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Travel With Photographers: Jenelle Kappe

Travel With Photographers: Jenelle Kappe

Traveling has always been my form of therapy. Experiencing unfamiliar places and meeting new friends is grounding for me. For a long time - too long, really - I didn't travel. I put everything into starting and growing my business. It may not have been the healthiest thing that I have done - not allowing time for myself to continue to grow as a person - but I can't say I regret it, as I am happy I am where I am today.

At one point it became evident to me that in order for my business to truly flourish, I must first grow and prosper as a person. As a creative, it's important to refuel that artistic vat in which you draw inspiration from. My fuel is the inevitable daily inspiration I find in traveling. That is the key to my success.

My travel bug ultimately returned. One of my first stops was Cambodia on a 14 day trip. The first week was spent outside Siem Reap volunteering with Habitat for Humanity building a home for a local family. The second week started with a 14+hr solo excursion traveling across Cambodia to Mondulkiri to volunteer at the Elephant Valley Project.JENELLE-KAPPE-PHOTOGRAPHY

JENELLE-KAPPE-TRAVEL-PHOTOGRAPHER

JENELLE-KAPPE-TRAVELING-PHOTOGRAPHER

The first week was incredibly humbling in itself. Experiencing building a brick home for a family who has known nothing but a one room thatched roof hut and dirt floors was emotionally rewarding to say the least. To see the gratitude and joy on the family's faces brought tears to my eyes, brushing aside the worry and concern of any ill effects of western influences on other cultures. At the time I felt, that was it. This was the peak of my journey, now it was time to play with some elephants.

The sun had yet to rise, but I found myself next to a monk waiting for the bus to Mondulkiri. It's true when they say some of the best things are found outside your comfort zone. The monk life was embarrassingly foreign to me however I felt comfort in this man's presence. As I boarded the bus I found, what I thought was, the first available seat. A few stops later, a gentleman stood above me for an uncomfortable 45 seconds until the monk looked over and said, "that is his seat." At any other time, I would be dreadfully embarrassed for not realizing I had an assigned seat on my ticket, but hearing the monk speak English warmed my soul in an indescribable way.

JENELLE-KAPPE-ROAMING-PHOTOGRAPHER

JENELLE-KAPPE-WEDDING-PHOTOGRAPHY

For the next 8+ hours I sat next to the monk and we talked. We talked about the life of a monk, we talked about love, marriage and family. He showed me worksheets from a class he was taking on "American Family" ideals. How family should always come first and spending quality time with them, especially your children should be top priority. Not your job. I couldn't help but think what he was being taught as "the American way" was something that most of America could afford to learn. Ironic. I still can't say for sure who was more intrigued by who. What I can say for sure is, that experience is something I will carry with me for a very very long time.

In order to really push myself, find inspiration and step away from shooting digitally, I only brought a manual Canon AE-1 with a 35mm lens with me. It forced me to slow down and although these images are far from perfect, it was a necessary means.

JENELLE-KAPPE-PHOTOGRAPHY

CAMBODIA-PHOTOGRAPHER

A 3-day itinerary for Cambodia is a tough one. The country is large and although there has been much improvement, the roads are rough. There is an exponential amount to see within Siem Reap. Here are a few places that really resonated with me.

Friends Restaurant { http://www.friends-restaurant.org } - near Phnom Penh an amazing non-profit organization for an excellent cause.  The children's art is incredible there - I wish they were selling it at the time I was there. Food is also incredible.

My favorite temple I visited was the Preah Vehar temple { http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1224 } - it's on the Thailand/Cambodian border and was far from the "tourist scene". It's untouched beauty. It was also incredibly interesting to see the actual border armed with barbed wire and firearm decorated military personnel.
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JENELLE-KAPPE-BIOJ
enelle Kappe is a nationwide and destination wedding photographer who grew up and started her business in NJ. Although she's currently romping around traveling, awaiting for her next home base to flag her down, Jenelle's still running a full-time wedding photography business. For now, home is where her pup and camera equipment lay. Sometimes that's living the van-life in the G-20 van of Together We Roam, sometimes it's being abroad and sometimes it's visiting family and friends stateside.

To view more of Jenelle's work, visit her here.

 




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