Chasing Light. Telling Stories.
MEET VALERIE JARDIN
“Get a good pair of walking shoes and...fall in love.” – Abbas, Magnum photographer
As stories go, Valerie Jardin’s is fairly common: raised in France, moved to the United States, buys a camera, opens her own studio, and becomes a highly acclaimed international photographer.
Through the years, Valerie has parlayed her love of photography into teaching, podcasting, speaking, writing, and exhibiting. This is her story.
The Early Years.
Raised just outside of Lisieux in Normandy, in the northwest region of France, Valerie Jardin grew up appreciating the value of the arts, photography being one of them. Admittedly, she really wasn’t interested in photography at the time even though she had a few 110 and point-and-shoot cameras growing up. Her teachers didn’t seem encouraging of any artistic inclinations while at school. However, home was a different story. You see, when most adolescents had posters of rock stars in their bedroom, she had the photographs of famed photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau adorning her walls.
Valerie went on to attend the University of Caen to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Linguistics. She wanted to teach English as a second language. As part of her program, she was awarded a full scholarship to study for a year at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. After going back and graduating from the University of Caen, she went on to the Eudine European Business School and received a degree in International Business.
After graduating, Valerie used her business acumen and linguistics training to work as an international translator for French and English publications. She did this, but life has a funny way of throwing curve balls once in a while.
Have Camera, Will Shoot
Valerie’s first interest in photography came after discovering the work of National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg. Because of his famous wolf images, Valerie was inspired to pick up a camera and make her own photographs. Her first serious camera came in 1998 when she bought a Canon EOS Rebel 35mm camera. That opened the door to her photographic endeavors, something she would be working on ever since. Later in her career, Valerie was able to meet Jim and the two been friends ever since.
Following in the footsteps of other successful photographers, Valerie is self-taught. She learned about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, and everything else by simply asking questions, reading the masters, and experimenting with the camera. After realizing her interest in photography was the next step in her professional career, Valerie took some formal lighting and post-processing classes and then finally opened her studio in 2002.
Through her in-home Minneapolis studio, Valerie would regularly shoot portraits for clients, inevitably progressing to food photography and interior photography. She was growing herself as a professional photographer in the region. So was her love of street photography, a totally different type of creative adventure.
After growing her business as much as she could, Valerie decided to expand it to include photography workshops. In 2012, Valerie offered her first workshops in Paris, France. The goal was to help students learn to see photographically and teach them the ins and outs of street photography.
Since then, Valerie has taken her camera all over the world teaching students the art of storytelling and seeing photographically in places where the people and streets abound: Paris, New York, Rome, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Normandy, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Vancouver. Although she calls the Twin Cities home, on average in any given year she logs 80,000 miles flying all over the world.
Valerie Jardin never sits still. She is always on the go and loves to try new things. Apart from teaching, Valerie has written nearly 100 articles for Digital Photography School and other publications, contributes to numerous podcasts, writes books, updates her blog, and records her own photography podcast called Hit the Streets with Valerie Jardin. She also sells fine art prints on her website.
Valerie’s talent as a photographer and skill as a business owner caught the eye of Fujifilm USA and in 2015 she became an official Fujifilm X- Photographer. In this role, she speaks at photo-related events all over the country and reviews new Fuji equipment.
The latest moniker added to Valerie’s repertoire is book author. “Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond” was self-published in 2016, "The Art Of Seeing Photographically" was published in August 2017 and "Street Photography: Creative Vision Behind The Lens" was released from Focal Press/Routledge in the Fall of 2017.
At the heart of Valerie’s work, though, is a talent to make beautiful photographs and teach others to find their photographic vision. Her work has been on display in various media outlets and inspires others to follow their passion.
What’s next for Valerie Jardin? Put on a comfortable pair of shoes and follow along. There’s room enough for everyone on her photographic journey.
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
Name: Valérie Jardin (Jar-dan)
Business Address: P.O. Box 9006 St. Paul, Minnesota 55109
YouTube www.youtube.com/valeriejardin iTunes itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hit-streets-valerie-jardin/id1155913704 Podcast: http://valeriejardinphotography.com/podcast/Photo Blog valeriejardin.wordpress.com
Although I have worked with DSLRs in the past, I now shoot exclusively with mirrorless Fujifilm equipment.
Fujifilm X100F - Fujifilm XPro2 - Fujifilm X70
- Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 WR
- Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8
- Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4
- Lensbaby Velvet 56 Additional Camera Equipment
- Lensmate thumb grip o Lucida strap
- LF Photo strap
- ONA Bowery bag
- Cosyspeed Camslinger bag
Workshops are either week-long or held over 2-3 days, usually on the weekends. I provide hands-on teaching and photo walks that immerse students in the art of seeing photographically and street photography. I also provide critiques of each student’s work.
