Shy Photog. Her shooting stance influenced the origin of her shop name: “I take photos where there are not a lot of people.”
She started her shop a little over a year ago, in October of 2010. “I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone – way out of my comfort zone," she recalls. “My photography has always been a very private thing for me. A lot of my friends and family were not even aware I was taking pictures. It was something that I did for my own personal enjoyment.”
“I love taking photos of what I call “gritty” things. Rust or peeling paint always catches my eye. I like to take small details and turn them into something beautiful. One of my favorite pieces is a detail shot of an old drawbridge in Cambridge, MA. I love the 3-dimensionality of the piece:
I’m also in love with the color in this one, from a Day of the Dead exhibit at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology:
Heather received her first manual SLR (single lens reflex) camera as a high school graduation gift from her father - a Minolta x-570. “I took a couple of photography classes in college and really enjoyed them but never pursued it outside of documenting my life and vacations.” During those pre-digital years, she tells of how “film and developing started to add up for a poor, recent college graduate. My mom teasingly calls some of those early photos I took as my ‘artsy’ stuff. Now, I think every wall in her entire house is covered with my photographs. I joke that it’s like walking into my own personal gallery.”
While on a tour of London, Heather’s old Minolta SLR started to act up. “It began to let light in. It was about twelve years old. I never knew if my photos were going to come out or if there was going to be a light mark down the middle of them. It made it hard for me to want to take pictures, knowing that they might not come out. I had actually given up photography for several years.
“Then, a few years ago I was planning a trip to Italy, trying to figure how to get my camera fixed – a vacation without a camera is not a great vacation at all. By that time, places that would fix manual SLRs were few and far between and digital cameras were the norm. My boyfriend at the time realized how much my photography meant to me and did something completely unexpected - he sent me a DSLR camera in time for my trip. I fell in love all over again - with photography! Now if I go a week without taking a photo I feel like something is missing.”
My favorite picture from my travels in Italy:
The color of the water is amazing – the water of Venice is always this awesome color.
Heather grew up in a small town in northern Utah. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In 2001, she moved to Boston in part to pursue a masters in Arts Administration from Boston University, and in part to be near family. “Both my parents are originally from the Boston area and I still have family here, so I settled in the area. My grandparents recently moved back here after living in Utah for about 40 years.”
Even though she counts her main hobbies as photography and gardening, she admits that her “most recent hobby has become Etsy!” She laughs, "I never knew it was going to be as addictive as it has become when I first started. There are just so many cools things to look at on the site.”
She works at the New England Museum Association (NEMA) which provides professional development to people working within New England’s regional museums. “I was able to combine my love of museums into my day job,” she says. “My favorite type of museums are art museums but I love all museums in general. One of the perks of my job is being able to visit them for free.”
Heather is passionate about photography, museums, art and gardening, but above all she simply adores her four nieces. “I think one of my greatest talents is being able to listen to others and always being there for my friends and family,” she says. When it comes to doling out advice, she keeps it simple: “Do something that makes you happy.”
In addition to visiting Heather’s Etsy shop, Shy Photog, you can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shyphotog and follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/shyphotog
Interview and article by Linda Loca of Fire Grog Studio