‘Wander’ into Focus: ‘MoBay’ Jipsie
Celebratory moments frozen to perfection. Pure joy personified. Bringing ‘wander’ into focus is the MoBay Jipsie, Alexandra Bullock-Parkin.
Her photographic journey began in her pre-pubescent years.
“I was about 12 when my mother gave me an Olympus camera. I took it everywhere with me. People would ask my parents if I brought it and I’d have to leave it in the car,” she revealed, confessing that back then, she was more intrusive than artistic.
Alexandra, affectionately called ‘Jipsie’, was born and raised in the quiet neighbourhood of Unity Hall in Montego Bay, St James. Growing up, her parents afforded her the comforts of a good life, fostering a heavily Christian upbringing. After graduating from private school, St James College to be specific, Jipsie went on to pursue a degree in hospitality and tourism management at Bethlehem Moravian College.
When it came time to figure out a professional path, the wandering Jipsie left her camera behind. From a journalist, a police officer to a pastry chef, her options were limitless! But as Jamaicans would say, ‘Trouble neva set like rain’, and for seven years, she was unable to attain a job.
“Life was passing me by. My peers were doing great things, and I wanted to find not only my passion, but my purpose,” she told Beyond the Lens.
She shared her sorrows with one of her close friends, confiding in her about her vision. Then, one day, she gifted Jipsie a brand new Nikon camera. Her life came full circle. And just like that, she was 12 years old all over again!
Completing quick online courses, drawing inspiration from magazines, attending the popular ‘YouTube University’, using friends as subjects and gaining experience from free work, once the shutter went off, there was no stopping her. When she was satisfied and had reached the max as far as camera capabilities go, she sold her gifted gadget for an upgrade. Jipsie Lens was later formed. Jipsie Lens immediately came to mind because of her wandering Jamaican soul.
“I’m never stuck in one place, always roving.” So, paying homage to her culture and her personality, the Jamaican Gypsy swapped the G for a J, spelling the word differently, while staying true to its meaning by nature.
Speaking of nature, her area of expertise is natural light and outdoor portraiture.
“My style is being able to be completely natural and real. There is a certain softness about natural light that is beautiful.”
She continued, “Don’t get me wrong, I do use lighting equipment, but more often than not, I shoot naturally. There are many factors to consider when working with natural light. But I’m really drawn to unpredictability as well as the theory which says there is no bad light, only what is suitable or not to the situation.”
After three years on the creative scene,the freelance photographer, videographer and curator of content for small businesses still finds the transition from passion to profession difficult. “I am still learning how to separate art from the actual service, as most people think of photography in a one dimensional way and it has been hard adapting to that,” she added.
But photography has been her ultimate escape. It’s easy for her to get lost behind the eyepiece. Looking through, seeing the vision in your mind’s eye, then having that result come to life will always amaze her.
“Being able to convey the purest feeling of an image is something I will never let go of.”
Jipsie has worked with Ministry of Health and The IloveMobay Foundation, noting that several businesses in and around Montego Bay have helped to make her experiences fulfilling.
The journey, like anything in this life, has been filled with obstacles, roadblocks, turnarounds and frustrations. From sourcing necessary tools and equipments to a lack of appreciation: you name it, Jipsie has experienced it. But she has balanced the dream with hard work, consistency, dedication and the need to be greater than her setbacks.
“You cannot in any way be lazy with your brand and the work never stops. If you want to be taken seriously, you must first be serious about yourself. There is always something to learn, something to tweak, and even when no one else sees the vision, it’s totally fine. Do not be discouraged. Read, research, be consistent and committed.”
For more information on her work, visit Instagram: @jipsielens, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.