Cynthia Montes' story moved me deeply. Despite losing her father at an early age, she applied to Texas Christian University, an expensive private school in Fort Worth. She paid her way in part by working several jobs, including mowing lawns. Now she's a counselor to other students at TCU, and she continues to challenge herself with races such as the Cowtown half marathon, the Tough Mudder, and others. She is indeed, a powerful woman role model.
Sharon Herrera is another one of the women featured in the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission project, Mujeres Poderosas. A lesbian activist who founded and heads LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S, a Fort Worth organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youths, she knows the struggles of dealing with sexual orientation issues.
Some photos don't make the cut for a project, but I like them anyway. The first photo is a favorite outtake from the Mujeres Poderosas project that will be on exhibit at The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History beginning March 4. It runs through Women's History Month.
I had roughly six weeks to photograph mini-stories on twelve women, which occasionally stretched my creativity. Fortunately the subjects were all incredibly helpful. They allowed me the freedom to try different locations and poses for the portrait portion of the project, as well as the part that required me to simply be a fly on the wall of their lives for a little while. This isn't a perfect photo but I love the attitude Susie's smile radiates and the way the violin shape mimics her body. The second photo is of a cherished memento.
Last fall, the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission approached me about photographing a project that would be part of the city's broader program, Latino Americans, 500 Years of History. The Commission was among 203 grant recipients across the country selected to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to hold public programming about Latino history and culture.
Among the ideas the commissioners generated was to celebrate Latinas who'd helped shape Fort Worth with their work, vision, volunteerism, activism, and business acumen. Twelve women were selected and I set out to capture a mini photo story of each one. The photos will complement a bit of oral and written history about each woman in an exhibit March 4-31 at The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I'll be sharing some of these photos here leading up to the exhibit.
Throughout life's ups and downs, different things have saved me. Friends have saved me by supporting me. Reading has saved me by introducing me to other worlds and other lives. Writing has saved me by empowering me to speak. As a college student, photography saved me by giving me a career.
Since my mother died in the spring of 2014, I've been unable to write, able to read only certain kinds of books, and sometimes, unable to even speak about her death. But I find that in the wake of loss I am once more, being saved by photography. It has become my outlet again, allowing me to see moments of beauty from the beginning to the end of every day.
A year ago today the United States Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that prevented same-sex marriages from receiving federal benefits that were available to other couples. In light of this anniversary, I'd like to share a bit about how a recent project came about.
I straddle the photo/video line working with my husband on JMD Multimedia projects. We love our video clients and there’s no feeling like the pride in knowing we’ve surpassed their expectations. But once in a while, along comes a personal project that’s unique in scope and emotion. You know what we’re talking about: no money exchanges hands, but you spend hours and hours working on it because you want it to be perfect. Your sense of professionalism is unaffected by the fact that you’re creating a gift, a non-commercial personal-use-only product.
Such was the case with this wedding video we titled The Elopement. We’ve known Steve Oligmueller and Warren Nadeau for years and when they invited us to travel with them as witnesses to their nuptials, of course we said yes. For starters, they’re our friends, and they've supported us through good and difficult times. Furthermore, while weddings aren’t our specialty, storytelling is. And we were witnessing one couple’s very personal journey set against the broader backdrop of our country’s history. How could we resist the pull of such a story?
Could we have told it as well if we’d not been such close friends with Steve and Warren? That’s hard to say. Video projects like this one rely heavily on interviews, and we knew enough of their story to craft questions that would elicit the answers we needed. They were comfortable enough with us to answer honestly, and to be themselves in the process. Knowing them so well allowed us to anticipate moments and reactions. And they were sufficiently at ease that they didn't turn away during the moments someone else might have considered too sensitive for the camera.
Many factors play into a project’s success — storytelling skills, technical abilities, or for that matter, what you have for breakfast and whether or not you make that flight to Seattle. And, occasionally serendipity steps in to line them all up in just the right order. Whatever the case was here, we’re thrilled to have made this gift for our friends.
Día de los Muertos, typically celebrated Nov. 2, is an important holiday for Mexicans and other cultures around the world. It’s the day when the veil between the living and dead is said to be the thinnest and we can commune with those loved ones who’ve gone before us. Families create altars displaying photos of their deceased, and offering the dead their favorite food, drink and mementos.
Last weekend my husband and I spent Day of the Dead in the Terlingua Ghost Town. Every year, the residents of this West Texas outpost come together to create a large altar at the cemetery. They light candles on every grave then enjoy a meal and music around a large bonfire.
This is a video and a photograph we created of this magical evening under the stars.
©Beatriz Terrazas, all rights reserved
Spectacular catch! But did he bite off more than he can chew?
In another life, I must have been a herpetologist. I'm fascinated by lizards and snakes. Caught this Texas Spiny Lizard retiring for the evening on our patio furniture.
What would life be like as an only dog? More car rides? More snacks? This little dogs wonders. Another of the photos I made for Macarena Hernandez's graphic novel for kids.
When I was working full time as a photojournalist, many assignments were of the hurry-up-and-wait type. Political conventions, international dignitary visits, papal visits to other countries, even local civic meetings -- all required that photographers show up early enough to get a prime spot and then wait for something to happen that was worth photographing. Such events were opportunities to practice patience. These days my clients are corporations, non-profits and individuals whose needs are different from the kind of photography I did in the media. But I still find that patience helps me look past the obvious shots and change positions to better frame my subject, to wait a few seconds for a better moment to capture in the frame, or to move on to an alternate location for a different setting altogether. It also helps when I turn the camera on the wildlife in my back yard, as in the case of this anole. Anoles are plentiful in North Texas and a lot of fun to watch as they hunt for insects. This image was made one early evening in mid-March as I followed a pair of anoles eyeing each other and displaying dewlaps at one another on an iron planter. For a couple of other shots of them, check out my small things gallery.
Nearly every day one of my animal companions does something that has me reaching for my camera. In this case, my bearded dragon, Juliet, was falling asleep half-standing against the glass wall of her habitat. I moved her after she fell asleep. She would have been fine, but my neck was hurting just to see her head bent back like that.
One day last year I woke up and realized that despite photography being one of my revenue streams, I was falling out of the habit of seeing when I wasn't on the job. You know what I mean -- not just the scanning that we do with our eyes while we're on the road, or the way we glance at headlines on our electronic devices. I mean the kind of looking that results in noticing the way light plays off the tips of grass in a field, or how baby wolf spiders newly emerged from their sac climb on their mother's back. Or even the way a setting sun tints your partner's face gold. Sure, that's part of the job, and when you're on the job, you're aware of it. But what about when you have some free time, when you're hiking or taking your dog for a walk? How many of us really take the time then to see the things we might otherwise miss? So, I decided to make an effort to open my eyes even when I'm not working, especially to the small, natural treasures that surround us. This is one of the gems I spotted during a walk last fall at the Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve in Southlake, Texas.