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Tottenham photographer excited to be back in action

July 3, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Many photographers were eager to restart their businesses earlier this month under Ontario’s Stage 2 Reopening Plan.

Jennifer Gilbert, an accredited full-service photographer from Tottenham lobbied with the Professional Photographers of Canada for the profession to be included under Ontario’s reopening plans and is thrilled about their recent success.

Since the reopening of her photography business on June 12, she’s been hosting a fundraiser for Stevenson Memorial Hospital where she donates the sitting fee of her graduation portrait sessions to its redevelopment fund.

“My family was actually in a car accident back in February and I ended up spending 10 days at Stevenson and the staff were absolutely amazing,” Gilbert said.

“They didn’t get annoyed with me every time I needed something, the nurses were great, and they just did a really good job at trying to keep everybody happy,” she added.

“The hospital has always kind of had a special place in my heart and I really think this community deserves a new one and we need it.”

During Gilbert’s photography career, she’s also worked with the not-for-profit charity Dream Takes Flight for three years.

The organization takes children facing medical, mental, or physical challenges down to Disneyland or Walt Disney World for a day, every year.

“I was their in-flight photographer, I stayed with them the whole day and just would photograph them having fun on the rides and having fun with each other,” Gilbert smiled.

“That was an absolutely amazing experience to be able to do that.”

Gilbert said from a very young age she loved taking pictures but only in the last 12 years has she turned her passion into a full-time career.

“I started getting more into it more in my 30s when I was home with my kids – it sort of started as ‘that mom with a camera’ in the beginning,” Gilbert recalled.

“As time went on, I realized that I really enjoyed photographing kids and families.”

Being able to capture the connection and love that a family has through a photograph is one of the best parts about doing family portraits, Gilbert explained.

She has been a South Simcoe Arts Council (SSAC) member for roughly four years and joined the board of directors early on in 2019, before being selected as Vice President last September.

The Arts Council is incredibly diverse and multi-faceted, with a wide range of mediums such as painting, writing, photography, sculpting, pottery, jewellery making, fabric art, and wood turning.

Through the SSAC, artists can showcase their work at the Forty-One Art Market in Alliston as well as at their various events throughout the year.

“There’s also networking opportunities, there’s lots of learning opportunities, we provide workshops, not currently, but when we can, just to learn how to do different things,” Gilbert noted.

The strategic direction of the SSAC is to help artists run their businesses and create a stronger presence online.

“With a lot of artists, they’re great at what they do, but the business side of things is a little bit harder for them,” Gilbert explained.

The arts council has hosted social media seminars to assist its members with promoting their art through Instagram or Facebook.

“What it comes down to is people buy things from people they know, like, and trust, so having social media there, it helps to foster that relationship,” Gilbert said.

Looking ahead, the SSAC board is seeing how it can proceed under the new Provincial guidelines that increased social gatherings to 10 people, earlier this month.

Many SSAC artists are hopeful they can safely show their work at events closer to the end of the year.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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