I first met Abby of Abigayle Tarsches Photography a little over a year ago at a little networking meeting. I knew from the moment she first introduced herself that Abby is more than a photographer. She’s an artist first, who uses photography as her medium. Abby has a flair in her being that shines through in her work. I don’t know, but it’s kind of like she’s making beautiful art out of who we are.
The Artist Inside
I sat down recently with Abby to talk more about her work and her art. From looking at her photographs, I knew Abby is very talented. However, I had no idea about the breadth of her art, or the reach of her work. It seems I accidentally stumbled upon an amazing artist who works magic behind the lens.
Abby says her work reflects how she sees things through her lens. It’s not just pointing and shooting, but selecting the right lens, framing the photo before taking the shot, and getting the lighting just right. All of these things work together to create the aesthetic she’s after.
The Art of Connection
Also, and perhaps even more critical, is how Abby relates to the people she photographs. She has a way of connecting with people that sets us at ease. But Abby relates to us in a personal way, finding common ground and interests to connect around. Magically, we begin to feel at ease with the camera there, and then Abby captures the moments and turns them into art.
Abby shares how she was scheduled for a shoot with a pretty big player in the tech world. Very quickly she connected and bonded with his child who was present. This connection set a tone for the entire shoot. Abby explains that she talks and jokes about random stuff. She gets our minds off the camera. I get the feeling she begins taking photos without us even noticing what she’s up to.
Because Abby photographs people and their pets, she understands we sometimes need a little coaching before our shoot. She’ll meet and connect with us ahead of time to help us with wardrobe, hair, and make-up. She stresses that she doesn’t tell us how to look or what to wear. Instead, Abby wants us to wear something that fits our style and what we are comfortable in. So, she’ll review our choices and provide feedback on how to make those choices work better.
For example, I might ask Abby to do a shoot of my family and our beloved dogs. Abby might ask me ahead of time what we plan to wear. Then, she’ll give a thumbs up or make some suggestions, so that our clothing doesn’t clash, look too drab, or simply sets the wrong tone.
The Sacred Space
Abby began as a fine art photographer, displaying her work at shows and art galleries. Abby, it seems, fell in love with the darkroom. Once there, her creativity roamed freely. For Abby, it was like a sacred space. She was alone in the dark with her creativity, and she was never quite sure how the photographs would come out.
Abby says she misses the darkroom. Yet, I think she brings the darkroom with her to digital photography. Abby used to play around with the developing process to create different effects in her work. Now, she uses lenses and filters to create different moods and effects. I wonder if somehow her days in the darkroom influenced how she shoots now.
From Action to Art
Next, Abby started shooting movie stills. She first had to explain to me what that was! Apparently, she was on set taking still photos of the action. Wow – I mean just wow! She climbed in small and onto odd spaces, took pictures from crazy angles and had to work quickly. Abby believes she learned a lot about lighting while working on a movie set.
After leaving Los Angeles, Abby settled in New York and then the Bay Area before moving to Portland. During this time, Abby turned to doing portrait work. Not only did she take family photos, but she also photographed musicians and actors. She also started shooting private events and weddings.
Abby says shooting a wedding is a lot like being on a movie set. She’s got one time to get it right, and there’s a lot of adrenaline involved. She’s taking photos in a church perhaps, outside, and at a reception locale, all with their own lighting and quirks. Plus, a wedding is a full of a lot of different people with different styles. She’s got to capture all of them individually, as well as capture the mood of the entire event.
Abby shares an experience about taking the photos for a band. She was warned ahead of time that she’d only get 15 minutes of their time – the group was known for not liking this kind of thing. Abby wasn’t aware at the time how famous the band was. She just showed up at the studio to do the shoot.
Somehow, her 15 minutes turned into 2 hours! Abby even got VIP passes to one of their concerts. I think I understand how she was able to connect with the band like that. Abby relates to us, her clients, like people – not as famous people or models or just another subject to shoot. We’re each individuals, with individual styles and interests. She is able to connect with who we are.
Abby says she sometimes feel like she’s got a super power when she’s behind the camera. I think Abby sees things in us we don’t see ourselves. She sees the beauty we forget is there. She captures the moments we don’t want to forget. She enters our lives and creates art from the moments she shares with us – art we’ll cherish the rest of our lives.
Connect with Abigayle Tarsches Photography
See more of Abby’s work over at the Media Gallery