· Photography,Handicap,work-life balance

There are some photographs out there that grab your attention in an instant, make you rethink the values, leave you happy, surprise you, they are full of love, of unmanipulated emotions, they are the real life.
Our todays #heroine_of_the_week Jenny Klestil from @jenny_klestil_photography creates snapshots that are all this. A mom of three, a source of amazing creativity and a beautiful person inside and out, Jenny also is the power and heart behind “Glück kennt keine Behinderung” (“Happiness knows no handicap”) - a project dedicated to little and adult persons with an extra chromosome.
Read Jenny´s interview in the next posts and dive with us in her beautiful world of sunshine children.

@ichselbstaendig: Is there a particular event or moment you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?
Jenny: In my younger years I was posing a lot in front of the camera as a model, however at some point it was not enough for me anymore. So I decided to try out standing behind the camera. Now I’m doing that already since almost 17 years.

 

@ichselbstaendig: How do you find shooting adults compares to shooting children?
Jenny: I find it much nicer and easier to photograph children, as they are not at all pretentious and just are how they are. It makes it immensely easy for me to catch them in the right moment. Since I am not a fan of staged photos, my models are free to simply be themselves and do what they feel like at the moment. I then just photograph away and together we create such snapshots that don’t look run-of-the-mill.

 


@ichselbstaendig: You’ve also done a lot of advertising/commercial shoots, do you still accept such proposals or are you solely focused on your own projects?
Jenny: I have photographed a lot for commercials, publishing houses, authors, fashion and children’s furniture. I was always lucky to have clients, who trusted me and my style, therefore granted me a lot of freedom. Advertising is of course always based on the ideas, suggestions and concepts of the clients.

@ichselbstaendig: Jenny, your project “Glück kennt keine Behinderung” (Happiness knows no handicap) started in 2015 as a local Down Syndrome Awareness initiative and has now touched hearts of hundred thousands of people in and outside Germany, can you tell us how this journey feels for you?
Jenny: “Glück kennt keine Behinderung” exists for almost 2 years. It feels like a positive snowball effect that rolls further and further.
I have started with a handful of people and for today it has been more than 400 younger and older top models with extra chromosome, and there is no end in sight! :)
Moreover, every week there is an exhibition in Germany, in Switzerland there have been already five and soon will be the first one in Austria.
I am very proud to lead this volunteering project and to show how endearing the life with trisomy 21 can be, in order to counteract the enormous 95% abortion rate.

 

@ichselbstaendig: Your Instagram account is full of amazing heart-warming photos of happy families, it radiates love and the most positive vibe, what is your secret?
Jenny: I try to photograph people as they are, to show their positive sides and catch them in the best moment without making them feel uncomfortable. There are never staged photos, the families can snuggle, cuddle, goof around, but also serious or angry moments are part of life, and I take them along as they come.

 


@ichselbstaendig: Do you have any tips for an aspiring photographer who’s picking up a camera for the first time?
Jenny: Be spontaneous, forget the rules and free yourself from limiting beliefs, catch the moments as they are, let children be childish and take care that your models feel comfortable in front of the camera (and not stressed out)

@ichselbstaendig: Can you describe your feelings, when you meet the visitors of your exhibitions?
Jenny: I feel very proud and overwhelmed when my models come to my exhibitions to see me again. When they see themselves on the photos, it is a very emotional moment for all of us!


@ichselbstaendig: Do you plan to publish your photos as a book at some point?
Jenny: There is already a book about the project “Glück kennt keine Behinderung” published by “Das bunte Zebra” and showcases 46 families with extra chromosome.


@ichselbstaendig: You are a mom of three children, how do you manage to balance your family life with your creative work, especially now, when you travel often to exhibitions and photo destinations?
Jenny: That’s a good question :)
In the end of the day it works out somehow - more or less good - as for all working moms. I have a great partner who supports me and takes over the drives and the hanging of the photos. At home I have an amazing network of my patchwork family, who takes care of the stay-at-home members (thank you, grannies!). My children are 16, 11 and almost 4 - the oldest son is already independent enough to be left by himself, the second daughter stays at grandma’s and the youngest daughter often comes along.

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