Makers of Mancos – Jodi Jahrling
How it came to be.
My mom made photographs as a hobby and is responsible for introducing me to this art form. I watched her find the perfect exposure for that Christmas card of the Alamo, saw her makeshift portrait backgrounds, and learn how to process film in a darkroom. She told me that one day I will “see the light” all around me and will start taking pictures with my eyes.
It happened in 2007…
when I was a military spouse trying to figure out how I could contribute to the world and still be able to move every two years or so. I was given a Nikon D200 with a kit lens (18-200mm) and speed-light. This propelled me into photography and I have been on the special journey of creating photographs ever since.
I started by offering $25 sessions to other military spouses. I was very clear that I was a beginner and wanted to practice and build a portfolio. All the while, I’d send nearly every photograph I took to my mom for critique and thankfully she was honest with her feedback. This supportive group of people helped me grow my portrait photography business. I became known for family photography and captured many kids, pregnant bellies, couples, and all of the various birthdays, anniversaries and homecoming events associated.
After divorce, I ramped up my offerings and began photographing for schools, organizations and business. I was busy enough to hire an assistant. I was running a successful photography business in Baltimore, MD, when I met my now husband, David.
and it took us to the mountains of Colorado. David took a job transfer and I let my business go to see what might be next. I quickly realized that living in a small, mountain town with a population of 1100 presented a challenge to be able to do photography at the same level again. Most people had 2-3 jobs to make ends meet in a resort community (near Vail), so the full-time income just wasn’t available to do photography.
This is where I entered the marketing world and helped build a social media and internet marketing business using the tools I learned from running my own business: social media, build websites, write copy, graphic design, and photography. Photography was a catalyst for working with a plethora of business ranging from restaurants to insurance.
We moved to Greeley in 2014 so I could be closer to my mom. Marketing helped me land jobs in the non-profit sector, education, local government and entertainment, where I was asked to use my photography skills to capture events, create content for marketing: headshots, social media, ads and other collateral.
In the meantime, I continued photography as a hobby and organized meet-ups and even setup a photography club. I had been very active in the photography community in Baltimore and hoped to connect with other photographers again. I even won two photography awards during this time.
In 2016 David and I took a summer vacation to southwest Colorado. Neither of us had been to this part of Colorado before and fell in love with the area, vowing to make it back here someday.
In 2017 we found a way to make it back after David found a job in his industry that offered a better title and better pay. We rented in Durango for a year and I worked in advertising sales for The Herald and worked a summer job as the studio manager for an old tyme photography studio where I sharpened up my photography skills. We just purchased a home in Dolores and moved in December.
Today, I am working on our 1908 Victorian “fixer-upper” while picking up my camera and pondering what’s next. I currently volunteer in Cortez as the KSJD Daytime Collective DJ on Thursdays from 9am-11am. I was also in a recent production at the Sunflower Theatre. My mom bought a house in Cortez and moved here this Summer.
I am the Executive Director of the Mancos Creative District.