Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Playing Hookey with Photographer Jane Beiles

September 21st, 2018
New Canaan, Connecticut

As I get older I only want to spend time with people I really like. So it was a delight to meet and work with photographer Jane Beiles who is not only gifted at what she does, but is a kick to be with. Work  becomes play. Almost.

photo credit: Alexandra Rowley

Some background: I met Jane with fellow creative Anne Hardy (just as fun, by the way) who has known Jane for a few years. We three explored magical Washington Depot and Kent, Connecticut  for a story pitch. Anne chose the concept for the story, Jane brought her camera to her vision, and I chose what to eat for lunch. Actually, what Jane ordered looked a lot better than mine. And she’s a sharer,  my kind of gal.

We agreed on everything – like who we thought was cute – (a farmer did catch our collective eye), who we thought was not so great (top secret) and how Flirtation Lane deserved a photo – with said farmer please.

Yes, readers, I know. Just because Jane is lively and entertaining doesn’t mean she’s talented.  But she is. She has worked for Elle Decor, the New York Times, AD, Veranda, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller and a whole host of top tier titles. Just look at her web site if you want to see beautifully-shot interiors.

“Once we began to work together,” says Anne, “I realized what  I admire is the sense of place she brings to a shoot.  That is what makes her such an interesting creative to work with – she sees what she is shooting in context – which, I think, makes her work particularly resonant.

“Jane helps keep everything lively and fun”, adds Anne. “She talks about her work filling her cup. She fills ours.”

I asked Jane how she ended up in photography – a mid-career decision after working in fashion at Esprit. (note the stylish neckerchief)

“I grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, born to a painter mother. The house was full of paints and easels, but no dark room, which was a blessing, because I hated chemistry. But I  always loved art.”

Jane studied art history at the University of Michigan, spent spring breaks in Paris and New York City blissfully visiting museums alone and doodling Matisse interiors on restaurant placemats She enjoys doing both to this day.

When digital came along in the early 2000’s, Jane found her calling.

“I am a photographer who came of age as film ended and digital began”  She prefers shooting interiors, food and travel. Jane in action at The Flat in Westport.

I asked her to do a headshot of me for a magazine. She rarely does portraits, but made an exception. People often feel sorry for me. (Note: discuss with shrink)

Here are a few of her pics…

Not bad, eh? And Jane politely said they didn’t need much retouching. Love her!

September, 2018


Top photo of Jane with camera was taken by her talented teacher Elyse Shapiro at Silvermine Arts Center.