Tammy Swarek of El Dorado will exhibit her work in the Lobby Gallery March 2-29. An artist reception is scheduled for Friday, March 3, 5-7pm.
Swarek is a contemporary portrait photographer specializing in images with fashion flair. She is probably best known, nationally and internationally, for her Shelter Pets Project. She came up with the idea of dressing up rescue dogs at UCAPS to bring attention to their stories and help find new owners, drawing inspiration from Facebook after spotting another portrait project for sheltered animals.
She says, “I fell in love with photography at an early age watching my father, who is a talented enthusiast. Seeing him check his white balance with a sheet of paper, waiting for that perfect shot and the excitement when the photos were developed all fascinated me.”
Then life happened. Marriage, kids, work, did not leave much time for hobbies. Although she never lost her passion for photography, it wasn’t until a very devastating time in her life that she picked it back up.
“In 2010, I had the perfect life,” she says. “I lived on the most beautiful ranch in Lexington, Mississippi, with my autistic son, Matthew. I loved every day of the 6 years I lived there. Cattle in the back, horses in the front, it was truly a dream. On April 24, 2010, an F4 tornado ripped through Yazoo City, Mississippi, and headed straight for my house, completely destroying it and everything we owned. The 30 days that followed the tornado were full of destruction, sadness, and petitioning for aid to my area. It was at that time that I started living life behind the lens. I think it was easier for me to see it that way.”
She spent the next two years learning digital photography, and Photoshop, amazed at what could be produced and how she could express myself through images. “It was a very overwhelming but healing process,” according to Swarek.
She added, “I think each photograph should tell a story. I plan my shots thoroughly knowing what I want the final image to ‘say’. Sometimes I spend months on them from planning to the final edit. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed creating them.”
Facebook – Tammy Swarek Photography