Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Interview by: Melissa Cabat
Tanya Rosen-Jones is the owner of Rosen-Jones Photography. She is an Oberlin alumna who studied history. She now lives in Oberlin with her husband, who also graduated from Oberlin, and her two sons. She hails from Berkeley, California.
Q: What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin?Why would you choose these words/images?
A: I would say trees and green. There is a universal commitment to try to be greener here, and to try to live a more sustainable life. Its one of the reasons why we moved here, actually.
Q: Could you briefly describe the nature of your business and its function in the Oberlin community?
A: I try to be a small-town photographer, so I offer all different kinds of photography from headshots to weddings, babies, maternity, engagement sessions, seniors in high school, and I just kind of try to be here as a resource for the community. I like to help people document important times in their lives, and its fun to be associated with our small community in that way.
Q: What changes have you seen at Oberlin College since your time at the school? If you could look twenty years into the future, what would you want to see in those students?
A: Well, even though Oberlin does change all the time, there are these weird constants as well. There are these archetypes of people who are attracted to Oberlin, which is comforting in some ways. The students are, from what I can tell, more confident in a way. We came here and there were all these strong personality types in high school like the ones you see in those 80s movies that actually existed or at least, you felt like you had to fit into those categories. People who were attracted to Oberlin back then were generally trying to fight against those things. So we came to Oberlin and asserted that, we were different, we were weird! We got here then realized that we all were slightly weird. We realized that we should just be ourselves, but that was a process for us, and now people come here with more of a sense of themselves. They dont have to try to prove themselves as much.
In twenty years, I would hope that students would continue to be more confident in themselves, and more compassionate of others. I would hope that they would see the world as gray, instead of black and white, and to see commonalities in people that appear quite different from themselves.
"I like to help people document important times in their lives, and its fun to be associated with our small community in that way."
Q:What does sustainability mean to you as an Oberlin resident and business owner?
A: Sustainability, for me, is a way to prolong and to provide. The reason that I think sustainability is a possibility for Oberlin is that we have farmlands and a drive to create an area here from which we can support ourselves. Were becoming more and more self-sufficient and relying less on getting our products from outside.
Q: Do you think sustainability is a relevant factor in making business decisions? Why?
A: I try to source as many products as locally as possible, and I shop downtown whenever possible. Sustainability of a vibrant downtown is also very important to me.
Q: As a photographer, what inspires you to create?
A: Im a rare person in that Im completely inspired by people. I realized that I could just take inspiration from my clients and their events. If theres a wedding, yeah, theres a lot of pressure involved, but its also this incredible experience that brings people and families together and so many beautiful and genuine emotions are expressed. I take my inspiration from the history that Im helping to create. Really, its the people who drive me to continue creating. I love what I do, and I love the people I get to meet and work with.
Q: Is there anything else youd like to add?
A: What I would love to see happen is a compost pickup, which is really cool. Its so nice because not everyone can have a compost bin in the backyard. They pick up the compost every week, and its an incredible system. I think it would be great for the town.
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