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A New Chapter: Simply Sonder

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Jackie Nunnally

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April 14, 2023

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As a little snapshot of my story and the why behind it all-

The blueprint for this dream has been in the makin’ for as long as I can remember because my creative journey started well before ever picking up the camera.

Ever since I was young, I’ve been the gal with her head in the clouds, heart on her sleeve, and energy to burn. All the wonder around me inspired me because I saw the possibility of connection through creativity. I followed my curiosity throughout the years into dabbling in different career paths and creative outlets, eventually leading to those worlds colliding.

Image by The Humble Lion

On the other hand, I know it probably goes without saying, for most of us the last several years of social, political, and environmental crises evoked some not-so-glamourous journies down some deep internal wrestling, identity deconstructing and moving through complex levels of grief (to put it lightly).

Throughout that spiral of chaos, some truths hit hard; we can only hold as much space as we are willing to hold for ourselves, meaning we can’t ask others to change if we aren’t willing to do the work and take a look at ourselves too. The compassion and connection this world so desperately needs, must start from within. While I quickly realized this work would take a lifetime, I knew I wasn’t about to ask anyone else to go to depths I hadn’t allowed myself to go either, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

Between breakdowns and victories, the “ah-ha” moments helped me realize that all the failures, losses, and separations could be transformed into something new, life-giving, and unifying. We may not always be in control of what happens to us, (others’ free will still exists), but the narrative we construct can change, which has an immense power to transform the world around us. Each of our stories contributes to unique perspectives and wisdom, forming a necessary puzzle piece to the larger image.

Some of my “ah-ha” moments helped me realize that what I thought were dead-end dabbles and heartbreaks allowed me to build a hand-dandy tool belt. Not only did experiences in dance, fine arts, construction, styling, events, and merchandising, along with interests in traveling, entrepreneurship, social & environmental justice, health & wellness, and spirituality, lead me to spaces filled with incredible people who have taught me the most invaluable lessons while showing me what an honor it is to live life fully. Turns out, the pain points of fear and separation derived from feeling disconnected, unseen, unheard, or devalued have molded themselves into gifts of connection. For instance, growing up as a mixed-black woman in a predominately white Christian community has given me insights into depths and complexities that allow me to hold space for others’ nuanced experiences. Now I wouldn’t trade in any part of my story because it is an honor to witness others and connect on a deeper level. 

Honestly, it still feels utterly terrifying to speak my truth and take up space… at times, I much rather hang out in my comfy lil’ hidey hole than go against the grain or risk disconnection. I am well aware of the weight and responsibility of representing the intersectionalities of marginalized groups in a space well… perfectionism can creep in quickly, but on the other side of that, I am so grateful for the compassion, grit, patience, resilience, and precision of being intentional allows me to have. So yes, it’s vulnerable, but I know it is necessary for this next chapter, and this dream means much more than what is known, safe, and familiar to me. I am honoring the ones who came before and paved a new way, sacrificing their comfort and lives because they believed so wholeheartedly in a world where we could be more unified and connected to one another. We are all inherently worthy, the world needs our presence, and there is courage in showing up despite our fears. I am not the only one who shares these ideas and dreams, so I am way more excited about connecting and creating something new with others.

Photography has been an intersection where worlds have collided and gained life-giving momentum, and I also know it won’t be the end-all-be-all for me, in fact, I’m sure that creative medium will shift again at some point. There is still so much to experience, people to meet, and new passions to uncover in this lifetime so I am dedicated to continuously learning how to balance meeting myself where I am at, listening to the wisdom we are connected to, and moving forward with intention and compassion.

With that said, I’ve been feeling this shift to start bringing a bigger vision to life for a while now. While I am excited for what is to come, I had to take some time to get intentional, connect some dots, learn some new skills, shed what was no longer serving me, and grieve inevitable changes. It is one thing to dream big, but another to break it into bite-sized pieces and bring it into reality. So I am starting where I am at, still focusing on photography. Yet, instead of moving forward as Jackie Nunnally Photography, I am focusing my intentions on creating a bigger container for visual storytelling and expanding the capacity for creativity, curiosity, connection, and compassion beyond my name. Plus, at the end of the day, as much as I put my heart in soul into what I create, I am not what I do, build, or how I am perceived, so I want to keep that boundary for my own health and wellness so I can continue to show up well for my life and the people in it.

So without further or do… am stoked to announce the next chapter of this story…

Brand photography for sustainable brands, ethical leaders, and conscientious artisans.

What does sonder even mean?

You know that humbling feeling when you piece together someone’s gift with their story? How all their moments of complexity and experiences led them to who and where they are now? All while realizing how serendipitous it is that your paths are intertwining. That softening around the heart is sonder.

Simply put, Sonder is the profound realization that everyone lives a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Everything is connected, perspective is powerful, and our story matters.

Moving forward, I am focusing on providing editorial brand photography for small brands owned by humans who are intentionally inclusive and conscious of their impact on the world around them. They are pragmatic dreamers and grounded visionaries. Not only have they connected the dots between what the world needs, what they’re good at, and how they thrive, but they also have the passion, intuition, and integrity to bring it all to life. They are dedicated to bridging the gap between our differences and intersectionalities, individually and collectively. Their passion may be in making jewelry, curating clothing, crafting herbal teas, or designing websites…but no matter their medium, their mission is to embody healthy change and impact the world one perspective and product at a time.

Connecting with what feels mutually life-giving is invaluable, and that happens when we let ourselves be seen. So capturing what lights others up fills my cup and it’s truly an honor to walk alongside other creative world-changers, makers, and shakers to help bring their visions to life.

So let’s pour up some bomb-diggity kombucha (or whatever your drink of choice is) and chat it up about our “sky-’s-the-limit” visions, laugh at our not-so-glamorous humble beginnings, get choked up over what sits closest to our hearts, and cheers to a more authentically connected world around us. 

Here’s to enjoying the little things and capturing what makes life beautiful one holistically-directed, editorial-styled, story-telling image at a time. 

“Peace, baby”

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