Photographer's work featured in Pratt

Family road trips allow Hess to capture beauty of regional landscape, architecture

Staff writer

If you were to take a road trip to Pratt Community College to visit the Delmar Riney Art Gallery and meander back roads along the way, you might better understand Marion resident Jennifer Hess’s method of photography.

Many of her photographs, taken during family outings and now on display at the gallery, celebrate the seasonal beauty of the Flint Hills and the unique architecture of historic buildings that pepper the region.

“When we have to take trips to get what we need, I look for interesting things along the way that we can go see,” Hess said. “It’s a fun and inexpensive way to be with the kids and create good memories.”

She credits some of her interest in photography to her great uncle, former Marion photographer Les Broadstreet. Who, she assisted and watched during photo shoots.

For the most part, however, she considers herself self-taught.

Through the years, she has developed an eye for what she likes. She chose pictures for her exhibition that meant something to her.

“I like using natural lighting in my pictures,” Hess said. “A lot of my photos are of nature, a lot are of light, like sunlight through the trees.”

She likes taking pictures during early morning or late evening, when there is soft natural light, and she appreciates variation in the sky find on overcast days as well as vibrant colors in Kansas sunsets.

Hess also loves history and has been fascinated by old buildings. Many photos in her exhibit are of places like an old mill at Cedar Point or Coronado Heights castle near Lindsborg, where she and her children visited.

Her exhibit also includes a variety of photos taken at Tallgrass Prairie Preserve while hiking with her children.

“I have a lot of memories with the kids hiking at Tallgrass,” Hess said. “It is neat to share those memories with other people.”

Hess tries to portray a positive image of the heartland with her photography and considers part of her purpose to be to share the region’s beauty. She likes knowing that her pictures might inspire other families to visit places where she and her family have made good memories.

Hess’s photos will be on exhibit for the remainder of January.

“I am always on the lookout for the perfect shot,” Hess said. “I take my camera with me everywhere because I never know when I will see something that would make a beautiful picture.”

She is married to Jerry Hess and has three children: Jenevieve Corona, a freshman at Washburn University; Jade Corona, a sophomore at Marion High School; and Joeb Corona, a seventh grader at Marion Elementary.

In addition to working as a free-lance photographer, she is working on a secondary English certification at Tabor College.

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