Thursday, August 8, 2019

Photographer JoAnn Jardine Talks About Google Street View, Location Shooting for Catalyst and More

Photo courtesy JoAnn Jardine
This year many of us have been following the story of Catalyst, the festival for independent developers of episodic television content. Formerly ITV Fest, the new name coincides with its move to a new home base: Duluth, MN.

JoAnn Jardine is a career photographer who has recently become involved with the Catalyst team. Her role is scouting out and capturing locations for a directory that can help producers identify locations for filming independent television. She has also been a Google Street View photographer. Haven't you sometimes wondered how Google got all those pictures of your house and street and the store you were in last week?


Here's JoAnn, to share some of her career and life experience.

EN: How did you come to take up a career in photography? What were your earliest influences?

JoAnn Jardine: My Father passed away when I was ten years old. He was a hobby photographer. I picked up his old Exacta 35mm camera and taught myself how to use it. I was intrigued by the camera and photographed everything from barn cats to my friends having their senior portraits taken.

Proof that Hollywood has passed this way.
Judy Garland Museum, Grand Rapids.
After earning my degree at the U of MN Minneapolis in Mass Communications, (minor in film history and public relations), I worked as a special event photographer and planner for Patty Meshbesher at Your Special Event, Inc. Then I got married and we moved to Southern MN where I was the chief photographer at the New Ulm Journal for a few years.

One of my early influences was Margaret Bourke White, She was a WW2 photographer and the first woman photographer for Life Magazine and on top of that, she was also an incredible industrial photographer. As a kid, I wanted to be a war photographer and instead, I became a wedding photographer, almost as exciting!

This year marks my 25th anniversary of owning my own studio. I had a business partner for 12 years (Kathryn Nordstrom) and together we built up Studio One Photography, we were shooting about 50+ weddings in the summer. We were the first woman-owned and operated portrait studio in the region (now women rule the business market).

In 1998 our studio burned to the ground along with 14 other businesses. When the Old Roth's Department Store office building on Tower Ave (Superior) burned down (sometime later the cause was determined to be arson), I photographed the building in flames throughout the night.

We took what photo gear we had in our vehicles and moved into our second historic building, thanks to a generous new landlord. A few well-known photographers showed up with backgrounds and studio supplies so we could get right back into our grad season. We occupied the beautiful corner space in the Trade and Commerce (now the Spirit Room) in Superior.

I was a primary photographer for the following magazines for more than twelve years: The Woman Today, Duluth-Superior, Mom's and Dad's Today and Duluth.com.

Being a magazine photographer was always interesting and had the variety that I loved: fascinating people, incredible architecture in the featured homes and lots of swanky events. When the family owned magazine was purchased by a local newspaper that work dried up for me.

Iron Range scene off the beaten path. Photo JoAnn Jardine.
EN: How many Google Street View photographers are there in the world and how did you get that gig?

JJ: Sorry, I'm not sure how many Google Street View Photographers there are and I don't drive the Google Car. I create hi-definition 360 virtual tours of business interiors. A couple of my favorite projects: Duluth's Bentleyville-Holiday Tour of Lights and the University of WI- Superior, almost all their sidewalks and much of the building interiors now have virtual tours.

In 2014 I was contacted by Google and asked to become a Certified Google Street View Photographers for business interiors. After I completed their training and testing I became the first photographer of this kind in the region. Today I shoot 360 tours for hotels and venues for national companies as well as photographing for businesses regionally.

Last fall I moved from a small studio in the Old Post Office Building to a larger, more elegant natural light studio on Banks Ave in Superior. I love having my studio in historic buildings as some incredible backgrounds are readily available in the buildings. I do a lot of the normal studio stuff like pets, kids, families, seniors, corporate portraits, weddings, and team sports photography. I'm always trying to offer a little something different this year I added "Red Carpet" birthday parties for kids- including mini modeling sessions and a doggie boutique day.

EN: Based on your knowledge of the region and skills, it’s easy to see how you would become involved with Catalyst. What is the nature of your assignment

We have railroads, we have watefron locations, we have nature.
Photo: JoAnn Jardine
JJ: This summer I have been very busy photographing locations for the Catalyst Production Guide. I am building a library of some of the most beautiful hidden gems and some not so nice places also. Some of the areas I have photographed: Duluth, Grand Rapids, Ely, Grand Mara, Hibbing, Virginia, Superior and everywhere between. I get tips from the Chamber of Commerce, businesses, and citizens. Almost everyone has a good idea for me it just a matter of time at this point. Even after the Production Guide is put to bed I think I will continue to follow up on location leads as we will want to update the Catalyst website and build the library for next year.

A good location has a good staging area for trucks, gear and all the baggage a movie grew needs. The location should be easily accessible- not a 3-mile hike. It could be fabulous or just an average neighborhood street. Movie producers like it when they don't have to go through a lot of red tape to get permits so a private lake, forest, farm or a privately owned old manufacturing site are desirable locations.

Looking for lakefront property? We've got plenty.
EN: And how do you decide what locations are worth cataloging?

JJ: I have worked a little in the movie industry in recent years besides location scouting, I have worked on props, production assistant and behind-the-scenes movie stills. Riki McManus from the Upper Minnesota Film Office has taken me under her wing here and there to show me the ropes and has referred me to some projects to get my feet wet in the industry. I greatly appreciate that!

I have a supportive husband and three two sons in college and one son in high school. I try to get them involved in everything I do. (They don't always appreciate it.) Today two of them helped sweep and clean the new Catalyst office, which I know they enjoyed very much. I also have a Golden Doodle- the dog breed of choice at the Catalyst office.

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JoAnn Jardine is a member of the Catalyst Festival team. This year is their 14th annual event, October 9-13 here in Duluth. For information about how to participate or get involved visit the Catalyst website here.

HERE IS A LINK to the PRODUCTION GUIDE Page that lists the kinds of skills and needs they want to have listed in the guide, as well as contact information for Katie Strand, Riki McManus and Keely Gelineau. https://www.catalystcontent.org/production-guide

Related Links
Forbes' Blake Morgan on The Future of Television
Catalyst Home Page

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