By ASHLEY BERKERY
Virginia Jones started posting a photo a day to her Birmingham blog in June 2008 and quickly made friends all over the world.
“My blogger friends were amazed at how beautiful Birmingham is,” said the retired Shades Cahaba Elementary third grade teacher. “They had preconceived notions of Alabama until they saw my photos. They said they always thought it was just an old steel town.”
Today her Birmingham Alabama Daily Photo blog has 1200 readers a week, where Jones adds her own flavor and voice to each shot she shares of her city and of Homewood.
“I love shooting places and people in Homewood,” Jones said. She especially likes to photograph Sweet Peas garden shop, kids looking through the glass at smiley face cookies at Savages, Homewood parades, the star on 18th Street and anything in Homewood at night.
Without fail a new photo appears on Jones’ blog each day—even when she is traveling and shooting abroad.
Although she had always photographed her students for an end-of-the-year slide show, Jones had never enjoyed sight and street photography until she traveled abroad.
“The first time I went to Paris was in 2007, and that was the turning point for my photography,” Jones said.
Her Paris photo journal, ParisThroughMyLens.blogspot.com, has now been going three years strong and featured on several French websites, including myfrenchlife.org, parisiensalon.com, and belleinspirationmagazine, an online magazine. She has published many of her images in a new book, Paris Rouge Through My Lens.
Jones’ interaction with her blogging friends extends beyond the sphere of the internet. She met up with blogging friends in Paris in 2008, and one blogger friend from Florida was so amazed by Jones’ blogs that he gave her a round trip ticket to Paris.
“My experiences in Paris have been a testimony of the power of blogging on the internet,” she said. “I have yet to meet a blogger that isn’t what they seem to be. We all laugh about how each personality is the same in person as it is online.”
For Jones, making friends all over the world has just been one facet of her adventures in photography.
“Since retirement my life has completely surprised me with more than I ever expected,” Jones said. “Photography has allowed me to reinvent myself and now it is my passion. C’est magnifique!”
Ever the educator, Jones now teaches a five-week “From Snapshots to Photographs” class for the amateur photographer who wants to improve the quality of their shots. To inquire about classes, visit her website.
Jones’ photos can be seen on birminghamalabamadailyphoto.blogspot.com.