— CONCEPTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Jasmine Durhal’s photographic work is striking. She owns the color wheel as if it was her invention, and she does so with a purposeful vengeance. What I love most about her art is how it calms you, yet pierces you all at once. As a self-taught photographer, Durhal’s photos are not only reflective of her talent, but they represent the idea that learning opportunities are inevitable with passion involved. On Jasmine’s Instagram, there is a reoccurrence of the color blue—a color of faith, stability and trust— and her bio reads “Resilience against all odds.” That really says it all, doesn’t it?
In what ways have your "struggles" contributed to your work as a photographer, rather than taken away from it?
My struggles motivate me in some weird way. If I’m lacking something…. a material, equipment or even sometimes a subject, I’m forced to come up with another way to execute the vision. Most of my favorite images in my portfolio book were a struggle to create, but you need that lack sometimes to get you to think in different, not so practical ways.
Why is it important for people to know that although you're a self-taught photographer, it does not limit your experience?
I believe self-taught photographers have the most drive. We stepped up without a teacher, coming up with clever ways to keep ourselves engaged. We managed to create that lesson plan for ourselves and even when frustrated and not able to raise our hand in a classroom, we kept going. It’s pure passion. I think that gives us more of an organic experience, paving and finding our own way–having to make your own mistakes and learning from them. At the same time remaining disciplined. That’s what art is. That’s not always easy outside of a classroom.
How did photography find you?
Photography found me in my room on the southwest side of Detroit my last year in high school, at least that’s when I acknowledged its presence in my life. I think it’s always been a part of me. I had plans then to become a fashion designer. I had an entire wall of magazine images, editorials in all these different places and color schemes. One day my grandmother mentioned, after exposing me to both sewing and photography overtime, she felt I should try photography full on. I listened to her and I’m glad I did. From there I decided to take it seriously.
Think about the first time you had a "dream" until now. I'm sure your life path has changed and gone in directions that you couldn't have imagined in both good and bad ways.With this happening, how have you not allowed your circumstances to alter your dreams or make you forget about them?
Thinking back to the beginning of my dream, I honestly imagined myself in New York, not LA. I’ve always thought that would be the only way I could do fashion. I’m honestly glad things didn’t really go the way I planned. I also wanted to finish college and having to leave school was tough for me at the time in my life. I’m pretty tough on myself at times, and when things I’ve worked for go left it can be a bit devastating. But I always end up finding a different way of achieving my task.
When school didn’t work out that’s when I decided to teach myself. I looked up every YouTube video photography related and reached out to different businesses that could help me gain experience and knowledge. I took matters into my own hands and made another way. That’s the thing with dreams, we may have a concept of how it should work, but just because it doesn’t work that way doesn’t mean it won’t. As far as LA, moving here was a leap of faith. I felt something lead me here even though New York made so much more sense. When I got here something about the city made me wonder. We don’t always need to know what will happen next.
What is the most significant thing about your still evolving story that you want people to know?
The story is still unfolding and I have so much more to do, but I’m enjoying this level. I think this year in particular has opened my eyes to what I can become, the levels I can reach, who I can inspire and the importance of my role as a woman in the field.
What's your biggest piece of advice to anyone on their life and dream path?
Stay focused, be confident in your performance and also don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you grow. Be open to new ideas, pitch them. Take your own advice. Listen to your voice before you incorporate others, scare yourself. Also, be patient. This is always hard for me, but it is the key.
How do you "Dream in HD?"
I DREAM IN HD by materializing my desires, I live in the moment and I am present in the day. I orchestrate my ideas, then act on them. I move with intention.