What is your favorite childhood memory?My favorite childhood memory I think would be learning about the outdoors with my dad. Having lived in the hills of East Tennessee all my life, his lessons on how to walk through the woods have served me well. How to watch out for copperheads (venomous snakes), and to turn and look back and find a landmark so you are able to find your way out of the woods, have been important lessons to a photographer, especially when out alone.
(Joe: Wise words, indeed. An encounter with a copperhead could ruin your whole day....)
What are the five foods you can’t live without?The five foods I can't live without are Publix Organic Chocolate Ice Cream, anything spicy, Kahlua Brownies, Chicken Portobello, and bread (any and all kinds!).
What’s the best advice anyone has given you and who gave it to you?I think the best advice I have ever received was from a little, elderly man who lived in our small town. He used to say, "Kill them with kindness, Honey, kill them with kindness." He had long since passed away before I ever really grasped just how wise he was. As I grow older it means more and more to me. It's so simple, yet covers a vast complexity of the human experience. No matter how badly you are treated by someone, you will be happier if you treat them with kindness and just let it go. In turn, the person who treated you badly will often realize their mistake and apologize, or at least change their attitude towards you instead of becoming defensive of their own bad actions. It's a snowball effect of always trying to be nice. Also, well, it's not so much advice, but a motto I developed for myself based on the kindness principal, "Don't be bitter, be better." Instead of being envious of another photographer's work, give them a compliment (they deserve it), then work harder on yourself to learn ways to make your own work better. Strive to make your work your own. Nothing is a better compliment than to have someone say they knew it was my work without looking at my name.
(Joe: the advice is pure gold and your motto is something everyone should go by - not just photographers.)
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't shooting?I have two favorite things to do when I'm not shooting. One is organic gardening and the other is doing pen & ink drawings. The garden ties photography and drawing together for me, though, as I often photograph and draw the designs of plants and flowers, all beautifully designed by Mother Nature. I even published a coloring book of my drawings right before Christmas, called Fibonacci Flowers. One of my favorite quotes by Sir Walter Scott is, Nothing is more completely the child of art than a garden.
If you could spend an hour with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?If I could spend an hour with any famous person, past or present, I would choose an hour with Nikola Tesla. Tesla was one of the most brilliant, innovative, and interesting people to ever walk this Earth. We still use many of his inventions today. Being a tech-girl (my degree is in Computer Network Systems), I am blown away by his inventions. He also was quite the humanitarian and wanted to give people his gifts instead of becoming rich from them, himself. He was a man decades ahead of his time, and we've never had anyone else like him on this planet.
Why photography?I have loved photography since I was a little girl, begging to use the camera whenever anyone would let me. When I was in high school, my dad bought a Canon AE-1, and I promptly took it over, and I fell head over heels for all the things it could do. I took classes in high school and worked in the darkroom. Photography has been a life-long, learning adventure. There is always something new to learn! I love capturing moments. Time does not stop for anyone but photographers. It's a magic time machine, a memory box, a link to our past. I want to share with the world the way I see it, through my lens. With my camera, I can take you on a tour of everything that is beautiful where I am with the click of the shutter button.
(Joe: that is such a great camera. My dad had a Minolta SRT-101 that I commandeered in my early years. I since turned to Canon. I have been at this for more than 40 years and am still learning....)
Can you explain your photography in 10 words or less?I can actually explain it in two words: magnificent light That is what I try to capture in each and every image I take.
What is your greatest achievement in photography?There are three things that I consider my greatest achievements in photography. The first one is my book, The Simple Guide to Great Photography. I wrote it, edited, composited, designed it, and published it. It was given a 4-star review by Peter Bauer (the author of Photoshop for Dummies) in KelbyOne's Photoshop User magazine. I have received wonderful feedback from all around the world, and I am happy to announce that my second photography book, The Simple Guide to Composition, will be out soon! It is in the editing stages right now. The second thing is having my photo of the Nolichucky River published by the Sierra Club in a campaign to raise awareness for Tennessee rivers. I grew up playing in the Nolichucky. It was literally my back yard as a child, and to have my photo of a river that means so much to me get sent out to thousands of people was overwhelming. The fact that my photo might help to save my river was a very powerful and moving moment for me. The third thing is more of a personal nature. For years I admired several photographers and watched their work on photography sites and dreamed of being that talented. In the last couple of years, I have really strived to up my game and now several of those photographers I admired from afar are now friends, and it always blows me away when they compliment my work. If you want to push yourself, try thinking that the photographer you admire most is going to see what you share. It has made me a much better photographer, and much more discerning about what I post.
If you could share a gallery show with anyone past or present, who would it be?If I could share a gallery show with anyone, it would be James Overstreet, the photographer for ESPN's Bassmasters. I am not really a fishing fan, but I have followed his nature and landscape work for years and years and I have learned so much. He is one of my heroes that I have gotten to know, and he is a super-talented, down-to-earth, southern-through-and-through guy. He doesn't take himself too seriously and always seems to be having fun doing what he is doing. I think we would have a blast of a gallery show!
(Joe: I never saw this answer coming. I am going to have to check out some of his work.)
Where do you draw inspiration from when you shoot and what’s your favorite part about the process?I draw inspiration from lots of different things, from a nature walk, to looking through images of my favorite photographers, to art and sculpture. My favorite part of the process is the developing and editing. I do get excited when I am shooting when I know it has potential, but I can't wait to get those shots on my screen and see what magic I have captured and that I can bring out to show the world.
What are your Top 5 "Deserted Island" albums?
- Def Leppard, Hysteria
- Jimmy Buffett, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve
- George Michael, Faith
- The Band, The Band
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