A PORTRAIT OF TANYA WEEKES

I CONNECTED WITH BLOGGER, WEDDING AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER, TANYA WEEKES, ABOUT A MONTH AGO THROUGH INSTAGRAM. I LOVED HER PORTRAITS AND THE TRANQUILITY IN HER PHOTOS, THE SOFT TONES AND COLOURS THAT SHE CAPTURED SO EFFORTLESSLY. I WAS ALWAYS VERY INTRIGUED BY THE PHOTOS OF HERSELF, WHICH I LATER FOUND OUT TO BE VERY SKILLED SELF-PORTRAITS. AS A VIDEOGRAPHER, THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I CAN DEFINITELY APPRECIATE.

AFTER YEARS OF WANTING TO LIVE ABROAD, TANYA’S OPPORTUNITY FINALLY PRESENTED ITSELF TO HER LAST DECEMBER – AND SHE HAS BEEN BASED OUT OF TAIWAN EVER SINCE. FOR THIS WEEK’S WOMYN WEDNESDAY, WE TALK ABOUT HER RECENT MOVE TO TAIWAN, WHAT IT’S LIKE LIVING THERE AS A BLACK WOMAN, AND OF COURSE, PHOTOGRAPHY.

 

WHY DID YOU TAKE THE STEP IN MOVING TO TAIWAN? WHAT DREW YOU TO THAT PARTICULAR PLACE?

I AM FROM MANCHESTER, ENGLAND WHICH I LOVE BUT HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY LIVING SOMEWHERE ABROAD AND SO WHEN MY HUSBAND WAS OFFERED A TEACHING JOB IN TAIWAN WE DECIDED TO GO. IT WAS ALL QUITE SPONTANEOUS, WE WERE OPEN TO ANYWHERE, BUT TAIWAN HAPPENED TO BE THE FIRST PLACE THAT CAME UP, SO WE THOUGHT, WHY NOT!

 

MOVING TO TAIWAN HAS ALLOWED TANYA TO EXPLORE NEW PLACES. ONE OF THEM HAS BEEN THE PHILIPPINES, WHERE HUSBAND WILLIAM BROWN SHOT THIS PHOTO

 

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A COLOURED WOMAN LIVING IN TAIWAN/ASIA? ANY CHALLENGES, ANY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS?

LIVING IN TAIWAN IS A FUNNY THING, ESPECIALLY IN MY TOWN WHERE THERE ARE NO BLACK PEOPLE AND ENGLISH SPEAKING IS LIMITED. WE GET CONSTANT STARES (AND SMILES), PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE OUR PICTURE – SOMETIMES, THEY ASK, SOMETIMES THEY DON’T. THEY ARE FASCINATED WITH MY HAIR, AND MY HUSBAND’S BEARD, EVEN MORE SO SINCE YOU RARELY SEE TAIWANESE MEN WITH BEARDS. SO FAR, EVERYONE HAS BEEN VERY POLITE, FRIENDLY AND WELCOMING.

 

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS WITH NEW FACES 

 

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS. ONE TIME WE STOPPED TO TRY AND READ A SIGN WHICH WAS IN CHINESE. A WOMAN WAS RIDING PAST ON HER MOPED AND NOTICED, SO SHE MADE A U-TURN AND CAME OVER TO US, ASKING IF SHE COULD HELP.

ANOTHER TIME, I WAS WANDERING AROUND AN ART GALLERY AND ONE OF THE LADIES WORKING THERE CAME OVER TO SAY HELLO. HER ENGLISH WAS LIMITED. SHE LEFT ME TO LOOK AT THE ART, BUT A FEW MOMENTS LATER SHE WAS BACK AGAIN HOLDING A MOBILE PHONE, THRUSTING IT IN MY DIRECTION WITH A SMILE. I TOOK THE PHONE FROM HER AND SAID HELLO. IT WAS HER ENGLISH TEACHER, TELLING ME THAT IF I NEEDED HELP WITH ANYTHING I COULD CONTACT HER. I ASKED HER IF SHE KNEW ANYWHERE THAT HELD DANCE CLASSES OR DANCE NIGHTS (I AM A BIG KIZOMBA FAN). SHE TOLD ME THAT THE LADY WHO HAD APPROACHED ME, ACTUALLY ATTENDS A BELLY DANCING CLASS EVERY WEEK. BEFORE I KNEW IT, THE LADY HAD ARRANGED FOR ME TO BE TAKEN TO THE BELLY DANCING CLASS WHICH I HAVE BEEN GOING TO FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS NOW.

