ColumnsThe Seeker

Photographer Jenn Mott Redd Heals Through a Lens

Finding peace in sobriety and art therapy

Katie Grant looks over her shoulder and smiles
Katie Grant, The Seeker. (Photo by Moving Mountains Studios)

In the dynamic landscape of Charlotte, certain parts of the city combine to form a foundation for the thriving artist community. Theaters, museums, music venues, and other creative hubs form the sacred pillars that serve as the inspiration for future generations — outlets for expression.

Local artist Jenn Mott Redd embodies this creative spirit. Redd’s artistic journey began at the age of 8 during a symphony performance at which she felt her first spark of inspiration — not from what was happening onstage but off, rather, sketching the profile of a woman she saw in the audience, an apparent doppelganger of Madonna.

Fast forward several years, over which Redd’s portraiture talents have evolved from pencil, charcoal and pastels to photography.

If you’re a regular at The Milestone, chances are you’ve spotted Jenn capturing candid moments with her camera. It was in the unpredictable atmosphere of live music that her photography business truly found its stride, driving her professional growth.

Jenn Mott Redd’s shot of Jay Garrigan performing with The Eyebrows at Tommy’s Pub.

It was during a punk show at the iconic venue that she felt her perspective shift, changing her trajectory and directing it at the music industry, further rounding out her already diverse portfolio.

Jenn Mott Redd’s photography style is a testament to her imaginative prowess, steering away from the norms of conventional photography. Her portfolio encompasses a bit of both whimsical and rock ‘n’ roll, reflecting emotional depth.

At the core of her creative vision is the pursuit of that fleeting moment — the one that she can capture, conveying the raw emotion and energy present in subjects and their environments.

She is dedicated to fostering a sense of originality through thought-provoking imagery that resonates with the transformational power of love.

Redd loves being behind the lens, but the editing process is also a passionate quest for her, enabling the creation of artistic and contemplative images, including abstract art.

Redd finds fulfillment in the positive impact her work has on individuals, instilling a sense of beauty and intrigue. She takes pride in crafting inspirational pieces that not only boost clients’ confidence but serve as motivational catalysts for their musical career.

Members of the band Hellfire 76 play rock music on stage
Hellfire 76 (Photo by Jenn Mott Redd)

Photography isn’t the only outlet through which Redd expresses herself. She has stuck with the original forms of visual art she practiced as a child, and somewhere along the way picked up poetry, chasing the same goal of capturing moments in a candid way, whether through her words or her lens.

But her place in the art world did not come without its challenges. Redd admits to overcoming numerous obstacles throughout her life, including five distinct and separate traumas since the age of 4. Despite their lingering effects, she now channels her pain into her work, finding healing through self-expression, art and writing.

By adopting a meditation and mindfulness practice, she has discovered positive modalities for managing anxiety and depression. It is through this personal development, along with her renewed sense of purpose and almost two years of sobriety, that Redd has found a profound sense of peace at this conjecture in her life.

Redd’s personal story now highlights a triumphant chapter of overcoming substance-related challenges, which has deeply influenced her steadfast commitment to helping others navigate the tumultuous waters of trauma recovery.

In addition to her personal journey, Jenn finds solace and healing through goal-setting. Her overarching life vision encompasses the establishment of a nonprofit dedicated to supporting trauma survivors, ideally incorporating art therapy at its core.

According to the Art Therapy Association, the practice “effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change”.

Redd envisions the establishment of a nonprofit designed exclusively for trauma survivors. At the core of this endeavor are therapeutic practices that played a pivotal role in her own journey.

Personal development aside, Jenn views the expansion of her business as a critical path for community development. This commitment reaches beyond therapy and further into the nonprofit realm — charity events, sponsorship opportunities, and more.

The expressive mediums of art, music, and writing, which profoundly contributed to her personal healing and self-discovery, now inspire her to extend a helping hand to the community. Her goal is to cultivate a collective connection through the shared human experience.

You can stay up to date with Jenn Mott Redd, her art, and her work in the community through her Instagram, Facebook page or her portfolio.

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