May 9, 2011

Interview: Deb Taylor

The first time I looked through Deb Taylor's photography, what came across so vividly was her intense and passionate joie de vivre.  She is a kind soul, open to hearing you spill your heart out while offering you her wings to rest inside.  She is an artist who tells stories, not only her own, but of women who are stepping into new and courageous paths.  It doesn't hurt that she's a feisty blonde, cowboy boot wearing, Texan. 

Welcome Artist and Photographer, Deb Taylor:

1.  Can you remember when photography began to play a more important role in your creative life? Could you describe that time for me, specifically when you realized that taking photos was no longer just a hobby, but something you felt a deeper passion for?

"Yes. Oh yes. I played a part in the stage performance “Vagina Monologues” and during the week of production I facilitated a workshop making personal art journals. A young woman approached me to photograph her vagina.
Yes, I said that. Yes, I did that.
She had been molested all her life by a family member. Participating in this workshop and performance was part of her healing process. This photo was her brave gesture of empowerment and documentation to reclaim her body as beautiful, unashamed and rebirth. I watched her transform from nervous nail biting to “relaxed, I am safe now.”

"It was then I realized my camera was only a tool to facilitate something much more powerful than a photograph. Since then I have photographed three different charity fundraising calendars in the spirit of “Calendar Girls” for Breast Cancer and the local Animal Shelter. And yes, once again I watched the shy woman arrive with turtle neck and long sleeves, yet by the end of the photo session she was dancing half naked, reclaiming her Divine Feminine Spirited Body!! One breast, no breasts, scars, curves, folds and wrinkles." 

click to read --> HELL YES!!

2.  You are an artist who plays with many different mediums.  Does your photography cross paths and layer into your other artistic creations?

"Yes! The first time I transferred one of my photos onto a piece of muslin was like MAGIC!  That began my creation of Fabric Books and Journals. I embellish the fabric pages with embroidery, beads, bits and baubles. I also sell Art Photos mounted on 5x7 notecards, which feature my own mixed media artwork pieces. Another  favorite gift I make for people is when I visit their home, take photos without them knowing, then one day they find a box of notecards in their mailbox with glimpses and features of their home or garden! It is quite flattering to see your own home and all it’s treasures, gatherings and comforts featured and captured through the lens of a camera."

3.  I've so admired your photo processing.  Could you share with me what software you use and how you go about deciding what works, what doesn't, and how you know when your piece is done?

"I originally used Photoshop Elements, but have recently been introduced to Picnik so I broke up with PS and am now having a marvelous affair with Picnik. It is user friendly and offers some really cool actions. I don’t edit very much, as I prefer my shots to be as natural as possible, although sometimes I deepen with exposure and lighting levels. I really love color, and rich tones, so I rarely do the soft, pastel dreamy stuff, even as much as I love looking at it, whenever I photograph a pink rose near a teacup, I want to make it bold, rich and pop like a bad ass triple espresso!"

4. You are a natural in front of the lens.  I love your self portraits, they are so full of life and relay your fun personality.  Do you feel as though you're documenting your journey through self portraiture?  Also, do you plan dates for your self portraits or is it more of an impromptu experience? 

"Most of my favorite selfies are random, spur of the moments. Like I will be driving past a rusty crusty old barn where the light is so inviting. I throw on the brakes, look both ways, hop the fence, jump around and get a quick shot! This expresses my impulsive wild abandon-free-spirited joy how I try to live each day to the complete fullest. The recent workshop “You Are Your Own Muse” offered prompts, so I had something to think about and plan my shoots, so yes, I went on walk-abouts with intention… just me, my camera, tripod and remote. I am not shy, so sometimes folks were nearby wondering why I was leaping and twirling on a concrete wall or standing barefoot in a field with a suitcase in hand! I am telling a story with my photos. My story. My visual diary with a photo that makes me smile when I look back at it, remembering every detail of that day…the smell of the Earth, the sand between my toes, the warmth of sun on my face. Maybe even my mood whether good or bad, I am transcended back in time when I look at that photo and it always comforts me."

5.  Imagine in your mind's eye the most beautiful picture you haven't yet taken.  What does it look like?

"My son holding his first born child. Nuff said."

6.Would you share any names or links to photographers you admire or to some of your favorite photos?  What about courses you've taken or books you've read that have helped improve your skills?

"Misty Mawn was the first blog I ever followed, long before I really even knew what a blog was. Her photos stirred something in me. Her paintings and writings are honest and raw. I like that when I visit a blog. I want to feel “present” with the artist as if I am sitting in their kitchen sipping and chatting." 

"Recently I experienced my first and only online workshop hosted by Vivienne McMaster ~ You Are Your Own Muse. The self portraiture challenge was nothing new to me, yet I learned so much about how important it is to really go out on a limb, capture vulnerable moments and share yourself physically with others via photographs of mundane, random moments.  Our community of women who have gathered to support and share a common interest as photographers has blossomed in to so much more than photography. We have developed real life friendships that are continuing to grow." 

~Deb, I am so happy our paths have crossed.  My world is a happier place with you in it.

Bio:  Deb Taylor lives in Carmine, Texas, is the owner and host of Heritage Haus Bed & Breakfast and The Happy Belly, an Airstream commercial kitchen. She demonstrates her passion for healthy eating by teaching cooking classes and entertaining friends with her delicious “Food Love.”
Her and life partner, Matt Hager are both artists who are doing what they love, and love what they are doing. ~Peace, love, health & happiness~

Daily Blog:    What's Deb Doing?   Photography   Flickr


thea said...

Wonderful interview. I love the idea of the notecards! Lovely photography and woman:)

Anonymous said...

I loved Deb's photos in the You Are Your Own Muse workshop! Thanks for letting us peek a little more into her world!

And thanks Bella for starting this site!

Meri said...

She's one of my favorite peeps in the whole wide world --- and is a joy to have as a roommate for trips.

beth said...

xoxo.....she's a rock star that deb....and to have met her in real life was a dream come true for me.

robin. said...

deb is a beautiful spirit...LOVE HER. great interview!!!

mandy l. smith said...

Yay! Deb, you are a true inspiration! Lovely interview. :)

Anonymous said...

You rocked it Deb! Great interview by a great woman. ~Gwen~

Anonymous said... are such a treasure! wonderful interview

Anonymous said...

Ahhh. Deb, your love for colors, nature, the natural, vulnerability, and openness and certainly your free and wild spirit is what I love in your pictures.
Thank you for sharing yourself and your gifts with the world.
love from Eva

juliana_baby said...

so inspiring!!!!

Lis said...

Loved this interview and finding a new source of inspiration. I loved Deb's thoughts on taking Selfies and was reminded why I enjoyed doing a 365 of self portraits: each day of that year is vivid in my memory because I took the time to celebrate it and me.

roxanne s. sukhan said...

Thanx for sharing such inspiration!

Karen D said...

I remember Deb from Viv's inner muse class, loved learning even more about her here.

patti said...

wonderful interview, bella. thank you. and thank you Deb. loved hearing your story. Your photos are so much more than images; they're magic.

Rosie Gan said...

Glad to meet you, Deb, and I think your photography is exceptional. I'd love to have that kind of passion you have for whatever you're doing, sigh...