Tracy Finn lives and works on Block Island, one of my favorite places on the planet. Through our connections there I've been able to watch Tracy's trajectory in the past year (via Facebook) from Snapshot Taker to Budding Photographer. More than just aesthetically pleasing, Tracy's work exudes both heart and soul. She's able to truly capture the essence of a subject, be it human, animal or landscape.
I asked Tracy if she minded me calling her a budding photographer and she replied, "I am totally a budding photographer. I love that description. I never plan on fully blooming either, I want to always be growing."
Tracy, how would you define creativity? I thought about this question for a long time, and I can honestly say I don't know. I think creativity is elusive.
How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started? I have been into photography for years, but just started taking it more seriously about a year ago.
Tell me about the technical end of things. What kind of camera, filters, etc. do you use? I shoot with a Canon, and I don't use any filters. I like the image to be as natural as it was in the moment it was shot, though I may enhance the colors slightly where I feel it's needed. I see so many people using straight up filters that are really intense, and I never want to go there.
You live and shoot on Block Island. Having lived there, I know how special a place it is. How much does that geography affect your work? I feel incredibly fortunate to live and shoot here. As you know, there is no light like island light. It changes from season to season, not for better or worse, just different. The landscape provides color, textures, and emotions that I feel work perfectly with my style of photography.
When do you feel most open to your creativity, at your creative peak? When I am in nature, hands down. The freedom the outdoors gives me to be completely aware of the flow between me and my subjects is hard to describe.
What is it about photography that draws you to it? Photography has always felt natural to me. Having my camera in my hands allows me to capture not just an image, but the emotion I felt the moment it was taken.
What sets an okay photo apart from an amazing photo, and can you identify it when you snap the pic or does that get revealed later when you're looking through the images? When I feel completely connected to my subject, I know it's "the shot." It all happens in that moment.
You recently had your first exhibition. What was that like for you? It was like taking off all of my clothes and standing in the middle of town to be judged! Haha. It ended up being amazing though.
Seeing people moved emotionally by my work made it all worth the anxiety. It was a huge growing experience for me as an artist.
Favorite artist? Diane Arbus is a big influence for me. She found beauty in what other people saw as flaws in her subjects. Diane once said "I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them."
Do you have any daily or weekly habits and practices? Starting my day watching the sunrise and ending it with the sunset is an important practice of mine. It makes me feel more grounded and connected to the day. Also, my yoga practice is an important influence on my work that has expanded my awareness, opened my heart, and taught me to stay committed to the present moment.
Any advice or tips on how to take a great photo? Try to see something below the surface of your subject. We are all connected to nature and each other in some way, and once you feel it, it will come through in your photo.
What's next on the agenda for you? I want to keep shooting and learning as much as I can. Having found something that allows me to express myself, I'd love to keep my career moving forward. This is just the beginning.
Tracy Finn lives on a small island off the Rhode Island coast. Living there allows her "an intimate connection that comes through in the immediacy of her work." Her photography can be found on her website as well as on Facebook.