Thursday, December 30, 2010

Greetings from Palm Springs...

My mother and I found a *new* favorite piece of California. :)
More photos from our trip can be seen in my flickr stream.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Poems I wrote somewhere in New Mexico

While I was in college, I took a few poetry classes. I created what I consider my best work ever (which amounts to three poems) and ever since, have not been able to complete a poem I am as proud of. I think my problem is I learned too much about writing poetry intended for other poets. I used to be able to write poems and short stories with such ease--and now I over-think, over-analyze and focus too much on creating intellectual syntax and deeper meaning. So fast-forward to a week or so ago... I was on day two of my three-day cross-country train ride back to L.A. when I finally was able to write and complete two poems. Here they are:

Need vs. Desire

The American Dream was left for dead
cleverly disguised as a weathered Cadillac
next to a stack of used tires
between two terracotta towns

(Someone told you you wanted it)
(Someone told you you needed them)

Signs point toward towns too small to map
as tractor trailers & pickups speed past
backyards full of scrap metal & dry riverbeds
en route to destinations unseen

(Someone told you you bought it)
(Someone told you you owned them)

All Dreams will end the same--
sunbleached by time,
abandoned by technology,
until we differentiate need vs. desire.


You & I
are scarecrows
between dry watering holes
& dead telephone poles

It's here we question:
how they can afford so many miles of fence
how the cattle are fed and watered
where the dirt road leads
where the nearest general store is located

Is there more to life?
we wonder, alone
unable to wander
far from home.

Tah dah, lemme know what you think. Would love to know your interpretations...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


First, let me start by saying I LOVE The Impossible Project, their employees, their mission, the stickers, promotions and the buzz they've created--I appreciate it all. They've even taken the boring, black cardboard slides (that first shoot out before the film is ready to use) and turned them into collectible items, by adding a series of witty phrases. They've given me hope and resurrected my favorite films, but I lately have been a little disappointed. Trying to use their 600 series Silver Shade film has been... an Impossible Project. :(

Here's what I was trying to photograph:

Here were the results... seven completely ruined, blank shots. I've tried everything: allowing them to develop outside; running inside where it was warmer; allowing one to develop in the shade, another in the sun; and NOTHING. The last shot was the only shot to develop 1/2 inch of the image... and that was because I left the photo hanging from the camera.

Is anyone else having this problem?? I know it's not my camera, because the camera is fairly new and I recently used it with color film and had great results. Here is the back of the film, in case it is a bad batch:

Sunday, October 10, 2010


You go out to dinner with four of your friends. At the end of the meal, the check arrives. It gets passed around the table for about 10 minutes before it even reaches you. When you look at the bill, you notice the tab next to your meal says "0.00". This is clearly a misprint, a mistake made by your waitress. Everyone at the table says "Nice, free meal!!" "Their error!!" and suggests you simply accept the mishap as good luck, and leave a generous tip. What would you do??

A. Follow your friends' advice and leave a generous tip.
B. Alert the waitress and ask her to correct the mistake so you can pay your share.
C. Think "Sweet, free meal!!" and don't leave any money. (Afterall, you can't calculate a tip for something that cost $0.00).

(Be sure to select an answer before reading on...)

What made you select your plan of action?? Generally, people are predictable creatures. Based on your answer, I bet I can determine your rationale. Does your selection (A, B or C) match up with the following...

A. The mistake was clearly the incompetence of the waitress. She is repsonsible for the mistake, not me. I'm just benefiting from a glitch in the system. Everyone else at the table would do the same.
B. The basic principles of Karma. It was the right thing to do. I would feel badly about accepting a free meal that wasn't intended for me.
C. The restaurant made a lot of money that night--one free meal isn't going to ruin them. I bet no one would even notice. Plus, I could use the extra cash.

Was I right?? And why am I asking you all of this?? Good question.

