Nerd of the Week

Meet Heather, a Photography Nerd

Interview by Terra Olsen

What are you nerdy for?

I am nerdy for documenting life – my favorite form would have to be photography. Visual stories are so effective in vividly bringing back memories, keeping loved ones with us, and also giving us the occasional surprise that can bring with it a lot of laughter.

How did you discover photography?

I purchased my first Kodak instamatic that used those old 126 film cartridges for 1$ at a garage sale when I was 9 or 10. {Picture attached, along with one of my comrades from the 70’s}. From then on, I was hooked, even though I was making some pretty terrible pictures at first.

What about photography sparked the nerd in you?

It was like giving a starving mouse the cheese finally — it was the perfect union! I could carry this little thing around and record whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and aside from the waiting part {for film development}, it was the beginning of a relationship that fulfilled my desire to both create and “record” {i.e. remember}.

How has photography impacted your life? How do you incorporate photography into your life?

The best part about photography (for me) is that it allows me to show and share with others the beauty that I see in life {including in them}. No two people create a photograph in quite the same way, and so although lots of people have cameras, I love photography as an absolutely individualized tool, like a paintbrush, and when you get that image that captures something or someone in just the right way, the historian in me says that there is nothing better!

Regarding how I incorporate photography into my life — it feels more like photography has always been with me, though at times more in interludes rather than as a constant companion. Sometimes it is knocking down my door and screaming for me to do something, and other times it sits quietly waiting. However, it’s always there for me when I need it again.

Where do you want to take photography in the future?

I want to focus my vision {although in several different directions}. One is create and therefore offer to my clients a very specific kind of fine art wall portrait that is not being created by any other photographers in my industry currently. More to come on that soon!! {For people who either follow my website/blog}. And yet another part of my vision, for my personal work and exploration, is to branch out in mixing photography with some additional creative “layering” if you will, involving either mixed media, or some more advanced techniques in the editing process than I am currently using. Either way, it will be a challenge and hopefully will be an exploration in color and dreaminess.

Any advice for others interested in exploring photography?

Yes!! Just get going! Get yourself a camera at any level {the tool really does not matter all that much} and push yourself to learn everything about how to use and create imagery with that specific tool. I call it a tool because I want to take the emphasis off of whatever camera is being used. People are generally too focused on the equipment rather than the creative process. I really feel that you learn more, push your limits and significantly improve your personal creativity if you do not jump to the next “tool” (or more expensive camera) until you are truly feeling constrained by the limits of your current tool.

Favorite moment/memory involving photography?

There are several that come to mind: once, when I was about 11 or 12 and reviewing the treasures {i.e. photographs} that I created following a visit to an old ranching property in Oregon where my dad had spent some time as a child, I discovered a most unusual image: it was taken of three of my siblings ahead of me on a path that lead up to some hillside caves, and who appeared, at the very moment that I activated my shutter, to independently all look as if they had just been released from an insane asylum. I laugh about it to this day because I never remember actually “seeing” them do their weirdness in person immediately prior to the photograph. But now it is permanently etched into my memory.

One more: I love any and every image of my mom and sister, who are no longer with us. Anything that brings them back and keeps them close is in my bucket of absolute favorites. The historian in me wants to hoard every picture ever taken of them and erect a big wall of images 30 feet high so that we, who love these beautiful souls, never forget. That same historian has immense sadness {and curiosity} when I visit antique shops and find stashes of these amazing old photographs documenting other people’s lives, and I think … these are someone’s FAMILY. How do we get these images into the hands of people who can honor them simply by remembering? I get so tempted to buy them all up and create some “project” to honor them, and then I remember that I have very limited closet space at home and way too many other projects already in line.

Heather Pearce is a mom, a dog-owner, and a lover of all things artistic. She is a collector of information, stories, books and memories, loves home renovation and remodeling projects, yard work, and optimistic people. Having studied law at the University of Washington, and photography for one semester while attending Utah State University (for a business degree), she now makes her livelihood doing both in Seattle, Washington. Please visit her site:

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