Another year has come to an end and yet again it’s been one heavily impacted by the pandemic. Travel restrictions and other regulations have still limited our options as landscape photographers, something that’s been frustrating and challenging for many.
Luckily, creativity never dies. Artists push through these boundaries and keep finding ways to create. That’s where this year’s featured photographer comes into the picture: Tara Workman.
She’s been pushing her creativity and despite the challenges we’re facing, she’s kept producing an incredible body of work.
Tara is a landscape photographer originally from Barbados, now residing in the US. Her work is recognizable, well-composed, and, for lack of a better word, relaxing to look at.
I hope that you enjoy this interview and the accompanying images as much as I do. If so, make sure to give Tara the love she deserves by visiting her website or giving a follow on her social channels.
Start by telling us a little about who you are and how you got started with landscape photography.
I was born and raised in Barbados and currently live in the Portland, Oregon area. I picked up photography about 5 years ago and after learning the basics and experimenting with most genres, I gradually gravitated to more and more landscape photography.
This was an easy transition living in the Pacific North West, which is one of the most visited locations by landscape photographers.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I’ve always had difficulty answering this but I can definitely say I aspire to make work that is simplistic yet impactful.
Has this style and vision changed over the years?
In the past 2 years, I’ve moved away from the more well-known grand scenes to smaller intimate scenes that grab my attention in popular as well as less popular locations. I tend to plan a lot less and wander a lot more.
I’ve also been enjoying making more abstract images and this has unlocked a new creative drive for me.
Is there a message you want to convey through your art?
No particular message honestly.
I think for me since photography is my happy place, I simply want people to enjoy the images and find joy in them, the way I enjoyed the process of making them.
We are currently living in tough, strange times, and if I can provide a positive experience through my images to even 1 person I’m pretty happy with that.
Abstract scenes are a big part of your portfolio. What is it about these that inspires you?
I think of abstracts as an escape from reality.
They allow me, and hopefully the viewer, to use the imagination and let the image tell its story. Without the context of scale, location, time, and sometimes even subject, anything is possible.
I also really enjoy hearing what others see in the images. I’m often surprised and see the images in a whole new light.
What are some of the main challenges photographing abstract landscapes?
The biggest challenge is that I generally don’t always know what I want or what I’m looking for in a scene. I also don’t always know what will work until I try it.
I’ve made so many terrible abstract images but I also don’t want to photograph the same things over and over simply because it comes easy for me.
How important is post-processing for your photography?
It’s pretty important in that I think it allows me to put my personal touch on an image. With that said, I don’t enjoy spending hours on an image and so I have about 3-6 of the same techniques that I use on each image. And I rarely spend more than 45-60 mins on each image.
What inspires you to keep creating?
A few things. Mainly that photography and nature simply make me happy and as long as that is the case, I want to keep creating.
Also, seeing other photographers continue to push the limits with the creativity of their work keeps me motivated to keep evolving and pushing the limits of my own comfort zone.
Besides the camera and lenses, is there something you always have in your camera bag?
Werther’s hard candy. I have a terrible sweet tooth and that’s my travel snack.
What advice would you give someone who’s just getting started with landscape photography?
Learn the craft but remember to enjoy the craft.
Don’t take it too seriously but still take pride in your work. Follow your curiosity instead of the crowd. Make bad images until they become better images and eventually they’ll become strong images.
And last but not least – There will always be another photographic opportunity as long as you keep going out. Mistakes or missed opportunities will not be the last and I can almost guarantee there’s an amazing photograph in your future that you’ll get right.
Previous Photographer of the Year Photographers
Don’t forget to check out the previews Photographer of the Year interviews and learn more about these talented photographers: