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Mar 2001 / the ordinary eye :: email this story to a friend

Recent Works
By Jess Withington

I was born and raised in North St. Louis County. Upon graduating from high school, I couldn't wait to get away. After eight years studying and working in the field of photography in Columbia, Kansas City, and Chicago, I suddenly felt, for the first time, a draw to St. Louis. Ever since returning to live in South St. Louis two years ago, I have felt that St. Louis is more my home now than ever.

As soon as I returned, I found there were so many wonderful things about the city that should be photographed. What was most notable to me, as a photographer, was the wonderful and unique physical character of the people, buildings, sculpture, and landscape of the city. As staff photographer for, I was afforded the opportunity to scour the city, sometimes targeting specific restaurants, parks, or people, and sometimes just looking for an interesting shot. This opened my eyes to a whole new layer of the city that I hadn't even known was there. I've been actively photographing St. Louis ever since.

The pieces I have collected here represent three separate bodies of work that have been in progress over the last two months: neighborhood spaces, industrial spaces, and novelty spaces. Each of these differing spaces has a specific function and I feel like each one has very valuable and interesting qualities that look great on film. I look forward to continuing my study of St. Louis and its metropolitan area for many years to come. Whenever I'm out and about I'm constantly seeing new things that I want to shoot and know that there are an infinite number of photographs to be made here. I just hope I can get to all of them in the next sixty years or so.

Click on a thumbnail image below to view the large version.


Jess Withington earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography at the Kansas City Art Institute. She has worked in both documentary and studio photography in Chicago, IL. After holding the position as staff photographer for for a year and a half, she is currently working as a freelance photographer. All of the pieces pictured here are for sale. For information about purchasing work, viewing her portfolio, or hiring her for your creative project, please call 314-704-JESS or email her at

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