Christmas 2014 was a special one for Alexandra Jarrett.
Under the tree that year was a Canon Rebel camera, a gift she still plays with today.
That gift has been the centrepiece of Jarrett’s business – Axis Imagery Ltd. Her Saskatoon-based company provides a variety of artistic visual services, including photography, videography and graphic and web design.
Though the 28-year-old Jarrett said her favourite aspect of her business is conducting training workshops at local schools, working with youth and lending a hand at the Boys and Girls Club of Saskatoon.
“I’ll do workshops at reserve schools too,” Jarrett said. “Some schools have cameras for students to use, but of the schools don’t (have cameras), so I’ll get them to use their phones instead. Most phones are just as good as some cameras … I just want them to get started and maybe it’s something they’ll want to do.”
That’s exactly how Jarrett fell in love with photography. Born in Meadow Lake and raised on and off the Eagles Lake First Nation, Jarrett said she always had an interest in the creative arts. A black and white film class in high school took her interest in photography to a new level. Her camera gift that Christmas was icing on the cake.
“I was always interested in photography, but we didn’t have a lot of money growing up and living on the reserve, so we didn’t really have the funds for something like (a camera),” Jarrett said.
Axis Imagery Ltd., opened in 2018 and Jarrett has been busy ever since. She shoots weddings, school graduations and family reunions and was scheduled to be the primary photographer at an FSIN event this spring. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced FSIN the cancel the event.
Jarrett credits the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation for playing a significant role in launching her business. Jarrett paired the grant that SIEF provided with a monetary prize she won at the Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge. The premise of that competition is to help young entrepreneurs turn their business idea into a business opportunity.
“SIEF made it so much easier for me to get started,” Jarrett said. “They were great to work with and very supportive of me and my business through everything.”
One initiative close to Jarrett’s heart is the Indigenous Portrait Project she created. Within this project she asks people in her communities to share their stories of what their culture means to them and how they would describe their visual identity. Accompanied with the words are photographs of the storyteller taken by Jarrett.
“I started the Indigenous Portrait Project as a way to search through what I knew about my own visual identity,” she explained. “I know that there are all walks of life in Indigenous communities, so I feel it’s important for people to challenge what they believe Indigenous means.”
Jarrett hopes to grow her business by becoming more plugged in in her community. She is set to network with youth at Saskatoon’s Art and Hip Hop show later this summer. This event will showcase eight workshops over four days.
Jarrett said the goal of the show is to provide the youth with an art fair geared towards making connections to resources for youth. Local art business like Axis Imagery will showcase their resources and platforms for youth to connect with.