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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beauty Surrounding Us!

Isn't it simply fascinating? We are completely surrounded by beauty and very few of us even notice!
I'm not just talking about an attractive man or woman, although they do tend to get noticed, I'm talking about nature... I'm talking about wildlife... I'm even talking about architecture!
I admit, I am one of those people that see very little around me, which is rather ironic, since I'm a photographer! You would imagine that photographers notice everything, but we're just like anyone else. We get so accustomed to our surroundings that unless we're specifically out to shoot something, we have tunnel vision!
While in Birmingham over the weekend I couldn't help but notice this beautiful church that stood just feet from where I was standing. The funny thing was, I had been in that very same spot hundreds of times, and never even noticed the church!
The stained glass was stunning, and the columns and carvings were spectacular! After taking several photo's of this beautiful structure I made myself a promise; one that I hopefully can keep! I promised myself that from now on I will pay more attention to the beauty that surrounds me on a daily basis!
Wouldn't it be great if we all did?

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's all in the details!

Graffiti... I find it extremely interesting! It's everywhere, and I do mean everywhere! If you open your eyes and take a good look around, I bet you'll find some! I have seen graffiti in major cities, and I've seen it while driving down country roads. I've seen in on interstates and even while sitting still waiting for a train to pass. Graffiti is everywhere!
But, this is what I find so interesting: A lot of people hate to see graffiti. They believe that graffiti artists should be prosecuted, and at the very least, be made to clean up their mess! I look at graffiti and I see amazing art! I imagine the time and effort that goes into a piece of this art! Think about it... a graffiti artist usually works at night, and he doesn't use a paint brush, he uses a spray can! In addition, he must be constantly looking over his shoulder to make sure that no one is coming! And, he must work quickly!
Now, having said that, I certainly wouldn't be a very happy camper if I woke up tomorrow morning to find that a graffiti artist had turned the outside of my house into a "piece of art", but there is no denying the fact that graffiti artists' are exceptionally talented!
Do you ever wonder why a graffiti artist chooses to leave his work behind, for all to admire, knowing he will get no credit for his work? This boggles my mind! I have spent a considerable amount of my time wondering why they don't get pieces of sheetrock or large canvas, and make some money off of their talent!
I like to think that the majority of graffiti artists' are very young and don't realize just how talented they are! The sad thing is, I would be willing to bet that most graffiti artists' live their entire lives without the support and encouragement one needs in order to become successful.
That's really sad. How many artists' do you think are out there that could possibly be the next Monet or Picasso, but don't have anyone in their corner telling them that they can?
If you never thought about this I would encourage you to take a good look at the photo I have posted today. Just look at the detail... it's simply amazing!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why kids are so photogenic!

Up at 5:30 am today! Now, why would anyone do this on a Sunday morning? Well, to meet the kids and grandkids for breakfast in Birmingham! Why else?
Aria and Trent left this afternoon with my son-in-laws parents for a week at the beach. Now there's two smart kids! They go to the beach and leave their mom and dad at home! I like that!
So we all met for breakfast and afterwards we took advantage of the beautiful morning with a photo shoot! I shot 85 frames and after viewing them on my computer screen I realized that kids never take bad photo's. I sat there for a few minutes, staring at my screen, in amazement. This has never occured to me before! Why are kids so photogenic? As I browsed through todays pics I realized that kids take great photo's because they're care free. They don't worry about how they look or what they're wearing. They're not concerned with whether or not the angle is going to make them look fat. They don't try to be something that they're not.
Kids take great photo's because the world hasn't had a chance to tell them that they're not good enough. Kids don't worry what other people will say when viewing their photo's. Kids have an innocence, that unfortunately, doesn't last very long. It's such a shame that society will eventually change them. It won't be much longer before they're dodging camera's and begin noticing flaws that no one else will notice.
We as a society put so much emphasis on beauty that we try to live up to an impossible standard. It's been said before, but bears repeating: Even the most beautiful models, actors and actresses don't look like themselves. It's a photographers job to make them look the way, we as a society, expect them to look! We airbrush them, we photoshop them, and voila... Perfection!
But kids... we don't have to do anything! They're perfect just the way they are!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How Hot Is It?

I'm sure most people have heard the expression "It's so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk." Well, I was rather bored at work this morning, so I thought I would put that expression to the test! The high today was 97 degrees and anywhere from 102 - 105 degrees with the heat index, so it seemed like a good idea!
I telephoned one of my employees and asked her to bring an egg with her to work, which she did, although I think she thought I had gone off the deep end! Shortly after she arrived with the egg I, along with two other employees, stepped outside, cracked the egg, and waited!
It didn't take but a few seconds for the egg to start to bubble, but then the egg cooking experiment started to slow down. We left the egg on the pavement and went back inside to actually try and get some work done!
The next time we went outside we discovered that our egg had indeed cooked! It's not very pretty, and I doubt anyone would think of it as appetizing, unless of course they like crispy, dried up egg! But, as you can see, it is possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk!
Who knew???