 

MAKING FRIENDS IN TAIWAN 

 

I’VE NOTICED THAT WOMEN ARE A BIG PART OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY. WHY IS THAT?

I LOVE BEING CREATIVE AND PHOTOGRAPHY IS A BIG PART OF THAT. IT HAS NOT BEEN A CONSCIOUS DECISION, BUT I DO TEND TO PHOTOGRAPH MORE WOMEN THAN MEN.  THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS IS THAT I AM APPROACHED BY MORE WOMEN THAN MEN FOR WEDDING AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY. BUT I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING WOMEN BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT OF VERSATILITY IN TERMS OF CLOTHING AND STYLING AND MORE OF A TRANSFORMATIONAL QUALITY COMPARED TO MEN, WHICH IS GREAT.

 

CAPTURING LOVE AND LIFE. PHOTO CREDITS TO SAFRANA MUSA

 

WHO TAKES YOUR PICTURES?

I TAKE A LOT OF THE PICTURES ON MY INSTAGRAM MYSELF USING THE SELF TIMER ON MY PHONE AS A CAMERA REMOTE ALONG WITH MY TRIPOD. THE REST, ESPECIALLY THOSE ON LOCATION ARE TAKEN BY WHOEVER I AM WITH AT THE TIME OR IF I’M BY MYSELF, I’LL ASK A STRANGER. IF I HAVEN’T TAKEN THE PICTURE, I WILL CREDIT MY PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE CAPTION.

 

DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE IS ANY POWER IN SELF-PORTRAITURE?

I THINK SELF-PORTRAITURE IS GREAT BUT HAND-HELD MOBILE PHONE SELFIES, NOT SO MUCH BECAUSE WE CAN GET USED TO SEEING OUR FACES AND BODIES FROM A VERY SPECIFIC ANGLE. THE DANGER OF THIS IS THAT WE GET SO USED TO THIS VERY SPECIFIC ANGLE THAT WHEN OUR PICTURES ARE TAKEN FROM ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT, WE INSTANTLY DISLIKE IT.

 

WHY DO YOU LIKE TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOURSELF?

I LIKE TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OF MYSELF FOR LOTS OF REASONS. I ENJOY BEING CREATIVE, SO WHETHER I HAVE A CLIENT OR MODEL OR NOT, I STILL WANT TO CREATE IMAGES WHICH MEANS TURNING THE LENS ON MYSELF. I ALSO, THINK AS A PHOTOGRAPHER IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING IN FRONT OF A LENS, HAVING YOUR PICTURE TAKEN, WHICH ALSO INCLUDES LETTING OTHER PEOPLE TAKE MY PICTURE. LASTLY, I THINK THAT PEOPLE CONNECT WITH PEOPLE, SO I WANT TO SHOW PEOPLE MY PERSONALITY AND WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND THE LENS NOT JUST MY WORK BECAUSE I THINK IN A WORLD WHERE WE SEE THOUSANDS OF BEAUTIFUL IMAGES, IF YOU’RE SELECTING A PHOTOGRAPHER TO WORK WITH, YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO WORK WITH SOMEONE WHO RESONATES WITH YOU, SO THE MORE I SHOW OF MY BEHIND-THE-SCENES AND MY MY ADVENTURES THE MORE LIKELY I WILL ATTRACT MY TRIBE, PEOPLE WHO GET ME AND MY IDEAL CLIENTS.

 

TANYA WEEKES – A SELF-PORTRAIT

 

WANT TO SEE MORE FROM TANYA? YOU CAN FOLLOW HER TRAVELS AND PHOTOGRAPHY ON INSTAGRAM HERE AND FACEBOOK HERE.

FOR HER PORTFOLIO AND FULL WEBSITE, YOU CAN CHECK OUT AND CONTACT HER THROUGH TANYAWEEKES.COM.

ALL PHOTOS CREDITED TO TANYA WEEKES UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED. PHOTOS CAN BE FOUND ON TANYAWEEKES.COM

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2 Comments on "A PORTRAIT OF TANYA WEEKES"

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Tanya Weekes
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Wow! Thanks for a lovely intro, that’s really beautiful. I’m always on to the next thing and barely stop to think about how others perceive my photography and life, so your words have really blown me away. Thank you so much! I look forward to following your blog and the reading the upcoming posts, you definitely have a way with words that makes your writing compelling to read. Also I love your, Let’s Talk Raw section.

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