This week on the Community Series, I’m going to talk about a local photographer whom I feel has this incredible superpower of capturing “The Spark.” In other words, the essence of a person or the magic of a moment. In a single image, she manages to tell you a little bit about her subjects in a dramatic way.
I started following Tracy when I first began my photography journey two years ago. I absolutely had her in mind when I attempted to take grad photos of my daughter (you can read about that here: About Me) and when I acted as the second shooter for my cousin’s wedding shortly after that. Trust me, I discovered that she makes it look easier than it is! I have come to see that part of what makes her work so magical is who she is. She is kind and cares about her subjects. It shines in her images, it is present in her blog posts and her Instagram stories and comments.
I’m not going to lie, I had a hard time choosing only three images to look at because she just has so many amazing ones to choose from! So I am going to cover six but I will try to keep it brief! So let’s dig into what makes Tracy’s images so beautiful.
So what can Tracy teach me? I think a whole lot! While it may not be obvious at first, I think the biggest lesson is to take the time to get to know your subjects. She obviously spends time learning about who her subjects are and what they want to express. I haven’t been on her shoots but I would hazard a guess that what she does is collaborate. I think that is ultimately the magic behind the beauty. They create works of art together. As creators, it can be so easy to just let your ideas run the shoot, but I find the images are so much more when the subject takes part in the storytelling. So let’s dig into what makes her images beautiful.
When I first saw this image, I thought, “Wow, is that ever cool!” It turns out that this particular image was shot at a photography workshop in the States. This tells me that Tracy cares about continuously learning and growing so that she can offer the best services to her clients. Growth is so important! But what makes this image so fantastic? Motion. Epic and dramatic motion combined with incredible light and shadow. I love how the sidelights catch the edges of the dress and pull it out of the shadows. The scale of the dress in the small space of what I think is a parking garage gives the model a sense of grandness. Now, what grad doesn’t want epic shots like this?
This image speaks incredible volumes about her subject, a 2020 graduate. There is a kind of alchemy in this image that I love. Here is a girl who plays contact sports but still wants to feel like a goddess. And a goddess she is ruling over the football field. Tracy has managed to capture the spark, the essence of this young woman. A young woman who clearly knows her worth and is fearless in achieving her goals. The sunset, lights, and centre composition help to build the atmosphere and they drive your attention to the graduate. Such an epic image to take away from your final year.
First, this grad has excellent taste in cars! Ok, I’m done channelling my husband there. LOL. Second, I’ve been learning that automotive photography is tough! What with all the sleek lines and reflective surfaces? So, Tracy did an amazing job of showcasing both the grad and the car in this image. I’m loving that triangle shape formed by car, grad and lights. The nonchalant pose accentuates the triangle and also tells a story about a guy enjoying a quiet moment on his adventures.
Love is love. And the love between these two is absolutely clear and stunningly beautiful. Something about this image makes you feel like you are witnessing a private and tender moment between the brides. I love their soft smiles and the way their connection makes them almost appear as if they are melting into one. It’s so lovely. While more subtle and sweet, that connection provides the drama for this image.
If this image doesn’t make you want to call Tracy up and hire her to shoot the wedding you already had like many years ago. . . Umm. A girl can dream, right? Boy, do I love this one. And while the hay and the barn sure add to the story, it’s not what makes me love this one. It’s all the points of connection between the couple and again, the soft smiles. The happiness and the intimacy of the moment are absolutely the spark in this image. All the knotholes in the barn walls create a magical effect that is fun and I love the light and shadow here that set the couple centre stage.
Those lights are pretty dreamy! But I love how it seems as though the couple is enjoying a kiss during a private dance. Like, this image is straight out of a romance novel! Her dress is fluttering in the breeze and again there are all those points of connection. A bit of backlighting helps this couple pop off the background. Very beautifully done.
My biggest takeaway is that learning about my subjects is the best way to capture The Spark of who they are. Honestly, if I really think about it, who someone is, has influenced many of the choices I’ve made for my Tenebrism Tarot Project. I have only photographed 3 of the 22 cards thus far. After a few more I will blog about that, so stay tuned. In addition, I think location scouting and possibly set building (on my acreage) might be things I should do. Every location in these images was interesting. Finally, when shooting couples, I will ensure I think about those points of connection that are so important to telling the story of love.
Here are a couple of my images that I believe Tracy influenced.
I hope you enjoyed learning about a fellow Saskatchewanian (say that 10 times why don’t ya!), a photographer whom I deeply admire. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes her images so amazing. Have you worked with Tracy? Share some love in the comments!