Friday, June 26, 2009

Like a Moth to a Flame

Have you ever wondered what it is about a flame that we're so attracted to? How does a flickering candle "set the mood"? Is there something that happens internally, psychologically, when we see fire? And, when did candles become synonomous with romance?
They say women fall in love with their hearts and men fall in love with their eyes. If this is true, then doesn't it seem that it would be men spending millions of dollars on candles every year?
It's a known fact that men are "visual" characters; this is not to say that women can't be "visual", but the majority tend not to be. Take lovemaking for instance... Men don't worry about the lighting. They don't worry about the place. And, they certainly don't worry if any given position is going to make their butt look fat! Yet, remember... men are visual! On the other hand, the majority of women don't want to have sex with the lights on. Women will actually spend time, during the act of lovemaking, wondering how they look in any given position. Women, believe it or not, will even refuse to participate in certain sexual activities for fear of what their partner may or may not see! And, lets not forget, it's women that spend millions of dollars every year on candles, make up, clothing, and yes... even plastic surgery!
So, the question becomes, are women actually more visual then men? Is it possible that since the beginning of time men have just had it all wrong? What if women really are visual beings? What if we notice everything too? Just what if...and I'm just throwing this out there... what if we're not just being vain? What if we're really just being polite? What IF women are trying to please their partner by looking their absolute best? What IF women consider the lighting because it's only natural that we would want our partners to see us in the best light possible? And, what would happen IF men became as polite and considerate as women? Perhaps then women wouldn't be so hard on themselves and men just might find themselves getting more of what they want! Like a moth to a flame, with a bit more consideration, women will recognize a mans efforts, and he will be greatly rewarded!
And to think... this all happened because of the flame from a candle!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The photograph that I'm posting today was shot in California, in 1965. I found this photo while browsing through some pictures that belong to a very special gentleman. When I discovered this photo I had no idea that it had been taken back in 1965 ~ the year I was born. I saw this photo and was instantly transported to a different time; a different place.
In my minds eye I can imagine what life was like during that period of time. Nineteen years old, living in California; footloose and fancy free!
If you've ever wondered what makes a photograph "timeless", this is it! 44 years have passed since that nineteen year old young man came walking back from the beach and it could have been shot yesterday!
A good photograph is one that evokes emotion. For me, I see this and I'm reminded of "Old Hollywood." The dark sunglasses, the carefree body language, the incredible physique. I look at this photograph and I see a young man with his entire life ahead of him. What does his future look like? and could he have ever imagined, at the moment that this photo was taken, that 44 years later he would be telling the story to someone that hadn't even been born yet!
If I were to give this photo a title it would be "Timeless". A lot of things have changed in 44 years; our country, our world, our society. This photo captured a place, a time, a feeling... and for the young man in that photo, it captured a moment of his life.
This photograph was graciously given to me by Jay Stafford; Jay is that young man. The photographer that captured that moment in time is Jay's lifelong friend, Tony Ardolino. Thank you so much for sharing this momento with me! This may be my all time favorite photo!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Aria and Trent

I thought I would share a glimpse of my personal life today. These are my grandchildren; Aria and Trent. It's simply astonishing how quickly they grow!
I had always heard that being a grandparent is completely different than being a parent, and the love that you have for your grandchildren just doesn't compare to the love you have for your own children. In my mind I thought "Uh huh... blah, blah, blah..." But, since becoming a "Grammy", I completely understand that!
I was in the delivery room with my daughter and her husband when Trent was born, and I instantly fell in love with that little guy! There's just something that happens when your "baby" has a baby! That was the first time in my life I cried tears of pure joy!
I absolutely love my grandchildren with every fiber of my being. There is nothing that I wouldn't do for them. I find myself worrying about them in a way that I never worried about my own daughter; it's impossible to explain.
I am so proud of the parents that my daughter and son-in-law are! Their world revolves around their children and I have no doubt that Aria and Trent feel how very much they are loved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"LIFE" was the fourth photography book that I had published. "LIFE" is an Editorial Photography Book and is currently in a photography book contest.
The prison photo's were all shot at Alcatraz, and the book is filled with quotes from some of the worlds most infamous criminals.
This project began with one question: "What is the most important life lesson that you have learned?" However, the project quickly took on a life of it's own, and I just went along for the ride.
The most frequent comment that I hear from people that have purchased LIFE is this: "The book really made me think!" To know that perhaps I played a small part in opening a few eyes regarding the importance of teaching the next generation life's most important lessons is more rewarding than I ever imagined!
I will leave you with one quote from the book that still sends shivers down my spine:
"We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow."
~ Ted Bundy

Monday, June 22, 2009

She's A Lady ~ Janet

Continuing from yesterdays post:
Janet is the other model that appears in "She's A Lady". Janet, believe it or not, will turn 65 in just a few months; making her 64 at the time of the shoot.
Janet is perhaps one of the happiest people I have ever met, and that happiness is apparent in her photographs. She absolutely radiates pure joy.
From the moment Janet and I began discussing her shoot she knew she wanted to be photographed outside; even the shower photo's were shot outside.
If Janet and I can convince her husband to participate in the program, I plan on shooting the two of them together at some point in time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

