Friday, September 27, 2013

Featured Friday With Julia Hart from ALoryAndAnEaglet

 Julia was our very first theme challenge winner at Snap Maven.  That challenge was to create a self portrait that was non traditional. She did just that, and in such an amazingly beautiful way! With that she also becomes our first artist to be featured as well. 
1. Please tell us about yourself.   
When I was 9 and 10 I went to a quirky little school that was heavily focused on the arts and humanities.     Every other day we listened to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, sometimes stopping in the middle of math class for it while the school director whistled along like an opera singer.   The walls were covered with quotes from the old philosophers and copies of paintings by all the masters that we were required to know backwards and forwards..    We did Tai Chi for gym class.  That was after going to a Montessori school for 5 years so I  was considered a little weird when I transitioned into a regular public school and that didn't help with my shyness.     I was quite an introvert, and still am, but much less shy now that I'm in my 40's (I probably talk too much now!).    I have two kids, a 14 yr old daughter whom I love to photograph when she lets me, and an 11 yr old son who is also very photogenic but he's even more difficult to get to sit for me!!    We have 2 little dogs, 2 ferrets, 4 hens, and a parrot all currently living in Austin TX after moving from Houston about 6 years ago.   My small house is filled with odd things and art I collect.    My kids and their friends think it looks really cool during the day but super scary at night which they assure me is not an insult.   I hate to be the crazy lady with the scary house!    But apparently I am.   In a good way?

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?  
No, I can't!    I really struggle with this because I think I'm all over the map and it really depends on my mood.    Maybe "moody" should be one of  the words!    A lot of my work tends to be dark and I have had many people mention that to me but I definitely have a light side too.    I'm stumped on this one.    Truly.     Some days I think I know what my style is and the next it feels different.    It does all have a cohesiveness though.....  even though I feel like it's all over the place.

3. What sparked your passion for photography? 
I've always had an interest in art.   My mother used to take pictures as a hobby (she's an interior designer) and when I  was young I would pull out the slide projector in the early mornings before she was awake.    I was fascinated by her pictures....   there were hundreds of them.   To this day she claims she has no idea how to use a camera but she is very talented.    She was the true inspiration for my love of photography at a young age.

4. What's in your camera bag right now?  
I have a Canon 7D and usually my 50mm 1.4 is on it, a Canon 60mm 2.8 macro which is my second favorite,  also a Canon 28-135mm 3.5 (which I may trade in for another zoom - I've had it the longest), and on order a Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 that I'm dying to get.     It's not a vast assortment but it works for me.     I probably have lens envy more than camera envy.   

5. What is your dream shoot or project? 
Oh gosh,  that's a really good question.   I don't think I've ever thought in terms of a dream shoot since I don't usually shoot people, however, I would like to change that.   I'm really into surrealism so it would be fun to work with a professional model which I have never done before.    There would be costumes and set designing involved.    It would be great to have a large studio to put that together in.

6. What are some of the hurdles you have had to overcome this far in your photography journey?   
Well, money is one.   Photography isn't the cheapest thing to get involved in!    Probably my biggest hurdle is myself.    My own fears of criticism and judgement and failure.....  plus, I'm TERRIBLE at putting myself out there being somewhat of a hermit.   Just answering these simple questions made me anxious!!     It's silly but true.

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?  
My advice would be to not be afraid to ask questions, don't under value your skill (that is much much too common),  and don't be afraid to take bad pictures because you'll learn more from the bad pictures than the good ones.   And lastly, you don't always have to follow the rules.   Experiment!!    As for what advice I wish I had been given....   hmm....    I wish someone had told me not to wait so long.
 A Little Birdy was one of my first photo collages.    It's approximately 7 years old.    Self portrait.

Kitty playing piano is just a quirky little thing that i love.    It sits on a shelf above a real piano.

Strange Leaf is one of my favorite black and white macros.    I took it at the Austin Botanical gardens a couple of years ago.   I have no idea what it is.

The hand is from probably 8 years ago.    It's not photoshopped at all.   Almost straight off the camera other than color and contrast adjusted.

The double me is from 5 or so years ago but re-edited recently.

Red headed girl is my daughter looking very unlike her usual self so of course she HATES this photo but it's one of my favorites.   It's from last year.

Sunflower Corpse is from a few weeks ago in my backyard.

The last image is not photoshopped other than color and contrast.   It's recent.    It's a combination of tracing paper, tiny lights, wax, and a bit of cilantro from my garden.

To see more of Julia's amazing work please visit her at




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Non Traditional Self Portrait Top Ten September 24,2013

Without further ado, here are the winners of this week's non traditional self portrait challenge!
(In no particular order)

Christa Le Photography 

I chose this image because as a mom, so often I see my own portrait in the faces of my children more so than what I see in the mirror

 Tyler Davis

I love the clever and silly playfulness of this image. The tiny hands of the sculpture create a sense of "not quite right" that is intriguing and entertaining forcing you to keep looking at it.

 Kassie Jackson Photography

I love Kassie's courage in this image and the series it is from. It takes guts to go to the grocery store with no make up, let alone in front of the camera!

I love the centered composition of this image. Most of the time center composition is photo no-no, but the strength of shape in the shadow make this work! I am also a tad jealous of her balancing skills! I most likely would have fallen and broken my camera (and my arm)!

 Jessica Downey Photo
The color in this image draws me in, both bright and muted at the same time. Perfect styling and coordination of color, shape, and texture


Flotsam of the Mind
This is a powerful image. Raw and striking, it challenges the viewer to keep looking, but makes them somewhat uncomfortable in doing so. A perfect juxtaposition of intriguing elements.


 Jill Serrano Photography
I love the depth of field in this image. That great sharp subject bleeding out to a frame of bokeh





 Jeanna Ludwig Photography

Great leading lines, muted colors, and great composition draw the eye to exactly where the artist wants it. There is a story here waiting to begin, and the viewer is invited to come along.

 Robin Chavez Photography

I love the dynamic elements of this image. The limited color palette creates a tension that forces the viewer to engage the image and the little details keep adding visual toys to play with.

DJ Culver

If it were mine to title, I would have called this "Head in the Clouds". Artists spend a lot of time with their head in the clouds. There's some really gorgeous post production going on in this image!


Now, let's meet the winner of this week's challenge will be featured both on the Snap Maven Facebook Timeline Cover and as our first featured artist here at the Snap Maven Blog.


I really think this image best illustrated our theme this week as a non-traditional self portrait. It is both wonderfully unique and well executed. Congratulations Julia!

 Julia, if you could answer these seven questions, and send 5-10 of your best images (by Thursday 9/26)  to, we'd love to have you as our first featured artist here at Snap Maven!

 1. Please tell us about yourself.

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

3. What sparked your passion for photography?

4. What's in your camera bag right now?

5. What is your dream shoot or project?

6. What are some of the hurdles you have had to overcome this far in your photography journey?

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

Congratulations to all our winners! You have created amazing images!

If you were not featured this week, please KEEP SUBMITTING!

Our new theme this week is


and will be judged by our very own

Alethia Rains 
of Alethia Rains Photography.

You may submit up to 2 images on our Facebook Wall at

Snap Maven

Mave's Fave will be shared  on the Facebook page

throughout the week.

Final submissions must be made by 10pm EST Sunday, September 29th, 2013. 
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, October 1st.

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