58: jen altman

jen altman

Jen Altman is a photographer, writer, and editor. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America and is held in private collections across the globe; her photography can be seen in publications by Chronicle Books, Somerset Studio, Small magazine and online at Oprah magazine and Epicurious.com. She recently shot and styled Super Charged Smoothies for Chronicle Books and is currently writing Instant Love: How to Make Magic & Memories with Polaroids for Chronicle to be published in Spring 2012.

Jen is currently between Brooklyn, New York, and Asheville, North Carolina with her three daughters, husband, and a Schnoodle they call King Ludwig. She waxes poetic at Nectar & Light.








on the nightstand:

  • whatever jewelry is currently on rotation that i am not wearing at that very moment — sitting in a large seashell i found at the shore in rodanthe
  • a large crystal shard
  • a stack of polaroids of my girls
  • a bust of athena
  • my deck prism
  • patti smith’s just kids {almost done — slow going getting through mapplethorpe’s death}; the mists of avalon by marion zimmer-bradley {i’ve read it every couple of years since i was 16}; the chalice and the blade by riane tennenhaus eisler {a recommendation from my husband’s sister — one of the most enlightened women i know} and seductress: women who ravished the world and their lost art of love by elizabeth prioleau {my sweet friend joy told me i had to read this — with a title like that, how could you not?}


am loving:

  • the scent of spring rain
  • my new tattoos
  • goat cheese and honey
  • the mountains of north carolina
  • my mama’s smile


how does spring inspire you?

the season is about rebirth. as a family, we’ve had a rather trying few months — but those struggles are leading us to a new life — we are starting anew, in tandem with the season — i find that rather magical.


what’s one item in your spring wardrobe you can’t go without?

my hunter original lace wellies — we’ve been through a lot of rain so far — they keep me dry and are so easy to slip on and off.


what’s your idea of the perfect homemade spring meal?

we are staying with my parents right now before we move to north carolina next month — one of our favorite things to do any season is to create a spread of artisan cheeses, grapes, light crackers and my mom’s insanely delicious baked crab dip — my dad makes pretty fierce martinis too.


what is your spring theme song this year?

the girls and i were watching a lot of megamind for awhile there — and the one song we all kept singing over and over was ozzy’s “crazy train” — oh if i only knew what a portent that song really was!


what are four constants in your day?

  1. my girls
  2. starting the day with a double cappuccino
  3. snuggles {refer to number 1}
  4. music – listening to the kills and civil wars right now…


tell us about the inspiration behind these photos.

we made an unexpected return to my hometown of omaha, nebraska last week to be here for my mom’s open heart surgery. my days have been filled with balancing hospital stays and my girls. but as she emerged from the cloud of her procedure, it occurred to me that much like our season of renewal in finding a new house in north carolina, my mom is experiencing a reawakening as well — once again, hand in hand with the Spring. And this voyage both physical and spiritual has been an acute reminder that Home is not a place — it is in us; it is my brother miraculously being able to take leave to be here, my husband whose final contract of the season happens to be here, it is my dad sleeping every night at the hospital with my mom, it is my girls asking with bated breath everyday when Yaya will be back — Home is my family. And my family is on the precipice of rebirth.


7 thoughts on “58: jen altman

  1. I was caught off guard by the photo of hand holding in the hospital. Now that I have read about your mother I feel myself softening my response to a positive place. You worded it so well.
    Best in all

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