Corporate Work: Creating Art, Battling RA


Artist Leslie “Wren” Vanderver at her work table. Loved the one light look, just adjusted my f stop and EV balance to get this look.

This past June, I flew out to Sacramento, California, to work on a story of an artist for my day job.

Leslie “Wren” Vanderver is an artist who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis but doesn’t let the pain in her hands stop her.

In addition to the art she creates, she’s also a journalist, blogger and full-time caregiver to her elderly mom.

I was out there with a cameraman, Kevin Nelson, so that we could put together a video to go along with the text story. We’ve worked on-site together on two other stories like this now now: A Colorful Life in 2015 Art As Therapy in 2016, but Kevin has done video on two other stories like this as well.

wren_art table_JSP_062018

Wren at work at her art table.

In addition to art directing the video shoot (and being the off-camera interviewer), my goal with the photos was to capture various stills that I could use on the company’s social media vehicles. This includes environmental portraits and “in-action” shots.


Beautiful light for a portrait in the breezeway of her apartment.

Wren bedroom portrait_062018

Beautiful light in Wren’s bedroom. Not something we’d use, but I wanted take advantage of the light.

Wren was just in her 30’s when she was diagnosed with RA, and serving in the military. We got a little lucky she had a photo of her in her Air Force uniform. I used that for a portrait.



Wren_conference bages_062018_MG_3816

Wren often attends and/or speaks at health conferences, or conferences dedicated to immunological diseases. When I saw her conference badges hanging on the edge of a mirror, I  knew I wanted a “hero” shot of her wearing the badges – in the vein of the Olympic medal shot we often see.

When my colleagues saw the shot later on after we got back, one said “Love that shot with the conference badges. Reminds me of one of those shots with the Olympic medals.” Heh.


BTS of Kevin filming b-roll of Wren.


BTS of Kevin running his drone.


Wren with her mom and her daughter. I sent sent a print of this one.

The story, and video, recently got posted to our website, which you can read here. Here’s how it looks on our website homepage now.

Wren_janssen website_092018

Featured story on

This was a great project to work on overall (except that I left one of of my USB drives from Day 2 of the shoot at the hotel. They were unresponsive to send it to me so I just stopped trying. Good thing I had it backed up to Dropbox.)

Kevin is fantastic to work with and it was fun to meet Wren and her family, and tell her story. We’re already planning the next one!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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