Hearken: An Interview with Storyteller and Educator Breanne Rodgers

In March we had the privilege of collaborating with Breanne and Jonathan Rodgers to create images for their beautiful new brand Hearken. As we’re wedding photographers, this was an entirely new experience for us. One thing we love about wedding photography is the way it can be done in a documentary style; so for this shoot we wanted to use that passion by documenting a “day-in-the-life” of the Rodgers family and simultaneously capture the heart of what they’ve created Hearken to be.

The Rodgers designed Hearken as a resource to come alongside the “every day artist” to empower you to document your own “every day,” beautiful story; the first course, Her Shadows & Stars, is geared directly toward the mother-artist.

This project was so refreshing and fun and we’re definitely eager to do more like it in the future.

Breanne gives a brief overview of Hearken in the interview below, so keep reading to learn more!

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Let’s start with a personal introduction of yourself:

I'm Breanne Rodgers. A 30-year-old writer and photographer turned story-chaser. My husband of nearly eight years (Jonathan), our son (Behr) and daughter (Scout) call Northern Kentucky home and Cincinnati, OH our family's happy place. I'm happiest hiking near the ocean or talking the deep things face-to-face. Jesus is the reason I have hope beyond myself and my circumstances. Everything I create is in gratitude for what He's given me. 

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What inspires you? Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? OR who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now? 

How much time do you have? ha! Some of my biggest writing influences are J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mary Oliver. 

Some of my biggest photography influences are Joy Prouty (@joyprouty), Ann Palmer (@yanpalmer), Nate & Amanda Howard (@theshalomimaginative) and honestly, you guys

I really admire anyone who takes the darkness, the hard, the suffering and turns it around and around until the light and beauty flickers through. All of these artists have shown me how to do that through the work they've put out into the world. 

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What is "beauty" to you?

Beauty is anything that speaks a message beyond itself of true hope and purpose. For me, true hope is found in Jesus Christ. So, beauty for me is a form of worship.  

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What’s the best advice you ever received? Or something that you keep coming back to?

It might not fall into the category of a pithy line of advice but, my mother taught me I could do hard things. In all the big and small ways, she gave me the gift of being familiar with uncomfortableness. She taught me how to push beyond fears and apathy to do what needed to be done. I've carried that mindset into marriage, motherhood, my creativity, and now, into launching a business teaching women to fearlessly document their lives in story form. 

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Let’s get to know Hearken.

We had this idea: to build a place where the parents with ink in their veins and cameras slung on their shoulders could come and feel welcomed. It would be a haven for the emotives, the intuitive souls, the quiet, lion-hearted storytellers; somewhere for the soft ones to learn of their strength and how to use it for the good of their families and God’s kingdom. Really, we want to help others defy the myth that they can't be both parent and artist. 

The first project to come from Hearken is 'Her Shadows & Stars' which is the haven I’ve created for women to come and learn how to unburden their motherhood and their artistry. 

There's a quote from one of my favorite movies, 'The King's Speech' where Geoffrey Rush (playing Lionel Logue) says: "My job was to give them faith in their own voice and let them know a friend was listening." That quote perfectly sums up the heart behind what my husband and I hope to accomplish through Hearken.


Why specifically “storytelling” and not “photography”? When do you realize that you’re a “storyteller”? How do you see “story”? How does your family and home (your here and now) inspire story in you?

I chose to frame our business around "storytelling" because stories are vital to the human experience. How do we leave a legacy? How do we connect with other people? What did Jesus use to touch hearts and upend the legalistic religious norms of His day? Stories. 

I realized I was a storyteller once I became an adult and realized finding and telling stories had been my way of moving through life. Whether I was sad, lonely or bursting with joy, I just wanted to tell about all of it. 

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Why do you believe it’s important to teach others about documenting their own story--about being “storytellers”?

It's important because each life is a singular, unique story. It will not be repeated, cannot be copied and exists to birth healing into the world. 


What is your biggest challenge when it comes to documenting your story? Any tips on how you overcome these challenges? 

My biggest challenge is showing up where it counts. And realizing this looks different depending on the day. Sometimes it looks like picking my up camera. Sometimes it looks like disciplining myself to sit and write. Sometimes it looks like none of that and taking a nap or hauling the kids for a walk outside instead. So I guess really, learning to exhale into whatever presents itself in the moment and choosing to be grateful for it--that's the challenge. Because when I get that right, I always see my story as worth documenting. Whether I'm actively doing so or not. 

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In summary, is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about Hearken?

Right now, our first course from Hearken, 'Her Shadows & Stars' is open for enrollment! This course was specifically written for the mother artist. It's a six week course centered around giving women the tools to remove themselves from resentment, speak relief into their motherhood and truly delight in their life. Enrollment closes on the 18th and you can click here to find all the information about it! 

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From Breanne: “Thank you for hosting me here on your blog, but moreso for believing in our vision long before it was a reality. You listened to my heart and gave us images that perfectly told the story I wanted to. I am forever grateful to you guys for that!”