Current International Locations
Paris, France (both week-long and weekend)
Normandy, France (week-long) Rome, Italy (week-long)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (weekend)
Vancouver, BC Canada (weekend)
Melbourne, Australia (week-long and weekend)
Current United States Locations
New York, NY (weekend) - San Francisco, CA (weekend) - Minneapolis, MN (weekend)
Chicago, IL (weekend)
San Diego, CA (weekend)
Los Angeles, CA (weekend)
Private instructional photo walks and workshops where students benefit from one-on-one guidance in the field.
Critiques online via Skype or Google+.
What is Street Photography?
I view street photography as candid or social documentary photography that includes people, or the idea of people, in a public space. “Street” doesn’t mean the literal street, too. Rather, the human element can be in a public area, like the beach or inside a building.
Photographers need to shoot with more intent and make decisions before they press the shutter. By learning to see photographically and taking control of their camera, photographers will be able to draw the eye to the subject and express their vision more effectively.
Videos and Podcasts
“Street Photography: Two Hours in a Neighborhood” Lynda.com April, 2016
A short training video that focuses on just one neighborhood to provide tips on street photography and shows how professionals shoot famous cities, like San Francisco.
“Hit the Streets with Valerie Jardin”. September 2016 – present.
“Street Focus” This Week in Photo (TWiP). 2014 – 2016. 104 episodes total.
Street Photography: Creative Vision Behind the Lens (2017)
From Routledge, this book follows the author on a photo walk around the world. It demonstrates a variety of approaches to envisioning an image, outlines the available choices, including the specific angle, the settings, and what might spur someone to click the shutter at that decisive moment. Readers learn to find a stage, to be an observer, to be part of the scene and discover the elements that make a strong photograph.
This book is available via Amazon.com and from your local bookstore.
The Art of Seeing Photographically (2017)
A 101 page book to help you learn to see photographically. Take control of your gear and create more impactful imagery. Whether you photograph landscapes, still-life, people, or anything in between, the goal of this book is to help you put more intent in your photography. Each section is filled with examples drawn from Valérie’s collection as well as assignments to give you a little push to go out with your camera and practice a new technique or learn to see in a new way. This book is available at: https://gumroad.com/l/pgvw
Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond (2016)
A 76-page e-book is designed for beginner to advanced street photographers. Helps readers get started in street photography as well as giving them tips to step up their game in order to make stronger images.
The e-book is available at https://gumroad.com/l/jGVpl.
I have written over 90 different articles for Digital Photography School (www.digital- photography-school.com). Including:
In 2015 and 2016, I was voted one of the top 20 most influential street photographers by Street Hunters (a crowdsourced international survey).
In addition, I have been interviewed for numerous photo-related magazines, blogs, and podcasts the world over. Including:
Magazine and Blog Interviews
When a Friend Inspires you (December 2017) Outdoor Photo (July 14, 2017)
Extraordinary Vision magazine, issue #17: “Street Smarts: Valerie Jardin”
Shades of Grey magazine, issue #4: “Valerie Jardin”
A Photography Life (September 23, 2016): “An Interview with Street Photographer Valerie Jardin”
Ian MacDonald Photography (September 24, 2106): “Street Photography with Valerie Jardin”
Kelby Media Light It magazine, issue #20 (2014): “Conversations in Light”
Podcast and Radio Interviews
- Interview for Behind The Shot (Jan. 2018)
- Interview for German podcast Gate 7 (Dec. 2017)
- Radio interview for KFAI 90.3 FM (Nov. 2017)
- PPN PhotoPodcastNetwork (Oct. 2017) Ep. 7
- Fujilove Podcast (Oct 2017) Ep. 22
- Street Photography Magazine Podcast (Oct 2017)
- The Candid Frame Podcast Ep. 391 (Oct 2017)
- Gina Milica Podcast Ep. 154 (August 10, 2017)
- Photofocus: The Inspiration Show (August 2016)
- Street Photography Magazine (October 2016): “Valerie Jardin – Apply Your Street Photography Approach to Other Forms of Photography”
- This Week in Photo (TWiP): regular guest host
- Digital Photo Experience (May 15, 2014): “Women in Photography”
- The Candid Frame (July 28, 2014): “Paris Street Photography w/ Mirrorless Cameras”
I have been invited to speak to various businesses and with organizations across the country. Some of these presentations include:
- Photo Plus Expo in NYC. October 27 & 28, 2017. Topic: "The Unobtrusive Street Photographer" on the Fujifilm stage (as an official Fujifilm Ambassador)
- West Photo in Minneapolis. October 21, 2017. Topic: "The Unobtrusive Street Photographer"
- Out of Chicago photography conference in Chicago, IL. June, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Topics: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond” “The Art of Seeing Photographically”
- Fujilove LIVE in New York City. February 2017. Topics: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond” “The Art of Seeing Photographically”
- Photo Plus Expo in New York, NY. October, 2015. Topics: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond” (as an official Fujifilm Ambassador)
- Foto Care in New York, NY. December 6, 2016. Topic: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond” (as an official Fujifilm Ambassador)
- Apple flagship store in San Francisco, CA. February 25, 2016. Topic: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond”
- New York City Botanical Gardens in Bronx, NY. October, 2015. Topic: “The Art of Seeing Photographically”
- Wolf Camera in Dallas, TX. August 24, 2015. Topic: “Street Photography – First Steps and Beyond” (as an official Fujifilm Ambassador)
Paris Je T’aime
Minneapolis Photo Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
June 10 – August 26, 2016
A solo exhibit that featured my street photography of Paris, France.
