In the professional photography world, it’s rare you’ll find a genuine sense of humor in an artist’s bio. But visit Jessica Pettway’s website, and you’ll see that she describes herself as “a visual artist and grilled-cheese enthusiast.”
Laughs aside, the statement is revealing in a more subtle and complex way. As a photographer, she uses humor to create fun, clever, and provocative still lifes (which, yes, at times, include food). But she never lets humor undermine her innate sense of visual balance in her compositions. Conversely, she never allows the composition or craft of photo making get in the way of fun or humor. In her photos, Pettway performs a balancing act that carefully blends a sophisticated fine-art sensibility with a comic voice.
But Pettway hopes they take viewers even further. “My goal is to transport the viewer to a different reality,” she says.
All photos © Jessica Pettway
Like most gifted artists, Pettway credits intuition with her ability to make images that are both visually intriguing and conceptually comical. “(I’m) just having fun and going with my instincts. And not being afraid to be experimental,” she explains.
Pettway’s witty work has paid off by catching the eye of many notable publications, including VICE, The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and TIME.
But it’s a challenging task to continually produce fresh ideas for her photos. That’s where Pettway feels Adobe Stock is particularly helpful. “It encourages you to shoot more so you can put more on Adobe Stock,” she says. “It’s enabling in that way, which I really like. And it can handle all the selling, which is awesome.”
Like many professional photographers, Pettway shoots a wide variety of work. A lot of it is for specific clients, but others are personal projects. For her, Adobe Stock allows her to maximize her working process. “It bridges the personal work with the client work,” she says. “It lets me work on ideas for photo illustrations, simply because I want to see it come to life. But I also know that it’s a huge plus since I know it will work for Adobe Stock.” Pettway also says it allows her to spend more time on her personal projects, instead of feeling the pressure to focus only on client work. She adds: “It really bridges that gap.”
Another aspect of Adobe Stock that Pettway finds powerful is the user-friendly search engine, which Pettway sees as a unique promotional tool. “I love all the curated collections Adobe Stock has,” she says. “It definitely promotes my work. And it lets people see my work in ways that are applicable to them, which would make them more likely to license my work.”
Pettway doesn’t just rely on Adobe Stock to promote her own photography. She also uses it as an image library for research. She’s particularly taken with the “find similar” feature of Adobe Stock’s search engine, since you can find so many images of one concept or idea. “I love seeing different iterations of one thing,” she explains. That’s important for Pettway, since her comic voice partially depends on how most people collectively view common objects, subjects, and themes.
Pettway then uses this knowledge in her own photography, to figure out how she can show a particular subject in a new light—or, she adds, “how I can subvert it.”
–Sponsored by Adobe Stock