A Photo Field Trip

One lesbian finds beauty in her own backyard.


Published:

Photo: Trish Tunney

Inspiration can be an elusive mistress and even talented photographers sometimes can’t make those sparks fly. Trish Tunney (trishtunney.blogspot.com) once roused herself from a creative slump by taking pictures of the same block every day for two weeks straight.

“It helped me to relax, stop judging and start playing again, to start seeing it as the joyful meditation I have done my whole life,” she says.
Tunney most often finds inspiration in new light hitting old things as she haunts the streets around her studio in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.

“I’m drawn to things from another time,” Tunney says. “I like to see things that have lasted. Most things that are old show the effects of time. It seems to me like they have stories to tell.”

Lately, she has been mixing it up by taking pictures through the viewfinders of old cameras from the ’40s and ’50s. The effects are ghostly and unnaturally aged. “It feels like looking through a time machine,” she says.

When Trish isn’t capturing San Francisco, she is taking pictures of chickens for her wife, the artist dk hass.

You don’t need an expensive camera or a degree in art to enjoy taking pictures,
just a desire to see your world with fresh eyes. Tunney offers the following advice:

Sign your own [creativity] permission slip: “I think we’re all creative, but some people have ideas that get in the way of thinking that they are.”

Be a goldfish: “Don’t think too much about what you’re seeing, just see it. Try to see it for the first time, even if it’s the thousandth time.”

Explore without judgment: “You’re going to make some lousy pictures before you get to the good ones.”

Find your thing: “For me, it’s really about shadows and patterns. For everyone it’s a different thing…you just [have to] go looking for your thing.”

Wait for it: “There are lots and lots of interesting things to photograph, but it’s not right until the light hits them in the right way.”

Think outside the box: “If you find something really interesting, try putting it anywhere but the center of the frame.”

Do it for yourself: “Some people are shy about getting into that place where they can recognize beauty while other people are watching.”

Rules can be fun: “I like having parameters. I will pick one lens and walk in one direction. That works for me, to push me into looking and seeing.”

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