Downtown above the sidewalk: Severine Photography
Photographer Severine Wider in her studio on the eighth floor of the Jacksonville Bank Building.
Wider shows clients their wedding portfolio at this workstation.
This portable “photo booth” will be set up this evening for Art Walk. It’s popular at weddings, Wider said.
Say “fromage.”

That’s an instruction you might hear on the eighth floor of the Jacksonville Bank Building if you were having your portrait made by photographer Severine Wider.

The native of Geneva, Switzerland grew up speaking French and then came to Jacksonville eight years ago to enroll in the English language program at the University of North Florida. While learning her linguistic option, Wider decided to pursue her lifelong love of the lens. Two years ago, graduated from UNF with a BFA in photography.

“Growing up, we always had cameras in the house,” she said.

Wider opened her studio, Severine Photography, last year the day after the inaugural One Spark crowdfunding festival concluded. She works in the advertising, architectural and corporate genres, and specializes in portraits and wedding photography.

Wider photographs weddings on weekends and works in her studio during the week with advertising agencies and corporate clients.

“I like to work in the studio. Natural light is OK, but as a photographer, I like to be able to control the light,” she said.

When Wider decided to open the studio, she looked all over Jacksonville for the right location. Downtown offered two elements she felt were critical to the success of a photography business, based on the technical requirements of the art and marketing.

“I had to have a lot of open space and very high ceilings for the studio. You don’t find that in other neighborhoods and when I say I’m Downtown, everybody knows where that is.”

The studio’s first anniversary will be celebrated April 9-13 during One Spark. Wider has registered as a creator and will be producing a series of themed photographs while giving One Spark visitors the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at a professional photo shoot.

She’s also providing exhibit areas for two other One Spark creators, one who is developing a mobile app and another with a project for breast cancer survival awareness.

“I have the space and it’s nice to have people here working,” she said.


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