Tasha is Australian born and bred, but currently based in Southern California. She started dabbling in analog photography in 2008.
She likes hot coffee, dogs, the ocean, lazy sunny days and the Forensic Files theme song.
What are the rules of your photographic work?
It sounds really clichéd, but I generally try to have fun while I work.
I’ve found that the looser you are, the more your subject relaxes, and then you get those genuine magic little moments. I really find joy in relating to other humans.
Photography is a lot of listening, observing and responding to what someone’s giving you – but it’s also sometimes working at getting your subject’s guard down. There’s a lot of trust involved. So I try and remember that as a general rule while I work.
Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?
I like to have a conceptual idea and I love making moodboards. Sometimes I really nerd put and make a playlist too.
Everyone has their own methods of productivity;
but I know if I personally don’t have a solid concept or vision in mind, or a definitive shot list, sometimes I get too excited and try to do everything at once and get a little lost.
That being said, I think it’s important to not hold on so much to needing to get things done and go with the flow of the moment too.
A healthy balance of organization and letting things shake out how they will.
Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.
Okay, so I’ve definitely had to work on setting professional boundaries and being okay with saying no to certain requests.
One example of a big lesson for me is a client who wanted a whole different look / style to what I normally shoot.
I like a challenge, so I accepted the job but also wasn’t feeling that spark of excitement, you know? But I told myself you can’t be entirely stoked on every project you do.
I tried to do my usual thing, and the negatives came back looking good. I edited them in the style that she wanted in the examples she’d sent prior.
She kept asking for the original scans so she could use the filter “to match her instagram grid”.
I was so over it by that point that I just sent them to her, instead of just saying no and staying solid in that regard.
Safe to say, the final result once she’d tinkered with them wasn’t something I was proud of for a bunch of reasons – but it definitely was a turning point.
It was a huge lesson in listening to my gut, and really being firm with boundaries!
I updated my contract with that stipulation that same night.
Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.
Sometimes men will try and chat up the models or me, and it can get uncomfortable – but I bartended for eight years so I’m comfortable asserting boundaries, especially while working.
Shooting in the water is tricky too – the ocean is a really volatile environment, full of factors that can all go wrong in an instant. Sometimes you’re freaked out that you’re going to get in someone’s way or that a fin is going to cop you over the head or you’ll get a little too close to a wild creature haha. But for the most part, I feel safe out there.
How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?
I love the female form. I love the ocean.
Both are entirely unique from moment to moment.
Everyone’s body is shaped differently, and moves differently, and I love being able to capture that rather than the narrow parameter of “perfection”nor just beauty – that we’ve all been conditioned to.
The ocean changes constantly, in the most minute ways, and I’m fascinated by it.
The textures and shapes, the way it moves – it’s endlessly challenging, and subsequently endlessly captivating.
I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.
I really don’t know if I have any “tricks”. My approach is always being open and learning new things. I think music that suits the vibe of the shoot sometimes helps keep things flowing though.
But also, trusting yourself is imperative!
There’s been shoots where I haven’t had faith in my knowledge and exposure balanced on one frame “to be safe” and when I’ve gotten the negatives back, been so frustrated that I wasted film on not trusting myself.
Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?
So, for land things I have my Canon F-1 or T90. I learned on an AE-1 and an A-1 and still have and use both.
I do have a Nikon FE I scored on the cheap on Etsy that I occasionally bring out though.
In the water, I have a Nikonos V – it’s a whole different beast.
I’ve only started shooting on it this year – and it’s a whole new set of challenges.
I love it. You have to guess where your subject is going to be for the zone focusing, and even when you’re looking through the viewfinder, that’s not the frame you’re getting. Plus, I’m shooting surfers, so it’s waiting for little moments and having to guess what they’re going to do or where they’re going to be.
I’m really enjoying the experience of learning new things on it though.
Are there any books you would recommend?
I really liked the Diane Arbus biography “Portrait of the Photographer” by Arthur Lubow. Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits is cool, too.
But Purienne is by far my favorite and any of his books are hard to get a hold of – so when you find one, grab it!
What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?
Anything! It really depends on the day. Sometimes it flows really well and something small like morning light moving on the wall, or someone’s facial expression will spark an idea. I used to go see live music at least three nights a week before the pandemic hit, and that always inspired me. People making shit and doing their thing inspires me.
Other days, you’re in your own head and I’ve found that being outside – whether it’s in the water or just going for a walk with a really good album on, helps.
Sometimes, just accepting that you’re not inspired right now is okay too.
Letting go of that frustration, ironically, helps ease the very thing that’s frustrating you.
Point Doom Photo