Phone: (703) 860-2222
Hometown: Columbia, MD
Current resident of: Reston, VA
Jessica Wallach is a community photographer. Her work as a children/family photographer, photo educator, and photojournalist is driven by her love of connections and stories. Jessica is the principal photographer and owner of Portrait Playtime. She loves to get out and involved within the community using her mobile studio and her work with Patch.com. Jessica partners with local organizations to support them with photo fundraisers and teach those who share a passion for picture making in various community centers.
Jessica has always loved the story. As a young one with a disability and struggling with speech, she learned to express herself with gestures and body language so that her stories could be heard. It was suggested that to help her contend with cerebral palsy that she turn to a typewriter. The ease of writing with a typewriter opened up a world of stories, journaling and poetry.
As a young adult Jessica became a peer counselor realizing the importance of active listening. Jessica found this time to be empowering to her as well as those she worked with simply by being present and truly listening. And it was then that she realized that value of partnership. There were stories to be found within everyone and that these stories are rich. Jessica began work as a fair housing advocate in 1994. Her desire to build a strong community where there was fairness to all blossomed with her work in fair housing.
During visiting friends in Budapest in 1996, Jessica found a passion. With 3 cameras and a lot of time to kill Jessica discovered the ways a camera can focus attention on the world right in front of her. Upon returning home, Jessica explored the world around her with her camera. As her passion continued to flourish, she began taking on assignments and clients. Wanting to take her growing knowledge further, Jessica studied under Will Crockett. Training under his commercial lighting style with the idea that if she could light her subject, she could photograph anything.
In 2006 after her daughter’s birth, she left her job with fair housing to be a mother and photographer. Portrait Playtime was born and has evolved so that Jessica can partner with those in her community, capturing relationships and being an active listener so that their stories can be remembered and shared.