I made the move from applications based geo-informatics data scientist and project manager to full time commercial photographer in 2010.  In this particular year my wife and I moved from South Africa to Canada so it seemed appropriate to change continents and professions at the same time.  The move and profession change were not random events, I was born in Victoria, British Columbia and photography with the associated images have been part of my work life for a long time.  The photographs I played with as a data scientist were satellite images, we used the information contained in these images to develop various applications for countries in data poor environments.  As a commercial photographer the objective is similar, we create images with a story that can be easily deciphered by the intended audience.  

My past work has taught me three fundamental lessons that I use as a photographer:

  • To strive for simplicity; simplicity of form and message clarity are critical elements in crafting powerful images that are easily understood.

  • Secondly - quality is king, maybe not for everyone but for me quality is a critical component when delivering images, if quality is not important to a client then perhaps I am the wrong photographer for you, I can refer you to plenty of people who own a camera and take OK images.

  • Thirdly; I know that imaging is only one of a variety of factors that my clients are dealing with, I want you to know that I have got your back, if something has been promised it will be delivered within the agreed upon time frames.

My present work has taught me that the first two fundamental lessons of my past work do not always hold true as a commercial photographer but are worth striving for anyway.  Photoshoots are not always pristine, clients do not always want simplicity and unrealistic timelines driven by competing business needs are often the order of the day, which raises a fourth lesson - the flexibility to be able to adapt to changing objectives, circumstances and conditions.  The third lesson remains the same though - I have your back, if I promise something it will be delivered on time.

After 10 years as a full time commercial photographer I still love what I do, I have worked for some amazing people and businesses. I have always enjoyed working for businesses with a clear vision it makes what we do so much easier, paradoxically I seem to remember those photoshoots born from chaos a little clearer.  

As a memorial to my formal education I hold an AMBA accredited MBA from DeMontfort University (Leister, UK); MA (Geography and Geographic Information Systems), BA.Hons and BA from Rhodes University as well as a PMI recognized Project Management Diploma from Damelin.  Perhaps more importantly from a photography perspective I am a Transport Canada Certified Drone Pilot.

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Hi I am Jarrell Whisken a commercial photographer specializing in commercial real estate, business portraiture and product photography.