Photo taken by Mai Yang
Artists and creatives are often stigmatized by society and even family members for pursuing a career that they find unrewarding. However, many have shaken off the doubts and have received the support needed to thrive as professionals. For multi-award-winning Native American photographer Janessa Taber, she was fortunate to have her career supported by her family. As a result, the photographer would hone her skills eventually.
Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, Janessa Taber’s passion for the arts manifested when she was six years old. Her father, Donald Taber, gifted her a “Where’s Waldo” camera that sparked her interest in the art of photography. Her passion would continue to grow throughout high school, and while she never had formal training as a student, Janessa would teach herself how to hone her craft.
Apart from photography, Janessa grew to love all forms of art when her younger sister starred in operas and Broadway shows in the Bay Area. While others focused on the art of the performance, the young photographer’s eyes followed everything else going on in the back, watching how stage sets were created and painted. Applying everything she learned as a child and her observation of her sister’s works under the spotlight, Janessa would further develop her craft as a visual artist, training in both photography and painting.
By 2004, the young photographer participated in a contest organized by the Sacramento country radio station 105.1 KNCI and paid for by Procter & Gamble’s Charmin Toilet Paper. Janessa won the grand cash prize of $5,000, beating every other photographer in the Greater Sacramento Valley. The victory prompted her to pursue a professional career, using her victory money to start her photography business, Visions by Janessa Photography.
Since then, various clients have commissioned Janessa Taber, including celebrities like Jon Lovitz, Kristy Osmunson, Angel Salazar, Farrah Abraham, and Hollywood stunt actress, Michelle Elise Shock. Her work has taken her all over the country, from New Jersey to Mexico. Throughout her career, Janessa has achieved many feats, doing commercial works for Colusa Casino and Pardi Duck Calls, Best of Biggs in 2017, winning Yuba-Sutter’s favorite photographer of 2008 and 2020 & Yuba-Sutter’s BEST photographer of 2021, getting credentialed by California Black Media, and working one on one with Assembly Member Cheryl Brown.
Throughout her professional career with Visions by Janessa Photography, she has been recognized for her works and received commissions from customers from all across America for her custom backdrop paintings. Renowned for her unique hand-painted, childlike backdrops named after the children she paints them for. Janessa’s reputation grew even more for her allowing the parents or clients to sign on their children’s first name on the bottom right-hand corner of the backdrops near her own signature. Additionally, Janessa does not sell her backdrops to the photography community, she keeps them to herself exclusively for her clients.
Since winning the competition years ago, Janessa Taber has thrived in her professional goal, with Visions by Janessa Photography constantly growing. She recently opened up her second studio location in Southern California and her headquarters is based in Northern California in the small town of Gridley. The photographer hopes to continue to serve the public by bringing smiles, memories and happiness to families all around the country.Learn more about Visions by Janessa Photography by visiting her official website, Facebook, and Instagram.