Still Memories and Street Life
January 6 – February 4, 2012
A still life and street photography joint exhibit with Dutch photographer Klaas van Huizen.
Over the years, my work has also been exhibited in small, local galleries and group shows around the Minneapolis area.
In addition to these art exhibitions, my work has been featured on the cover of the July 2016 issue of Fuijilove Magazine, in the March 2016 issue of MonoPix magazine (in print and online), and in a full-page back cover advertisement for Fujifilm in the September, 2016 issue of Shutter Magazine.
Photography changed my life.
The day I picked up a camera I became a storyteller. I learned to see the extraordinary in everyday life. And my passion for documenting humankind has led me to find beauty in the most unlikely of places. As a visual storyteller, photographic images are how I tell these stories. Chasing light is my desire, my obsession, my addiction.
The camera is an extension of my vision. It captures what I see. Images help me tell the story of the light I chase in the urban landscapes I visit. Every time I make an image, I capture a moment in time that will never occur again. Each frame I shoot becomes extraordinary in its uniqueness. The people. The architecture. The light. The shadows. When they come together, they form the stories of the cities that I want to show my students.
My love of humankind drives me to wander the city streets tirelessly to capture the candid moments of daily life. These are the everyday moments most people would not see. These are the moments I want to find and tell.
I thrive on searching and waiting for just the right moment when a story unfolds in a single frame; where context and subject intersect with me there, honored to tell its story to the world. And I am happiest when I get lost on purpose, and let the city reveal its magic to me. The urban landscape is always surprising me with the new stories that unfold throughout the day and into the night.
With this, photography continues to change my life.
DON’T TAKE HER WORD FOR IT ;)
"This was my second workshop with Valerie, having done a week in Rome 18 months ago which changed my photography for ever - I learned a huge amount! Valerie is extremely positive, encouraging and approachable and works so hard with all her students, adapting her teaching to suit their personalities and differing levels of experience. She is expert at revealing the essential and contrasting styles of the host cities to our lenses, and the workshops are very well planned and organised while there's also plenty of scope for variations if the group wishes for that.
I came away from this recent weekend with a wide range of images of Paris and its people that will enable me to illustrate the story of my visit. Listening to Valerie describing the visual opportunities at each location is a rich source of artistic inspiration and practical learning & revision for anybody, and so I strongly recommend her workshops to any street photographer, novice or experienced." — Mark, UK.