This scenario I described happened to me last night. I weighed all of the options I listed but, almost immediately, I chose B and was proud of myself for doing what I felt was the right thing. I strive to be a good person, but ultimately my rationale was based on guilt and Karma. If you chose A or C, it doen't necessarily mean you are a bad person, but if I were you, I'd examine the rationale behind your choice. You obviously felt the free meal was owed to you because you deserve it; but what makes a person deserving??

After I did "the right thing" by notifying the waitress of her mistake, the majority of the table changed their answer. "Yeah, that's probably what I would have done too", my friend said. "You would felt bad if you didn't tell her", another friend said after the waitress left to modify the check. Then why did he suggest I do the very opposite?? Only one of the four said "Your loss!! What does doing the right thing get you?? Now you're leaving with less money". The whole situation was pretty enlightening, considering I was the only person at the table who originally wanted to tell the waitress.

I was reminded of the importantance of leading by example and practicing what you believe. If you do the right thing, others will follow. Remember: big realizations often occur during small moments in life. Are you keeping your mind open to these small moments??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Impossible Project Film Giveaway

Want to win a FREE pack of the ever-so-artsy PX 600 Silver Shade film from The Impossible Project?! Then head over to Rachel B. Blog. There are five ways to win, but unfortunately only one winner... so good luck!!

(Images shot by me, Jena Ardell, All rights reserved). To see more of my Silver Shade images, please visit my flickr stream.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Three-Bean Salad Recipe

Jena's Tres Frijoles Salad
In a large bowl mix the following:
-TWO 14.5-16 oz cans of string beans
-ONE 16 oz can of garbonzo beans
-ONE 16 oz can of light red kidney beans
Next, add as much of the following as you prefer:
-onion flakes-celery seed (I add A LOT!!)
-red wine vinegar
-(olive oil optional)
-(oregano optional)
Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Wake Up Call to ALL Photographers and Artists

I want to share a email that I received recently:

Hi :)

I work for an Advertising Agency in London and were looking to do a fun “happy” campaign in and around the UK – It will be to launch a range of DVD`s and could be used on posters, in store and press ads.We really love your “The whole story” image – how would you feel about us possibly using this image to inject ‘happiness’ to the public! I completely understand if you don’t want to and I hope you don’t mind me asking,

Kind Regards, (Their name)

And here was my response:

Hi (Their name),

Thank you so much for contacting me. I am very flattered you would like to use my "The Whole Story" image. I would love to sell the rights to your advertising agency for print campaign usage. I rely on my photography to earn a living and I hope you understand why I can't give the image away for free. If you would like to negotiate a usage fee, I would love to move forward with this project!!

Hope to hear back from you,


Now here's the lesson: Yes, I am flattered and yes, I would LOVE to see my work used in an international campaign where it will potentially be seen by millions of people but let's get real. If you haven't already, you NEED to stop giving your work away for free. Not only does undermine your work, but it undermines ALL artists' works if ad agencies and companies can find photography and artwork for free. I know this ad agency may never respond to my email (they haven't yet and it's been four days since I sent it), but it's a matter of self-worth and principle. The sad part is I already know what they're going to do next: get back on flickr and search for someone who is willing to give their photography/artwork away for free in exchange for the excitement of seeing their work in print. Don't let this person be you. Start charging for ALL usage of your work (and if it's really creative/unique/one-of-a-kind, charge A LOT). If all photographers/artists do this, then more people will be able to earn a living as photographers/artists. By helping yourself, you will be helping an entire industry of struggling creatives. As for the ad agency, they should know better.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Published in Elle Girl Korea July 2010

My work is featured in the July 2010 issue of Elle Girl Korea on page 176!! :) More photos here:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Overheard in a restaurant tonight

There was a little boy sitting a table away from mine tonight at the Thai restaurant. He looked about six years old (couldn't have been older than seven), and was sitting across from his younger sister. In between bites, he looked up and asked his mother...

"Do you think there will be a World War III?"
"I don't know," she said.
"Well I hope not," the little boy responded. "I hope I'm not alive when there is a World War III. We'd hear gunshots outside in the streets... and people would be shooting in our windows!!"

