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December 9, 2019
Authentic: Jie Deng, In The Eye Photography
With careful research and an artist’s sensibility, she captures the complex beauty of each individual.
Photographer Jie Deng smiles as she describes the green wall in Sycamore Alley as her studio. “It’s a perfect background for different kinds of photos,” she says. She loves its light, shadows, and symbolism…a narrow space that leads somewhere else.
Jie (pronounced jā) emigrated from China to join her husband in New York in 2006. When they moved to Kennett Square in 2009 with their baby daughter, one of her first stops was the Kennett Library. “The library made my life better,” Jie says. In addition to finding books and storytimes for her daughter Phinya, Jie took ESL classes and made friends.
Longing for a creative outlet, she enrolled in an online photography class and took many pictures of her daughter. Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” project, Jie conceived a series of storytelling portraits she calls “The People of Kennett Square.” She began photographing friends, and each fascinating person led her to others. With careful research and an artist’s sensibility, she captures the complex beauty of each individual. Her website features photos and a Q&A with each person (intheeyephotography.com/stories-2/). “This project changed my life,” she says. “I got to know so many people and the town.” She loves the people, sense of community, and international flavor of Kennett Square, a “small town with a big city vibe.”
Jie has a new series on female artists and is learning the old-school art of analogue photography with a vintage camera. “I’m more thoughtful and present—I slow down with film. I love its color and texture.” Ten-year-old Phinya’s photo of her mother in Sycamore Alley brings Jie’s artistic journey, to the place she considers her second home, full circle. To see more of Jie’s work, visit her website at intheeyephotography.com.