Jan Reiss is a photographer and world traveler, whose rich color digital compositions reflect her respect, admiration, and enthusiasm for life in all its myriad forms. Largely self-taught, Jan tells a story unique to the viewer through images that are both simple and complex.
Growing up in Seattle, Jan was immersed in the natural beauty of the Olympic and Cascade mountains of Washington State. Her love of photography as an art form was sparked during her formative years living and traveling in a variety of countries, including France, Kenya, and Morocco. Jan’s work speaks from the heart and reflects a cultural diversity, textured beauty, and rich humanity through a perspective that is at once expansively global and intimately local.
Jan’s photographs are held in private collections across the country, as well as in Australia, Germany, and Mexico. A multilingual Fulbright scholar with a PhD in linguistics from MIT, Jan combines photography with her work as a communications professional at Harvard. She lives in Massachusetts in a house next to woods with wildlife and a stream—an environment that she treasures every day.
My goal as an artist is to create visible poetry to uplift the human spirit, whether through studies of nature, still lifes, impressionistic pieces, or more abstract work.
Much of my earlier photography involved documenting the grace and elegance of nature through close-up images of flowers, plants, and insects. I later began photographing objects from the natural world in human contexts, including subjects that some might find fit only for rejection: a broken shell, a dried flower, a dead bird.
In my most recent work, I have moved toward more abstract and impressionistic ways of recording the world around me. I am particularly interested in images viewed through glass and water, as well as reflections. I love the distortions that glass and water create, and I am deeply fascinated by the multitude of layers that reflections hold within them; I see them as sorts of alternate worlds. I love it when my photographs look like paintings, and I enjoy the idea that each viewer will bring a unique perspective to these images and may find something that resonates with his or her own story.
As I travel through life with my camera, this is my mission: to embrace the unexpected yet rejoice in the everyday; to admire the symmetrical yet revel in the random; to let my heart always be open to what is before me; and to appreciate to their very depths the moments when the art of the world reveals itself, taking my breath away in joy, in recognition, in connection—and to capture all that magic with the click of a shutter.