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Meet the Member, TSRA Finals Photographer Jennifer Calhoun
story by Siri Stevens
Jennifer Calhoun was raised Brookhaven, Mississippi. Her dad rode horses, but she was more interested in crunching numbers than saddling horses. Armed with a college degree in accounting, Jennifer spent ten years working in that field until she moved back to her hometown and couldn’t find a job.
“I opened a photography studio. I bought a digital camera, and that put me in the sports,” said the 50-year-old mother of one daughter, Alex (21), and wife to Mike. She started shooting sports in 2000, starting with gymnastics. She shot her first rodeo at a local youth rodeo and now shoots about 10 rodeos a year, mostly for TriState Rodeo Association. She likes shooting the roughstock the best. “It’s more action.” Her husband, who owns a silk screening company in a small town 20 miles away, goes to the rodeos with her to work the computer. “TriState has done great this year thanks to the leadership of Kyle Kirkland. This Finals was the best in a long time – he’s really working for the contestants.”
Her studio has equipment to produce large format prints – 52” wide – so she can go into the schools and do photos of the seniors and produce a 3 x 4 banner to hang in the gym. With her printers, she has produced many of the banners that the sponsors have in the arena. She now has a second large format printer and claims that was the best move she made. During football season, she is in the studio 7 days a week.
The other project that Jennifer tackles is an annual rodeo that she produces in her small town. “We were putting one on in our local town with a fair, and the man that was running the fair asked me to run the rodeo. The first year we ran bulls, the second year we had bulls, barrels, and bands. The last two years we’ve run a full rodeo,” she said. “It takes a whole lot of work; getting sponsors to help pay for it is the hardest part. We live in a small town.” She has worked at it for long enough now that most of them are loyal. Ol’ Brook Rodeo happens Mother’s Day weekend, and was recognized last year as the new rodeo of the year for TriState. Ol’ Brook Rodeo has been used to fund the mission trip for the First Methodist Church that Jennifer’s family attends. “We’ve been doing mission trips for 9 years, this year we will go to Honduras for the third year in a row for Christmas to deliver food bags and Christmas shoe boxes to the kids. We stay in a little hotel along the beach.”
Jennifer never thought she was going to own her own business. “Photography was my lifetime dream. I like the way I’ve geared it. Her next goal is to build on her large format printing. “That’s a wide open market right now.”