Not a Brand, a Presence

Justene Bartkowski,

a Clarks Summit native, and one of my best friends, is a local photographer who’s made a brand by being unique in herself and her work. She finds her inspiration from the Justenebeauty around her and in God. She is hands down one of the most illuminated people I’ve ever met, and I’m lucky you all get to meet her too. Read more to find out about her career and personality as well as future internship opportunities + a peek at her beautiful work!


What do you consider your job?

An art. Besides the obvious of the camera being the means of a creative tool— everythingjoy about it is an expression of yourself; the way you plan business and marketing strategies, the way you handle finances, etc, all comes from YOU. Yes, there’s some kind of structure you’ll need to have for things to work smoothly, but the rest is all personal. Its about expressing what’s within. What you see in your relationship with clients you often see in the photographs; what you feel when you take the photographs is often what you see in the images.

What do you mean by “Not a brand, a presence”?

This came from how much I got sick of people being all about their brands instead of their presence when doing the work. They’re more focused on people liking their public image/their images than focused on what they’re able to offer people through services, scranton couplephotography specifically. So in this, I believe they miss out on being to offer even better services/ work/ images to people. I’m personally not all about giving a client JUST some dope, ‘on-brand’ images… my first priority with my art/business is being a presence to people that empowers them to truly express who they are, and I know that that will never look the same for everyone. Its about authenticity— people having an AUTHENTIC adventure in that moment, and authentic snuggle-session, and authentic expression of themselves… that MUST happen first before the shot is even taken.

How did you find your passion?

I literally just become obsessed with beauty. I would experience finding something so captivating (sunset, the way sunlight is hitting someones face, a scene, etc), and I would want to hold onto it forever… so, I would take photographs of it to never forget! I’m very nostalgic. Then I learned how to do it more creatively over the years to express my perspective on the moment.

I know you currently have one, but would you be interested in having another intern for upcoming semesters?

I would certainly be interested in having another intern. I have SO MUCH information and so many secrets that I’m always dying to share with people. I love educating, and I definitely don’t like to teach the conventional classroom way. I like hands on learning, dom waterfallworking. It’s how I learned, and it’s probably how more people are actually supposed to learn. I could also always use a helping hand, being an artist I am always dipping my feet into all different photo ideas and business endeavors, so it’s not easy carrying this business on my back! haha.

My remaining thoughts/ comments on my work are this:

“The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

— MATTHEW 6:22

What I do flows from a place in my heart where I see everybody as God sees them: loved, beautiful, important, valuable, and good. I seek out what it really is in every person that sets them & their stories apart from others, and then create a session that accurately portrays that essence. I grow more and more passionate every time I do this! When I shoot, I aim to give people a clear “picture” of who they are.



Contact Justene & See More of Her Work!





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.