The parents seemed unfazed and remained silent. Then his little sister asked when the end of the world was going to be!! Geeze. I couldn't believe that these YOUNG kids were worrying about issues like this. I already never want to have children, but stuff like this makes me REALLY never want to have children. Unless a miraculous awakening happens in the year 2012, all the problems we shrug off because it's not happening in most of our backyards, like contaminated soil or lack of clean water, are problems that the next generation is going to be forced to deal with. :( I hope the latter scenario doesn't materialize, but that's where it seems we are headed. This month-long-plus oil spill + ocean dumping + drying of seas + overfishing + overpopulation + wastefulness, especially of water + the current mass production of plastics is going to catch up to us REAL FAST.

Monday, May 24, 2010


"Sarah Palin urged the country to 'trust the oil industry' and to continue to pursue offshore drilling initiatives in light of the Gulf Coast oil spill when delivering a speech in Missouri over the weekend. The Kansas City Star reports that Palin called the massive oil slick 'tragic,' but defended drilling as a viable energy solution when speaking to a mostly Republican crowd."


Sarah Palin's husband works for BP. Of course she's telling you to "trust the oil industry" despite there being a oil slick the size of Maryland and Delaware COMBINED floating in the Gulf Coast. DON'T SUPPORT OFFSHORE DRILLING and boycott BP.

FYI: BP earned 6.4 billion dollars at the begining of this year... why the hell aren't they using that money now to contain this disaster?!

FACT: BP refused to build a shut-off valve when building the rig. This catastrophe could have been avoided.

What a f-ing nightmare.

Photos of the oil spill.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Photos from the MOPLA Group Show

Opening at Smashbox Studios 4/29/10:
Me and my guy:
Prime real estate:
Bar area:
Me and my favorite boss Dave:
Reenacting my pose:
DJ room:
The place was PACKED!! My "Sexy Silhouette 2" print will be on display until May 20th. Hope it sells!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

MOPLA Group Show

A 24x30 styrene print of my "Sexy Silhouette 2" Polaroid will be included in this group show!!

Opening is April 29th at 7 pm and is free if you RSVP to Hope to see you there!!

"C’mon, admit it. You’re kind of…well, a big deal. You’re one of LA’s best up-&-coming photographers. You just need more people to know it. Well, here’s your chance to get more of your work seen right here at SMASHBOX Studios. Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA) is calling for submissions for a group photo exhibit that’ll show right here with us on April 29th, 2010. Co-curated by Hossein Farmani of the Lucie Foundation and Dee DeLara of Smashbox Studios."

The Month of Photography Los Angeles will deliver the most comprehensive celebration of Photography in Los Angeles. With the support of the Photography Community, MOPLA will showcase the work of 160 Photographers worldwide. The city of Los Angeles was incorporated in April 1850, 160 years ago. The theme for MOPLA 2010 is 160/160 - Celebrating 160 Years Through 160 Photographers.

Work will be featured until May 20th. Gallery is open Tuesday - Sunday, 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM. Smashbox Studios, 8549 Higuera Street, Culver City, CA

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This made my day...

I just received the nicest email from a model from modelmayhem:

It's very rare that photography can effect my entire mood, but your website just rocked my world. Not only do I suddenly crave a carefree summer at the beach, but I feel a nostalgic innocence awakened from a hidden and vulnerable part of me that I thought was lost. Your images don't just capture a retro look, they encapsulate all the emotions that go along with it. :::Bravo:::

hope all is well,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mailing list

If you would like to join my mailing list to receive information from me, regarding news about my work, upcoming gallery exhibitions and publications... please leave a comment with your email address.

Your comment will not be published, so no one else will see your email address and I will not spam you or give your email address to a third party.

Mailing list will be sent monthly, unless something really exciting happens. ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jena Ardell Giveaway

I'm giving away any TWO retro fine art prints from my etsy shop (A $70 value). All you need to do is enter to win!! Just post a comment here answering this question: If you could go back in time and visit any decade, which would you choose and why?? One lucky winner will be selected on April 22, 2010.

