Lights, camera, action! Model turned self-taught fashion photographer Tasha Bleu is a “treu” visionary behind the lens. In the first half of this two part interview with the talented photographer and in honor of Black History Month, we learned about the four women who have inspired Tasha in her career. Now, we get to see inside the woman herself-the challenges she has faced, the people who have influenced her, her dreams, and a look at some of her dynamic images.
BM: Tasha, thank you for taking time out with Bronze Magazine today. I understand that you are a model turned self-taught fashion phootgrapher. Can you tell us about your decision to go from in front of the camera to behind the lens?
TB: NO problem, thank you for your time and interest. To make a long story short, modeling was not what I wanted to do and it showed in my photos. I wanted to do my portfolio in a certain way that would be very versatile and different from work I’ve researched in the RI/MA/CT area and then realized that I could not find a photographer to shoot how I would want the images to be shot …so I took matters into my own hands.
BM: Your photos are so bold and filled with color, who have been your main influences during your career?
TB: Thank you and definitely Nastassia Davis (http://nastassiadavis.com/) for being very daring and unique, Richard Warren (http://richardwarrenphotos.com/) for being amazing, Stella Simona (http://stellasimonaphotography.blogspot.com/) for being a model turned photographer as well and always being herself, and David LaChappelle of course!
BM: What challenges (if any) have you faced as an African American female photographer? What lesson(s) have you taken away from such a challenge(s)?
TB: Great question! I have faced many challenges in my first short but eventful year of being behind the lens and most of them involve my age and people underestimating my skills because I am under 25 and just stepping into the beauty and fashion industry. Most challenges I have faced dealing with my cultural background have been with international clients and industry professionals but I have learned to understand that things are different around the world and one MUST do their homework before approaching international clientele, there’s alot to understand.
BM: How much of Tasha the “woman” is respresented in your work?
TB: It depends on the shot. If I’m working with someone I LOVE working with, then 100%. Many of my shots that are closest to my heart have been drawn out by me, styled by me, hair and makeup done by me, and edited by me (as always) but many of my test shoots are low key (50% of me). This year, more of my work will be 100% of me…I haven’t shown the world how creative I can get just yet.
BM: If you had the oportunity to photograph something or someone that you haven’t already, what or would would it be and why?
TB: Liberia. Besides wanting to become a photographer to shoot things how I want them shot. “Treu Bleu” is the title of my brand because I was determined to get equipment into my hands to give back to the world and create work that could last forever, change lives and allow me to create opportunities to benefit my country. This year I will also be working more closely with FACE AFRICA Org (http://www.faceafrica.org/) and my dreams are becoming reality every step of the way.
BM: Can you provide a great tip or best practice for other female photographers such as yourself?
TB: UTILIZE FACEBOOK! When I first launched my business last year, I did it all through Facebook! I observed how other photographers operated by following them through Facebook, I built an international clientele based off of Facebook and attended many events in NY supporting other artists through Facebook. I found models to work with nationally through Facebook, EVERY fashion publication I read, I add EVERY name of each contributor on Facebook and I built an international supporter base on Facebook as well. Utilize the tools available before they aren’t, Facebook connects you to world so why not GUARANTEE the connection! and don’t forget to backup your contacts in a secure place before Facebook is no longer available…and of course always BE TREU to yourself and your work!
BM: Thank you again so much Tasha for your time and the conversation. It has been a “Treu” pleasure.
TB: No, thank YOU!