Please join me in welcoming Tara Romasanta as today’s Guest Muse. I first “met” Tara in late 2010 in an online photography course that we were both taking. That course offered daily prompts that we would all shoot to and share in a community gallery (come to think of it, that same course is how I met many of my fellow muses, past and present!). Not only do I remember Tara’s work from those days, as it often stood out in the gallery, but I also remember her generosity and kindness in commenting on the work of others. Since that time I have had the pleasure of meeting Tara and spending time with her, most recently on the beach in British Columbia earlier this fall. I admire her dedication to improving her craft in photography and am so often blown away by the work that she’s producing. In this month of gratitude I am grateful for Tara’s friendship and support and, most recently, for the gentle kick in the arse that she gave me early one morning to go and shoot some self portraits on the beach.
Thank you, Tara, for all of that and for sharing your words and your work here today.
I’m convinced a daily photography practice makes me a better person. Maybe even a saner person. Certainly it has trained me to look for light at every turn. Or, in our case, every move.
It just so happens that we move a lot, as in four times in the last five years.
Granted, one of those was just a self-inflicted move around the corner. Other moves have topped my ‘never in a million years would I choose to live here’ list. Las Vegas was one such place. Sure, I can appreciate the infamous Strip’s fine dining and entertainment galore, but it really isn’t my scene.
Or, I didn’t think it was, until my camera taught me to see it and experience it differently. Las Vegas is nothing if not a spectacle. When I arrived in Las Vegas I was focused on the artifice of it all. But through the eyes of my camera, I shifted my focus to the spectacular, and I learned to appreciate Las Vegas more for what it is, less for what it isn’t.
Shooting a 365 means you are constantly seeking photo opportunities. Given I had a baby during the first two weeks of my first 365, many of those had to be of the everyday mundane variety, a daily gratitude practice of seeking to find the beauty around you. But, importantly, that 365 also got me out the door, which is no small feat for a mom of two under twos. In so many ways, shooting 365’s has saved me. It pushed me to do more, so that I could see more and shoot more. I gave myself photo assignments: A Lensbaby tour of the Strip taught me to seek beauty in the cliché.
A goose chase for the wild horses of Nevada, originally merely a “thing to photograph,” became my favorite soothing drive when the boys were under-the-weather and couldn’t be around other people but also couldn’t stand to stay home any longer.
I’d not have twisted the arms of non-tog friends to take a most memorable road trip to Death Valley National Park had it not made its way onto my ‘must photograph before moving’ list.
Just like that, my resistance to living in Las Vegas had evolved into actively seeking out ways to more fully experience it, both in front of and behind the lens. When I said goodbye to Las Vegas last summer, I did so with love in my heart for the place I so thought I’d hate.
I’m winding down my second 365 at the end of this year. I know I’m done with the handcuffs of having to shoot everyday when this one is done. I want to do less shoots with more winners rather than struggle to find a daily winning shot. But my eye has been trained to seek beauty, even in the most unlikely of places, a lesson that cannot be unlearned or unseen, and for that, I will always be grateful.