forward she began providing the owner of the boutique valuable information in the fundamentals of creating a strong instagram aesthetic that’s appropriate for businesses. Though she liked her position at Lee And Birch, she still didn’t feel it was the right fit. She began to pursue other boutiques in the area, including one in Holland that sold wedding gowns.     

This whole time Jen was building her portfolio with models she was meeting, eventually breaking into her own company, Jennifer VerMeulen Photography. Her style is edgy, sophisticated, intricate, with a dreamy flair. She has mastered the art of trying just enough to catch your eye and examine the dynamic elements of a fashion photo. This is important for retailers. The photograph has to stop the consumer before they can appreciate the clothing. This makes a content producer valuable to any small business trying to take advantage of free advertisement on social media platforms.

“There was one time I shot every day for 30 days. Different models, different clothes, different places. I just wanted to build my archive so big that I could start over. Be new, and fresh. I was ready to be it.” VerMeulen said.

Jen has continued to create content and based on her own business recently moved to Detroit. On the side she’s a freelancer for The Eightfold Collective, which supports Detroit based music artists. Responsibilities include taking studio shots for album covers or social media, and creating music videos, coordinating their backdrops.

Aside from working with The Eightfold, she is now contracting two different boutiques under her company name and specializes in creating presets, styling shoots, and creating business profiles that are artistic and profitable, following social media analytics.

Talking to Jen was like looking through a peephole, and with her advice I have a much better idea of how to get started. She has proven that you can still make it in this internet age if you let shine what you find imperatively important to the creative process. Jen’s work is lighting the way for young producers in the instagram age.

Each person that you meet has great advice to give. When you find those that share something dear to you, their ideas can inspire a spark you’ve always had, but didn’t know how to cultivate.

Perched on this cliff, terrified of the unknown, about to jump; I’m going to take a deep breath, ride the rush, and fly into the unknown.

My name is Elizabeth. ​ I attach weight to serendipity. ​ I am a passionate seeker; a quaint dreamer. ​ I am a 22 year old aspiring multimedia journalist. I was raised in Michigan, but call many places my home. I am studying photojournalism at Central Michigan University, minoring in family studies. My expected graduation date is May 2019. ​ Throughout the learning process and self-discovery I have found curiosity to be my greatest ally. And this is how I see the world; through an open mind and rose colored shades.
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