Jhenn Watts is an ardent photographer whose captured moments offer windows into the true essence of the Vineyard landscape. Classically trained in photography, Jhenn worked with Aberlardo Morrell and Nicholas Nixon, from whom she learned the absolute stress on composition that has since become a distinct element of her work. Jhenn embodies the purist ideal; when she frames an image in her lens it is with perfect clarity and intention, which she achieves by “looking at all four corners,” and using the borders of the film as a visual frame.
For Jhenn, composition is paramount. She strives to maintain the “integrity of the image,” the reality of that exact moment in time, while documenting a constantly shifting landscape. She shoots in full sun, against all the rules, resulting in strikingly bold juxtapositions of deep shadows, crisp colors and stunning views. “I like the sharp, harsh shadows and lines,” she says.
Jhenn uses transparency film to help achieve this contrast, employing it to reveal the “reality” of what she is shooting. Playing with the 4x5” film, she constantly finds ways to illustrate the island from unique perspectives. Jhenn’s newest work is a departure from classic landscape photography. Here she begins to abstract her images of the local scenery by flipping the image to confuse the eye, while maintaining symmetry in a deliberate alternation of reality. With this new work Jhenn has branched out beyond the sea and sand, taking architectural images and iconic barns faded into black and white, which are reminiscent of old sepia images but still carry her distinctive eye for the unusual hidden in the routine.