RealAudio: Bro's Moonlight Ride
A number of writers and philosophers, from Shakespeare to Joseph Campbell, have written about the importance of being true to yourself, doing what you really want to do. This was the goal I set for myself during college. At the time, however, I didnít know exactly what it was I wanted for myself, but I could see a path.
Photography is my life. It's where I create. The images I make of animals and the West are a reflection, an attempt to share with others the love and beauty I find.
When I watch people looking at my photographs of my dogs, Bro and Tracy, I see them smiling as if the images make them happy. Often people tell me they know that I must feel about my dogs the way they do about theirs. I love connecting with people, and knowing that we have the same feelings for animals.
Recently, I had the chance to share with Dirck Halstead some of things I love about the West. Dirck was interested in my story and decided to make a road trip with me and my dogs Bro and Pecos. We drove from Corrales, New Mexico to San Francisco, with a stop in Monument Valley.
I enjoyed seeing Dirck--who as a journalist has been everywhere, but never before to Monument Valley--respond to the magic of the place. It was wonderful watching him, as a photographer, use his skills to satisfy his creative spirit in this incredible place.
Dirck asked me what, for me, was so special about the Valley. I had to think for a moment to find the words. It is simply because in Monument Valley I am totally surrounded by beauty. It was seeing Monument Valley that turned my life around.
I didnít go West straight from college. The path led from college to Paris, where I lived several years on the Left Bank in the early '60s, making ends meet by modeling for advertising photography. Europe was wonderful--especially Paris. But, after three years I knew I had to move on.
I started my photographic career while I was working in television commercial production in Los Angeles, and then in New York. By 1971 I started calling myself a photographer and began knocking on doors looking for work. Not realizing how little I knew about photography--otherwise I probably wouldnít have had the nerve to do it. Fortunately, New York has a lot of doors to knock on. My lucky break came when I was hired by Steuben Glass. My photographic work for them led to similar jobs for other clients like New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
While living in the City I began riding horseback in Central Park. I was amazed and delighted that at age 39 I could revive my childhood love of horses and, at last, learn to ride. Realizing this dream led me to the next one--a road trip West. By the time I reached Monument Valley I knew this was the part of the world where I wanted to be.
After moving out here, I met my husband, Ed Camron, and together we decided to start our family of dogs and horses. Although I had always loved animals I knew very little about them. My education began.
Before there were animal "agility" classes available, we played games with whatever things we found in our travels around the countryside--a fence to jump, or a tree to climb. Photographing my animals became part of playing with them. Just a few snapshots at first--how I wish now I had hundreds of pictures of those adorable puppies! By the time they were 10-months-old I could tell they actually enjoyed being photographed.
When I first came to the Southwest, before meeting Ed and our animal family, I fell in love with the land and shot a lot of film. But I knew I was making a lifeless record. The pictures didnít show how I felt. When I started to travel with Bro and Tracy on my photo expeditions, I played with them in these places. Photographing them became my way of expressing my happiness at being there, my love of the place and of my companions.
My goals in life are to continue learning, to inspire others to know themselves and be true to who they are, and to find new ways to share my world photographically.
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