“The process of photographing is such a pleasure: my eyes are open. I am receptive, sensing, and at some point, connecting. It’s thrilling to be outside my mind with my eyes far ahead of my thoughts. No other facet of my life is like that. I’m attempting to create something I’d like to see.” Tabitha Soren
Tabitha Soren, born in San Antonio Texas (USA), currently living in Berkeley, CA. She studied at Stanford University and the California College of Arts, but learned most of what she knows through trial by fire. Tabitha Soren started out in journalism and television, but is now fully dedicating herself to photography. Her work has been shown throughout the US and is part of several public collections.
Artist statement: “The process of photographing is such a pleasure: my eyes are open. I am receptive, sensing, and at some point, connecting. It’s thrilling to be outside my mind with my eyes far ahead of my thoughts. No other facet of my life is like that. I’m attempting to create something I’d like to see.”
Tabitha Soren, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
I was born into an US military family, but grew up all over the world. Snapshots were one of the few ways I had to remember the details that made up my life in the last town or base – so I took them incessantly and spent many afternoons cataloguing them.
What does photography mean to you?
For me, photography is about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life. It’s a release of elation and pain. I see my pictures as metaphors for the difficult twists and turns of everyday living.
Your favorite photography quote?
“When a person looks at a photograph you’ve taken, they will always think of themselves, their own life experience. They will relate your photograph to their memories. That interplay is where a picture comes alive and grows into something. They function like invitations.” Jason Fulford
How would you describe your photographic style and creative process?
The process of photographing is such a pleasure: my eyes are open. I am receptive, sensing, and at some point, connecting. It’s thrilling to be outside my mind with my eyes far ahead of my thoughts. No other facet of my life is like that. I’m attempting to create something I’d like to see.
It varies from project to project, but this most recent project, “Running”, started when I decided to take a road trip with my daughter. I’ve now shot for the project all over the world. Most of my subjects were distant acquaintances or friends of friends. I usually scout the locations beforehand with Google Maps.
Most of the time, I am asking these generous folks to get up at dawn, or do 50 wind sprints through the Palm Springs desert. These shoots are not easy on them. I have had situations where I have four intense hours. We have this intimate experience then in most cases, I never see them again.
- Tabitha Soren “Running” – www.tabithasoren.com
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic language and how did you achieve it?
We all start out imitating our favorite photographers but eventually, you will need to be comfortable enough in your own skin and to know yourself well enough that your own point of view can come through in your work.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work and conceptually?
My work brings together cause and effect. I hope viewers wonder what happened to cause the picture and what will happen next.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Having something to say is crucial. A photograph is just another place to observe your interior life, so you better know what’s going on in there.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
For me, beauty is not something to condescend to. In my mind, a great photograph juxtaposes beauty and meaning.
- Tabitha Soren “Running” – www.tabithasoren.com
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
My work speaks to the twists of fate in life that can unhinge us. Whether it’s disquieting images of people mid-flight in my series Running or in Uprooted, the ruined scenes of post-Katrina New Orleans, I’m most interested in what human beings can survive – and what they can’t.
My “Running” series explores panic, mortality, resilience and the role of the accident in life. The photographs are as much about what is outside of the frame, as what is inside it. Also, when people are running their bodies contort and we get to glimpse emotions that are normally kept hidden.
Music often propels me through a new photo project. My favorite “Running” images visualize a rhythm that I hope the viewer can hear too.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
For many years I shot film with a Hasselblad, but last year I made the switch over to digital because the project I was working on needed a speedier camera. I now shoot with the 645 DF Phase camera and IQ80 digital back.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
Flak Photo by the wonderful Andy Adams.
What photography book would you recommend?
“Why People Photograph” by Robert Adams.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Take as many pictures as you can in the beginning and don’t show them to many people. It’s good to get all your bad pictures out of your system before anyone notices.
More information about contemporary photographer Tabitha Soren
Official homepage: www.tabithasoren.com