If you live in Kansas City and you’re really, really ridiculously good looking—or even above average for that matter—chances are you’ve been in front of Jenny Wheat’s camera at some point. She’s been shooting the pretty people of the metro for well over a decade and her portfolio reads like a who’s-who of big-time, fancy-schmancy models and clients. She’s cultivated quite the following from her early days when she chucked her high-pressure corporate gig for a life behind the lens. And she’s become such a tour de force in the Crossroads District, she’s even poised to open an eatery, Wheat Neighborhood Table just up the street from her studios. Attagirl.
Out of the bazillion photos she’s taken over the years, Wheat was quick to pick her all-time favorite. If the story makes you feel all ooshy-gooshy inside, don’t worry—you’re not the only one.
“Last year I created an online cloud backup of all of my photography. I compiled my entire career. All of the images from 14 years of work—beginning from when I had my first studio in my home and barely knew what I was doing to the present. There are 850,000 photos in that body of work. Much of it I’m proud of, some of it makes me laugh because it’s so bad. But of all the photos I’ve taken for my clients, for national projects, magazines, for my extended family and of my own daughter—of all those photos, I have one favorite shot that I’ll never be able to top.
When my daughter Violet was a baby, she loved to lie on my bed in the mornings and snuggle and ‘talk’. It was the highlight of my day. If her dad walked in or the dog barked, the moment was lost. I could never get a photo that captured it, because I couldn’t take it myself. So, one morning before she woke up, I set up a tripod and held a shutter release remote control in my hand. Her dad brought her in to me and left the room while we chatted and snuggled on the bed. I quietly pushed the remote button with my thumb many times. There are a number of sweet photos from that morning, but this one is my favorite.
It’s the best photo I’ve ever taken. It hangs in my bedroom. Every time I look at it, I re-live those mornings with my baby—who is now 14 years old.”