Monday, March 29, 2010

5 Surefire Ways to Gain More Flickr Followers

1. Only post photos of girls. If you happen to be a girl, self-portraits also work. Just remember this equation: more skin = more views.

SIDENOTE: If you're going to post self-portraits, ONLY post self-portraits. You don't want to give someone the option of looking at someone other than you.

2. Only post one image per day. Keep viewers wanting more, but be consistent. Fewer photos means more views per photo.

3. Use Photoshop. People often confuse Photoshop with photography skill, so use this to your advantage.

4. Collaborate. People like to see familiar faces, so shoot fellow Flickrites. Be sure to shoot high-profile Flickrites, otherwise nobody will really care.

5. Write interesting captions. Pretend flickr is your blog and make it personal. The longer the story > greater chance of someone relating to you > greater chance of someone leaving a comment.

Good luck and Happy Flickr-ing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Smoothie

1 handful of spinach
1 orange (peeled)
1 lime (peeled)
1 cup of water
3 tbsp honey
12 or more ice cubes


Perfect for St. Patrick's Day and every other day...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Guide to Southern California Beaches


El Matador:
Gorgeous, secluded, difficult walk to beach. Sometimes littered with naked old men who think it is a nude beach.

Malibu Beach: Surfrider territory, lagoon, small pier. Checkout the Adamson House while you're there!!

Marina Del Rey: More industrial, smoggy, Venice fishing pier. Great if you like looking at boats.

Point Dume State Beach: Clean, diagonal, not free. You pay to park here but can go to Zuma (literally 50 ft away) for free.

Santa Monica State Beach: Tourists, dirty, pier. Awesome bike and walking paths. Please note these paths are SEPARATE so I can ride my bike without dodging you.

Venice Beach: Eclectic, graffiti wall, plethora of bums. Sometimes smells like urine.

Zuma: Flat, volley ball, large parking lot. A popular spot in Malibu.


Coronado: Lovely, fighter jets, gold sand. The Hotel Del is A-MAZING.

La Jolla:
Scenic, beautiful, cliffs. Sea caves and kayaking galore.

Ocean Beach:
Dirty, hippies, bikers. The pier there is the longest concrete pier on the west coast... it's also full of beatnik/hippie/alternative folk.

Mission Beach: Popular, drunken college town, kid friendly. Here boardwalk = concrete area near ocean, not on a pier. And the roller coaster costs $6-7 a pop to ride.

Pacific Beach: Surfer haven, scenic, Crysal pier. Area is full of shops, bars and night clubs. Parking is a bitch.


Leo Carillo:
Rocky, clean, tide pools. People from L.A. like to go here on the weekends so they can forget they live in L.A. for the day.

East Beach:
Sporty, college crowd, volleyball heaven. Look for starfish hanging onto nearby Stearn's Wharf pier. Sea lions are also common.

Oxnard Beach:
Dog beach, kid friendly, playground. I wouldn't swim in the water here, but the bike/walking paths are nice!!

Ventura Pier beach area: Scenic areas, lots of pebbles, chilly. Santa Monica feel, only less populated, no rides and more clean.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day...

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ~Albert Camus
Since it is such a nasty/gray/rainy day in L.A. and the east is getting pummeled with more snow... I figured we could all use a little sunshine.

Here are two galleries I created, FULL of summery photos from fellow flickrites:

Swimming Pool:


Spread the warmth!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Buddhist Blessing for the New Year!!

I'm not a Buddhist, nor do you need to be to enjoy this blessing. May 2010 be one of your best!! Happy New Year!!

Just as water flowing in the stream and rivers fills the ocean, thus may all your moments of goodness touch and benefit all beings, those here now and those gone before.

May all your wishes be soon fulfilled as completely as the moon on a full-moon night, as successfully as from the Wish-Fulfilling Gem. May all dangers be averted; may all disease leave you.

May no obstacles come across your way and may you enjoy happiness and long life.

May those who are always respectful, honoring the way of the elders, prosper in the four blessings of old age, beauty, happiness, and strength.

~Adopted from the Pattanumodana blessing-chant