She's A Lady

"She's A Lady" was the third book I had published. The book is over 100 pages and filled with images of two of the most beautiful women I have ever met or have ever worked with.
With this project I wanted to prove, mostly to women, that you don't need to be in your 20's, 30's or even 40's to be considered beautiful, sexy and confident!
Today I am posting photo's of Terri. At the time of this shoot Terri was 50 years old.
I am often asked what goes through my mind while shooting nudes. It's very difficult to answer that question. There are so many thoughts that a photographer has during any shoot, but when working with models your mind races the entire time.
For me, in order to capture the models personality, I need her to talk to me constantly. I have to understand what's going on in her (or his) head. Anyone can grab a camera and take a picture of an individual with no clothes on, but to turn a nude into a piece of art their personality has to come through. I want the viewer to look at the model, and feel as if they are looking into her soul. Through the lens of a camera I strive to capture a models vulnerabilities, confidence, and attitude towards life.

She's A Lady

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fathers Day Weekend!

Fathers Day Weekend!

Happy Fathers Day!
The photo's that I am posting today were shot on November 28th, 1997. This was my nephews first fishing trip and would be my Fathers last. Dad would pass away exactly 2 months later. Dad is wearing the blue tee-shirt and my uncle is wearing the flannel jacket. Ted is the little guy!
As I look at these photo's I'm reminded of what's really important in life. It's the moments that we spend with our loved one's that really matter at the end of the day. Life is so very short; we need to make the most of every day that we're given!
I wish my dad were still here so I could give him a big hug and kiss tomorrow, but I have memories that will last a lifetime!
So, to all the dads out there, you may not know it now, but the imprint you leave on your childrens lives will stay with them even after you leave this world!
To everyone else: Hug your dad today! If, like me, your dad isn't here anymore, then find someone elses dad and give them a hug!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Burning Daylight

Burning Daylight was the second photography book I had published. The book is filled with images from Aruba, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada.
The title, Burning Daylight, was chosen for two reasons: The first being that many people have a perception of photographers; that we "burn daylight", we waste the day away, we float around with no sense of time. In reality, photographers spend much of their time "chasing daylight". As photographers, we understand the importance of lighting and will wait hours if need be, to get the perfect shot. The second reason I chose this title was because the majority of the shots were taken while I was on vacation. I should have been "burning daylight", but to be quite honest, I choose vacation spots based on what I think I can capture with my camera!
All the images posted today were shot in Aruba.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update on Chi Chi

We got home from the vets about an hour ago, and unfortunately, we did not receive good news. Cheech has cancer and fluid is building up on his lungs, which is causing too much stress on his heart; resulting in his passing out. The doctor wasn't very optimistic; he's not sure Cheech will make it through the weekend. He gave him a shot and plenty of meds, to keep him comfortable, and told me to call him tomorrow. He scheduled Cheech another appointment for Monday; just in case.
I wanted to thank everyone for all the e-mails today! I promise I will respond just as soon as time allows!
This picture of Chi Chi was taken on Sunday, June 14, 2009.

My Baby ~

Hello Everyone ~
Chi Chi is my 15 year old Chihuahua, and he has been very ill the past few days. He can only walk a few steps before passing out. I'm worried that we're going to lose him. This afternoon we will be taking him back to the doctor. It's so sad... Cheech is more than a pet; he's a member of our family. If you have a furry family member give them a hug today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Images appear in "Southern Comfort"

I moved to Alabama at the age of 18, and although I had visited Alabama throughout my childhood, I discovered the beauty of the south. I found myself noticing things, that perhaps most people wouldn't give second thought to. I think that happens a lot! We become so accustomed to our surroundings that we fail to notice what's directly under our noses! As a photographer I find myself looking at everything and wondering how I would photograph it. I love the challenge of finding a subject and allowing people to see it in an entirely new way!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Post


Since this is my first post I thought it only appropriate to introduce myself!

My name is Tina Westbrook. I was born in Chicago Illinois, 1965 and moved to Alabama in 1983.

I am a photographer and have published four photography books.

After years of shooting weddings, I became burned out and turned my focus to landscapes. I still, on occasion, shoot people, but it's typically nudes. I thoroughly enjoy working with models that are open to new ideas. Photographing nudes is truly an art, and it is always my goal to visually portray each models personality. To simply photograph an individual nude results merely in a photograph of a nude individual. But, to capture a nudes personality and vulnerabilities is an extremely rewarding experience. Not only for the photographer, but more importantly for the model and the viewer.

The photo that I have posted today is the cover from my first photography book; Southern Comfort. Southern Comfort visually portrays the feeling of coming home. The book is filled with everyday images throughout the state of Alabama.

I would love to hear from anyone that shares a love of photography. Whether you are a professional or an Amateur does not matter. To be passionate about anything should be shared with others! Join this blog and share your thoughts and ideas!