I am an amateur photographer and a starving artist, so I’m keeping my day job.
For as long as I can remember, my dad took family photos, slides and video to document precious moments and stories to pass along to future generations.
After the birth of my first child I understood the importance my dad placed on capturing snapshots of everyday life and preserving the past for the future.
Early in my print journalism career I learned the value of illustrating a story with photos. A good photo informs and captivates. A great photo becomes etched in memory.
Because memories fade with time, I made a “bucket list” at age 50 and started taking photos with a passion to tell my life story, to document “Hey, I’ve been there, done that.” I have lived in Indiana and North Carolina and traveled through 23 other states … and still have places to go, things to do and people to see. As a result of my travels, I’m picture poor but rich in words by the thousands!
As a person I am a contradiction of terms. A product of the middle child syndrome. Or maybe it has to do with being post-menopausal in conflict with being born on the astrological cusp between Libra and Scorpio.
A Charlie (perfume) girl since the ’70s: I’m a tomboy, yet a girly girl. Conservative, yet liberal. Structured, yet undisciplined. Reserved, yet precocious. Shy, yet outgoing. Sensible, yet adventurous. All of which define me as a photographer and an artist.
As a photographer I am eclectic, bordering on eccentric. I take photos of things that stop me in my tracks … the unique and unusual. The world’s largest of anything excites the kid in me. I take photos of things that feed my psyche, including but not limited to architecture, landmarks, statues, insects, wildlife, wildflowers, trees, leaves, rocks, water, sunrises, sunsets, cityscapes, landscapes and any tourist attraction. An unabashed tourist … I am the sore thumb in a crowd. So what if people stare. Take a picture. It’ll last longer.
As an artist I am experimental. I tend to bend rules and think outside the frame. In addition to traditional matte and glossy prints, I like to present metallic prints; photos on canvas, aluminum, wood, glass and stone; abstract and digital creations; 3-dimentional pieces; and examples of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of seeing faces, figures, or animals in clouds, tree bark, wood grain, rock, marble, sand, smoke, shadows, water or any non-homogeneous area where they do not actually exist.
My first digital camera was a 2006 Kodak EasyShare P850, 5.1 megapixel with 12X zoom. Capturing a Kodak moment was/is downright challenging, sometimes frustrating, but most times rewarding. It is now my backup camera to the Nikon D5100 with 18-55 mm kit lens I started using in June 2012.
I try to get as close as I can to a wild creature from my woods, a songbird on a fence post … both difficult, using only an 18-55 mm kit lens. At first I thought owning several lenses, filters, and other professional equipment would make me a better photographer … until I read these quotes:
“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” ~ Arnold Newman
“Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light, I just take pictures.” ~ Vernon Trent
I joined River City Art Association in January 2013. In my first year, I participated in two invitational shows, two 2013 Year of the River art shows, and exhibits at Community Theatre of Terre Haute, Gaslight Art Colony in Marshall, Ill., and Bicentennial Art Center and Museum at Paris, Ill.
One of my photos was chosen for the 2013 TREES Inc. “Trees and the River” photo contest exhibit in the Vigo County Public Library and my photo on canvas, “Under His Wing,” received the Paris Bridge Club Choice Award at the Midwest Photography Contest at the Bicentennial Art Center.
I joined Arts Illiana in July 2013 . In November 2013 I became a Covered Bridge Art Association Associate Member. In January 2014 I became secretary for RCAA.
In February 2014, I displayed artwork in Halcyon Art Gallery’s invitational show, “Convergence: Two Groups, One Vision,” for members of RCAA and Wabash Valley Art Guild.
In March, I exhibited artwork inspired by “The Magnificent Ambersons,” by Booth Tarkington, the Vigo County Public Library’s book selection for the 2014 Wabash Valley Big Read.
Also in March, my artwork was juried into the Halcyon Days 2014 art show in Halcyon Contemporary Art Gallery at The Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute.
On March 27, my color print, “Rose,” was chosen Overall Winner in the Aging in the Wabash Valley photo competition at Indiana State University. The local contest and exhibit was in conjunction with a guest appearance and photography exhibit, “Aging Across America,” by Dr. Jeffrey M. Levine. “Rose” is now part of a permanent exhibit in the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services (the Arena) at ISU. “Rose” also is featured in the April-June Issue 27 of Arts Illiana’s Spectrum magazine, as well as STATE, ISU’s online magazine.
In May, “Peach Bandits” in a lustre 12×12 presentation went on display through Aug. 7 in The Nature Conservancy of Indiana’s “Indiana, Naturally” exhibit at the Indianapolis International Airport. The color image of raccoons in a dwarf peach tree in my front yard also is featured in a wildlife slideshow on the Conservancy’s website.
My first photo-based 3-dimentional piece, “Pareidolia: Breaking the Surface,” made its debut this year in Halcyon Contemporary Art Gallery in Terre Haute. This piece, subtitled “Dog Paddling Past Mansfield,” took first place in 3D and Best of Show in the July 2014 Covered Bridge Art Association’s Associate Member Show in The Gallery at Rockville. Also, an 8×10 color image of “Peach Bandits” on watercolor giclee paper took third place in photography.
Also in July I debuted two of my latest digitally manipulated creations, “Starshine” on metallic paper, and “Star Light, Star Bright,” on acrylic in a light box, in the Art Sanctuary in Martinsville, Indiana.
And most recent, on July 12, I received my fourth Champion and two Reserve Champion awards in my sixth consecutive year of competing at the Clay County 4-H Fair.
Earlier accomplishments include Champion Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2013 at the Clay County 4-H Fair.
In October 2011, I started illustrating my life story on a blog, Sheila T Illustrated, at sheilatphotography.wordpress.com. In 2012, my photo of a “weird” tree in Clay County was selected by the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry for its “Invasion of the Weird Trees” booklet and online gallery (updated every four years).
Also in 2012, my photographs of Berkeley Plantation, birthplace of President William Henry Harrison, were recorded in the Wabash Valley “Visions and Voices” digital memory project preserving the past for the future at Indiana State University. In 2013, I donated a copy of that photo essay to the Vigo County Historical Society.
My Photolosophy ©: Take Life to the Matte © Oct. 12, 2011