I sat in the middle of a bar with a couple of friends as we watched a coworker of ours start his set on the stage in front of us, he spat a couple of decent bars. I felt like it was worth the drive over.  It was a small bar, dark with the occasional stream of colored lights that flowed around the room, it seemed like a decent place to grab a drink or two and simply chill with some friends. It didn’t take long for a small crowd started to form in front of the stage. Some were sober enough to appreciate the sound if you were able to see the occasional nod and hear them cheer over the base, others seemed to have had one drink too many, no control over their limbs as they attempted to dance to the beat of the music. I couldn’t really tell which beat they were trying to follow but it was fun to just watch with the music in the background. 

 People-Watching was kind of the best fun you could have at places like this, where the music is too loud to chat with your friends and you can’t drink since you planned on not crashing your car on the drive back home. This was when I noticed Jessica, right in the middle of the crowd, camera in her hands with a bag over her shoulder as she took a few rapid shots. She was swift as she moved through the crowd, the camera never left her face, while she avoided any collision with terrible non-sober dancers to take the next potential perfect shot. Jessica Cook was in her element. To show my obvious support, as her friend, I took a video on Snapchat and tagged this working girl. A small way to show off her professionalism.

Jessica Cook and I became friends in early July when we ended up working at the same photography studio. I can say with all the honesty I am able to muster within my being that she is probably one of the sweetest people I’ve met as well as a very talented photographer. 

The beginning of her photography career had been inspired by her mother’s own photography.  Over the years Cook had gone through many different types of photography, which also grew into videography when the time called for it, such as abstract art, music festivals and venues, animals, portraits and candids, behind the scenes in film productions, and concerts. Cook had said that she “enjoys seeing the beauty of people” in her photos.

Jessica Cook is currently a publicist for Aura, a local Jacksonville rapper, who she produces videos and photo content photos. She is also collecting her degree in film and business at Penn State. If you would like to see some of her work, please check out her work @cookiephotos_ on Instagram. 

Sabrina Cabrera Rivera is a new columnist for OnTampa. She was originally from Orlando, Florida and is of Puerto Rican descent. She is currently a student at The University of Tampa earning her bachelor's degree as a creative writing major. Ms.Cabrera Rivera has published pieces for a online blog called Geekwhale and published a poem at Polk State Community College in 2012 when she was only 14. She also holds a nice skill set of photography experience that she had build in her young adult life. When she isn't studying or writing her life away she uses her free time to take photos of her adventures in Tampa bay, teaching herself Italian, or losing herself in a bookstore. She is always on the move, meeting new people and ready to travel for another adventure. If you wish to contact Sabrina, you could send her a message to her email or Facebook account at hikaroma13@outlook.com.