I’ve not always had an interest in photography. I started as maybe many of my fellow millennial photographer peers began–with an unforgivably average digital camera, and the dream to share truly unique content on MySpace. Call me basic. That’s where it began.[/vc_column_text]
Originally, I hail from Florida. I was born in Miami to a Panamanian mother and African-American father. When I was still young, my family moved to North Florida, which if you’ve been there, you know is absolutely the deep south. Surrounded by live oaks, bonfires, sweet tea and “y’all”, I grew up more a southern girl than anything else.
My family is quite creative. We all played instruments and my parents were eager to encourage any artistic endeavor we had an interest for. Growing up I had in my mind to be everything from a writer, an actress, a pianist, a singer…you name it. To me, this was overwhelming. Why I couldn’t be like my fellow peers and simply desire the more traditional path of doctor/lawyer/fireman/nurse, was beyond me. I became a sponge for art, and though it definitely didn’t help me to whittle down my career choices, I liked finding new ways to express myself. These days, I am very comfortable with the idea of having more than one passion and creatively contributing what I can, wherever I can.
“These days, I am very comfortable with the idea of having more than one passion and creatively contributing what I can, wherever I can.”
I’ll admit to you, I hate reading instructions and I have little to no patience for classes. Instead, upon receiving my first camera, I went to town on the very long process of trial and error–tapping buttons and switching lenses without much idea of what I was doing. I still guess. I still have an incredible amount to learn. I still ask really really stupid questions. There are moments every now and then when I am embarrassed to not know a “101” level skill. There are even more moments when I catch myself in the bad habit of playing the comparison game. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to learn more and it certainly doesn’t stop me from loving the craft.
Though I can appreciate many forms of photography, there is something very near and dear to my heart about portraiture. I think this may extend from my overly extroverted personality. I adore people. I actually once took a Myers-Briggs test and was given the score of 99% extrovert (ENFJ, baby). This is a bit embarrassing, but I can’t deny it. Being around people, learning their stories, gaining a new
perspective–I think I might be addicted. This seeps into my art; it’s always people I seek to put on display. I have a deep belief that God created each and every one of us purposefully, intentionally, and beautifully. I love helping people to see that.
“I have a deep belief that God created each and every one of us purposefully, intentionally, and beautifully. I love helping people to see that.”
After spending four years working in the advertising scene in Boston, Massachusetts, I recently decided to switch things up and relocate to Madrid, Spain to teach English for a year. So far it’s been incredible, but the most rewarding (besides the daily siestas) has been getting the opportunity to create a photography community in the area. I named our group @reuneretratos, and designed it to bring photographers and models together for the sole purpose of making art. I can’t articulate just how grateful I am to meet and work with some talented people in the city who are just as passionate about this art form.
I’ve not always had an interest in photography. But now, I truly can’t imagine life without it. It’s given me the opportunity to create art and express my perspective in a new way. Contrast, tonal curves, saturation, highlights–all become tools in my arsenal to portray how it feels to experience this world. But even more invaluable is the new lens I’ve gained from constantly seeking beauty. Each and every glimpse around me becomes something to appreciate. It’s way too easy to take this life for granted. It takes no effort to lose focus. Photography has helped me to see what I used to pass by. Nowadays, going on a run in the park means endless moments of staring at the way the light hits the trees. Or how the dust picks up and settles back on the earth. I know I must look insane. I don’t care. It’s in the small moments, the details, the light in the cracks, the cascading shadows, the glow of evening, the calm of gray skies–there boasts the handiwork of an incomparable Artist. And I can’t believe I get to help capture it.
Connect with Raquel Ross Photography
All images by Raquel Ross Photography