“It is so amazing how Valerie drives the group for each one to progress, and how she creates a very friendly atmosphere within the group. It was my first workshop ever, and I will sign as soon as possible for another one with her.” — Fabienne, Paris, France
“I have attended several of Valerie’s workshops, and always learn something new at each one. Be
prepared to walk and to experience Paris from a new point of view, and to have a wonderful time as you capture unique images of this city.” — Susan Goudge, Tennessee, United States
“Valerie is undoubtedly an outstanding street photographer but also she a remarkable trainer and a high professional organizer. She has a unique talent of transferring her knowledge sharing her experience and on the same time she has the ability to bring out the best of you. Please be aware that her passion of street photography is highly contagious.” — Vassilis Paros, Greece
“I’ve just returned home from that trip and cannot begin to describe what a positive week it was! Valérie is a terrific teacher who planned a series of amazing experiences for the group. As the week progressed, I found myself thinking about the light, the background, the story, the repeating patterns and, most importantly, the perfect person for the particular moment. The photo sharing and critique sessions were extremely helpful; learning to love black and white was game changing.” — Judy R., Vancouver, Canada
“I’ve been an admirer of Valerie Jardin’s photographic style for some time and was thrilled to be able to join her Paris Photography Workshop. She has an easy, very personable approach to teaching, which made the experience of shooting street photography less intimidating. I came away wishing the time spent was much longer, but knowing that I'd been given tools to bring my photographs to the next level.” — Eleanor Matthews, Georgia, United States
“I’m new to photography and especially street photography, so meeting up in Paris with Valerie and several very talented photographers was a great way to jump into this hobby. Valerie's expertise and ability to build a cohesive group that was able to walk the streets and share ideas and learn from each other was excellent.” — Patrick Foughty, Stuttgart, Germany
“My 15 year old daughter and I attended Valerie’s workshop because the idea of Paris and an expert photographer's tuition was a combination we couldn't let pass. The workshop was all we could have dreamt of! Fantastic locations, fabulous food, superb hotel and all shared with a wonderful group of enthusiastic people with a passion for photography.” — Mandy Robb, Australia
"I knew going into this that the workshop would be a whirlwind and I'd learn to see/shoot differently but this is simply an understatement. It took me a few days to mentally process the experience. A bonus was to meet such a supportive and talented group of photographers attending the workshop. After it was over I totally understood why people attend these workshops multiple times. It was such a fantastic experience! I wish I could articulate better what a difference it made to work directly with you but I'm struggling to define that. It was just so effortless to go onto the street and search out scenes. I felt like a kid in a candy store all day. Your teaching style made me feel at ease and eager to try everything. I'm usually the shy kid who kind of hangs in background but you and our whole group really made me feel comfortable and empowered." Ellen Brooks, ND
“The weekend workshop is a great way to start or to boost your love for street photography. Valerie is a very enthusiastic, outreaching person with a clear view on this subject which she transfers with great joy and dedication to her students.” — Mariette, the Netherlands
“Valerie’s vision is an inspiration. She exudes passion for her craft and is equally passionate about helping others learn to create images that effectively show their own vision. Her easy- going nature and sense of humour can be infectious. All in all, the week was lots of fun with my new found friends and I would do it all again.” — Jane Sheers, Australia
“I just attended my second workshop with Valerie, and once again she did not disappoint. Valerie’s workshop will push you as a photographer, you will feel immensely inspired every day, not only by the beautiful locations that she has scouted for the group, but by your fellow workshop participants and their common interest of learning and growing as artists. Valerie is a patient teacher willing to take time to explain the process involved in capturing amazing street photography images.” — Jennifer Robertson, Saskatchewan, Canada
“This is an ideal way to travel and make great photographs and memories at a very reasonable cost. This was my third workshop with Valerie and I have to say like the others, it was outstanding! The experience of photographing and seeing new places with a great group of like-minded people is truly gratifying and stress free. I learned so much and have grown and improved my skills as a photographer through this workshop.” — Chris, Quebec, Canada
“I really enjoyed Valérie’s street photography workshop. Her process puts you in a more focused state of mind and pushes you to appreciate the little details that day to day passersby often overlook and unnoticed.” — Serge M., Indianapolis, Indiana
Street Photography: Creative Vision Behind The Lens
"It is not often that you get the personal insights of a contemporary photographer. Valerie takes you through the pictures and thoughts she had while making them. Most of the photography books by great photographers have very little narrative by the authors. Even the best of them are usually written well after the photos were taken. This book is like an apprenticeship. I haven't enjoyed a photography book like this since I read Dan Winters '"Road to Seeing". Highly recommended." — Allan Morris
"Like other reviewers of this book, I am an alumnus of several of Valerie’s workshops and don’t have much to add to the extravagant-- and fully justified-- praise of her workshops. She is a remarkable photographer and teacher. Her boundless enthusiasm, generosity, and search for meaning in the images she takes is inspirational.
