My name is Jill Sahner and I am 24 years old, living in the greater New York City area. I’m currently the graphic designer for the marketing department of an EdTech startup based in Manhattan.
I realized my passion for all things design at a young age. For as long as I can remember, I have loved being creative. When I was a little girl, I was always drawing; I had a knack for perspective and found joy in expressing myself with a pencil and paper. As I grew older, I discovered a love for writing. My favorite subject was always English and I thrived when it came to creative writing.
I didn’t discover my true passion, however, until around age 12. I had been riding horses for about three years when I first picked up a camera and started to experiment. The camera was nothing special; no zoom and no more than 2 megapixels. But I felt an instant emotional response from the moment I began shooting. I’m sure everything about my early photos was absolutely horrendous, but it didn’t matter. I quickly realized this was something I loved.
Buying my first Canon SLR truly changed the game. I could now experiment with different settings, apertures, lenses… the options were endless. And I was beyond eager to learn everything I could. I spent all my days at the barn, photographing horses in the field, being ridden, even standing in their stalls. My work was soon noticed by both trainers and students and, before I knew it, I had created my own business and was getting paid for my work.
It wasn’t long before I realized one very important thing I had to learn in order to succeed in digital photography; Photoshop. I taught myself how to use Photoshop Elements and quickly learned the ropes in photo editing. From there, on to website design. I started to make sites on Microsoft FrontPage, slowly teaching myself how to build and code what I wanted to create.
The only job I had throughout high school was photography. As soon as I could drive, I would travel to horse shows all over the state to shoot. I would get bookings to do private photoshoots at barns for portraits or lessons. And the best part is, it wasn’t even work to me; I loved every second of what I did. Getting home with a full memory card of photos to sift through and edit… there was no better feeling in the world for me.
I guess I could have gone to art school. I could have followed my true passion and pursued photography. But me, being overly logical and annoyingly cynical, decided that I probably could not make a realistic living off of that. So I opted for business school and pursued a degree in marketing – close enough, right? That seemed to be the most creative option.
One month out of school I took a job in sales; pretty much the polar opposite of any career I had ever imagined myself in. But, countless cold calls and year and a half later, I did it. I essentially created a new role for myself at my company (one of the many perks of working at a startup) by making my skills and passions known and moving onto the marketing team, where I now lead a large piece of our company’s graphic design efforts.
My love for photography still remains, but I have definitely strayed from my roots.
I guess this was the roundabout way of explaining why I created this site. I want a place where I can consolidate and bring together all of my passions; photography, fashion, graphic design, interior design, travel (and food, can’t forget food). I want a place where I can express myself and inspire others. I want a place that is all my own and a place that, first and foremost, brings ME happiness. This site is not a place to impress, not a place to brag. It’s a place where I can be fully and completely myself.
So, I commend you if you read this entire… saga? But it is the necessary first step in me getting back in touch with who I am and where I came from. It is easy to forget why you once loved something, especially when life gets in the way. But for me, I want to find myself and my passions again, and this site is just the beginning.