Interview with photographer Tasha O'Neill - Cendrine Marrouat Photography

Tasha O'Neill was born and raised in Germany. Language studies took her to England, France and Italy. Then, she moved to the United States. She has lived in Princeton, New Jersey, since 1973.

Tasha is a former member of Gallery 14 in Hopewell, a co-op for fine art photographers. She also co-founded and directed the Verde Art Gallery in Kingston, which closed due to damage caused by Hurricane Irene. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibits and publications.

Cendrine Marrouat: What inspired you to become a photographer? Any particular story?

Tasha O'Neill: I was widowed in 1992 and joined a walking group.

Five minutes from where I live, there is a towpath along a canal that goes for many miles. One day, in the coldest part of winter, for no reason at all, I took my little point-and-shoot camera with me. Overnight, frost flowers had formed on the water. I took two shots and after I got them back I decided that I had some talent. I took a correspondence course from the N.Y. Institute of Photography. And that started me on my path.

CM: What is your favorite subject to photograph?

TO: I love Nature in all its forms, but reflections I love the most. Looking into the water and seeing trees reflected or refracted captures my attention.

CM: What makes a good photo?

TO: Not having gone to art school, I find myself with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t feel qualified to answer this question. That being said, the image has to be well crafted, have intent, and reflect a mood.

CM: What is the photo you prefer in your portfolio? Why?

TO: I have many favorites but the image of fall leaves with birches reflected in a pond is one of them.

It got started by driving one morning past a Podunk Pond in western Massachusetts. I looked back longingly and my husband turned around.

I took several shots to not take too much time (this trip wasn’t about photography) and then was disappointed by the images when I reviewed them in my computer. I cropped, and then some more and so on, until I was finally satisfied showing the essence of fall in the shot.

CM: Any photographer you admire?

TO: I admire Brett Weston, son of Edward Weston, and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly. Both are masters of showing nature subjects in a new light.

CM: What piece of advice would you give photographers who are starting with online promotion?

TO: Putting up a website isn’t enough. It has to be constantly promoted. Facebook and Instagram are often seen more.

CM: Anything else you would like to share?

TO: I am so grateful that I have photography as my major interest. My vision is to capture beauty that others might have missed.

Recently, I have added technology to layer images and create new ones. It keeps my creativity alive.

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For more information on Tasha O'Neill, visit tashaphotography.com. He is also on Instagram.
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