All of what makes these experiences so rewarding is immediately encountered in reading (and re-reading) this exceptional book. The book is concise and precise. In addition to her photographic talent, it turns out that Valerie is a wonderful writer. Everything one would want to know about street photography is covered including lots of Valerie’s unique ideas. The images are terrific and, importantly, they well illustrate the teaching points being made. Anyone interested in street photography would benefit from reading this book-- and enjoy the experience." — Byron Annis
"I started to follow Valerie on Instagram some time ago. First it was her photographs alone, then through Facebook. Valerie is one of the most generous Artists that there is. From her blogs to Podcasts, she is not only an amazing photographer, but the most generous teacher you could ever have. It is only natural that she would have a book. This book not only goes to the heart and soul of why photographers do what they do, but serves as a thoughtful guideline to why it is so important to so many. Valerie is one of the best photographers of our time, because she knows what a moment in time can present. Defiantly recommend this book to any photographer who does, or who has, or who wants to explore this subject." — Kevin Jack
"The first part of the book is an overview of methods used in street photography. She discusses her approach to street photography, which is good since I have no idea what I'm doing in that regard. There are some standard photo techniques, a bit about legal issues, and some assignments to try out. This is all good stuff, and it got me hungry for more. There were some great pointers about street photography, and the assignments gave me ideas on how to start. And then there is the second part of the book... The decisive moment clearly shows in all her work, and it's the second part of the book where you get the feel of workshop excitement. Do you know that part of a workshop where you've met everyone, you've talked a bit, you've seen some examples and you're ready and raring to go out and shoot shoot shoot? That's the entire raison d'être of this part of the book. Valérie shows you an image, then walks you through her thinking process when she created it. I felt I was walking with her, thinking about the subject in front of the camera, trying to capture that feel, that light, that magical moment. She speaks of personal feelings (the loneliness she felt when a friend could not meet her), the challenges of waiting for the right subject ('Several tourists entered my frame, but none were interesting enough...'), the satisfaction of capturing something special ('It never gets old!'). This is what makes reading her book and viewing her images inspirational... those stories behind the work that become a part of the vision and give it that personal touch that makes an image extraordinary.
Through her images and her writing, she offers the viewer a window into her thought processes, her technique, and her love of street photography and humanity. And this is powerful stuff! It's rare to find a photography book that can emulate that feeling you get as you search for inspiration. There are many books that can detail the steps of a process, but for the most part, they are dry and tedious. Step by step instructions are for manuals, not for photographic creativity. The text that accompanies her images provides emotional background and sets the scene for that creativity. If this book is any indication of what her workshops are like, I can't wait to be a part of one!." — Fotostuff
Review by Ugo Cei Photography: https://www.ucphoto.me/b/street-photography-creative-vision-behind-lens-valerie-jardin-book-review/
Review From Ian MacDonald, Vancouver, Canada: https://ianmacdonaldphotography.com/2017/12/18/when-a-friend-inspires-you/
Review by French photography lawyer Joelle Verbrugge: https://blog.verbrugge-joelle-photographe.com/street-photography-valerie-jardin/
Review on Pix International, LLC: From front cover to back, photographer Valerie Jardin’s new photo book is a winner!
Street Photography: First Steps and Beyond
“First Steps and Beyond is an absolute gem and a must read for street photographers. This ebook is so easy to read and follow and it includes beautiful photographs and examples that complement the subject and text. It covers so many broad and important topics for anyone who enjoys traveling to new places and wants to photograph with confidence in the streets.” — Chris Payant
“I just finished reading Valerie's new ebook Street Photography-First Steps and Beyond. It’s really a must read for those of us interested in learning the art of street photography. It’s well written, gives great examples through Valerie’s own images and makes a great foundation from which to begin...or get better for that matter.” — Marty Fenstersheib
“This is a wonderful book. I'm new to photography and working on learning the technicalities, but this book really helped me understand the mindset that has to accompany the technical abilities needed for good street photography.” — HJ Daugherty
“Valerie Jardin’s latest book is exactly what you need to get started with the wonderful genre of street photography, and it’s a perfect refresher course for those with experience. Jardin is an energetic and passionate teacher who leads workshops for street photography in places like Paris and Chicago and when you read her book you’ll feel that passion and it’ll excite you to get out and shoot.” — Photo Focus Review
“Jardin has written a streamlined manual for the street photography student. Tight and very well-written, Jardin doesn’t venture out into the ether with ramblings on soul-searching or ‘deeper’ purpose via street. What she has done is given us the nuts and bolts to put together our own street machine. To get the novice started on their own path with helpful, sturdy information.” — Street Hunters Review
“Valerie is an amazing street photographer, but also an amazing woman! She’s going out on her own with this new show and so far it’s a great and exciting start. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this show thrive and have no doubt it will with Valerie at the helm.” — katsanes
“With passion and wonderful sense of the world around us, Valerie continues her great interviews and discussions about photography. I look forward to the upcoming thought provoking and positive shows to come!! Any budding photographer or experienced one will love this show!” — JayTheMan13
“So very excited for Valerie Jardin’s next podcast series Hit the Streets. After listening to every episode of her previous series Street Focus I can say with confidence that this latest show will be a hit! Here's to the next 100 episodes!!!” — Ashields photo