{Featured Photographer} 20 Questions with The Barrowness

I first met photographer Tracey Barrow a few months ago at the Shutterrock promo shoot here in Brighton. I remember we were all standing on Brighton’s pebble beach, being photographed, when all of a sudden everyone started laughing out loud. I turned my head and there was “The Barrowness” laying on her back, with legs in the air! Everyone was cheering her on and I thought to myself: “Who is this lady and WHY haven’t I met her yet?“.

Later that day, I approached the approachable Tracey and asked about the “leg-isode”. She filled me in on her current photography project {365}, (a self portrait every single day of this year). Many of Tracey’s self portraits feature her legs. Hence the aforementioned friendly banter and giggles on the beach. After taking a look at her 365 picture album on Tracey’s Facebook page, it all made sense.

Tracey Barrow (also known as The Barrowness) is a petite lady with a tall personality. Without a doubt in my mind, she radiates enough energy to light up a small town and her positively infectious spirit makes everyone that meets her feel right at ease. I’m not sure where she gets it from, but I have a feeling it’s got something to do with scones…

Let’s find out more!

{20 Questions}

1. Tracey BarrowWho are you and where do you hail from?
I am a bit of a mixed bag in terms of where I hail from.  I always describe myself as a nomad!  I was originally born in Woolwich but being an army child we moved all over the place every two to three years!  I guess I am mostly settled here in Warwickshire but once you have that travel in you, you never know when it may strike again!

2. What makes your heart pump chocolate?
I love the phrasing of this question but for me it would have to pump either scones or shortbread!  The answer of course is photography.  From the moment I squeeze my thumb (I back focus so it’s the thumb – hehe!) on the focus button and then click the shot, to the moment I finish my editing I am in seventh heaven!

3. How or where did you learn about photography?
I actually taught myself how to use Photoshop before I had even purchased a camera!  After playing around on digital artworks I decided I would see if photography could be a hobby that I could get into.  So roughly 2 years ago I purchased a Canon 450D and then did a college night school course together with a few external private run courses and it spiraled from there really.  Totally hooked!

4. What is your biggest source of inspiration?
This is a really hard question for me and not one I find easy to answer!  I haven’t been into photography for a long time so I never really followed any particular artist or era.  I seek inspiration from objects and scenery.  I quite often find myself roaming the house looking for an object that catches my eye and then the idea pops into my head of what I want to try and do with it in terms of a photograph!  Lyrics and words are also another huge inspiration.   Strangely enough I am not a big one for looking at other’s work, I try to limit that to times when I am drying up on creativity.  For the most part I want my work and my style to be my own and not influenced too much by others.  That said though I absolutely adore and admire Tim Walker and would do anything to spend just 5 minutes roaming round the grey matter in his brain! 


5. What do you love about your pictures?
Well once I have finished criticizing what’s not quite perfect on them…I suppose I love that for the most part they make you stop and think or at least put a smile on your face.  Well I hope that they do. 

6. What makes them unique?
I hope it’s the variety and the subject matter.  I wouldn’t say I am your average photographer.  I don’t take a photography with the soul intent of making something pretty.  I have an idea or a concept and I set about creating that into a photograph.  Therefore a lot of my work is usually a composite of many different shots.  Of course I love to take simple portraits and macro flower shots, but I do this when I want to relax my overworked brain!

7. You’re a well known and much loved photographer in the photography community online and off. What is a great way for people who are introvert to break the ice and strike up a conversation with you?
Well I am a little embarrassed by the lovely question!  Gosh!  I am a very approachable person, I LOVE to talk!  I think I send that vibe out!  People talk to me in shop queues, in supermarkets, I even have people just start talking to me when I am a patient in hospital!  I must just have that ‘come talk to me’ look!  So I guess the answer is just talk to me!  I don’t bite!

8.What gets you out of bed in the morning?
An awful alarm on my phone that goes off at 05.15hrs!  But apart from that probably the need to talk!  My mouth will have been shut off for about 4-5 hours and it just can’t cope! Added to that, I just love life,  I have so many ideas and things that I want to do, I just need to get up and get on with them! 

9. Name one vice of yours?
Scones from my local garden centre – they are so yummy that I have to limit myself to only allowing them in the house on a weekend!  I am actually known in there now and they don’t even need to ask me what I want – just how many!  Funnily enough, I bumped into the chef yesterday and he knew who I was!  I also managed to sweet talk the recipe out of him, so watch this space 😉

10. If you could invite 5 photographers to your dinner table, who would it be and post one question to each individual.
Gosh – this is very hard for me because of my response earlier about inspiration!  Anyway, let me try!

Tim Walker – Can I come and live in your brain for a day, I am fully toilet trained and always clean up after I have had toast 🙂
Crash Taylor – Can I have your balls, metaphorically speaking not literally of course!
Zack Arias – Would you teach me everything you know about lighting please!
Naomi Kenton – Can you teach me how you make such amazingly beautiful pictures!
Kirsty Mitchell – Please can I come and take part in one of your shoots!

11. What do you love about photography?
There are no limitations, photography is whatever you make it. 

12. Name one thing you would like to change in the photography world if you could?

Cheaper equipment!

13. If you could photograph anyone in this world who would it be and why?

Passed on: Marylin Monroe, she was the personification of beauty.  She knew how to work that camera!
Still with us: Jason Lewis – do I really need to tell you why 😉

14. You take a ton of self portraits. How do you get the focus right every time?
I use a remote with focus lock on it!  Although before I had my remote I would position an object roughly where I thought I would be standing, lock the focus, switch to manual and hope for the best!  Of course it took it few attempts!

15. Post 3 of your favorite photographs and why they’re your favorites?
I find it really hard to choose favourites as I change my mind like the weather!

Anyway for today these three were in amongst my favourites!

#1 I guess I really like this as it’s fun!  I am a little on the barmy side and as soon as I saw my dogs shampoo in the cupboard I knew that it was going to feature that night for my 365!  Not quite sure that the ‘pooch’ look is for me though!

#2 My feminine side comes out every now and then and this was one time when I was loving playing in my dress! 

#3 I actually really like this one because you have to stare at it to realise what is going on!  On first glance people think the eye is just swollen and shut, but look again and you will realise that it’s not an eye at all but my lips!  Then you spot the closed eye in place of my lips!

16. Which is the best creative advice you have ever received?
Practice every day.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

17. What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Well I’m not officially a business yet so haven’t really received any but I would guess it would be ‘don’t mess with the tax man’!

18. What is your life motto?

Fill it with things that make you happy and never give up on your dreams.

19. Where do you imagine your photography will take you in 5 years. What would you love to see happen?
Private section on Necker Island!  Seriously, though I hope that in 5 years time I am in full time employment with my photography and that people would be seeking my work out and approaching me to take their photograph.  I love the thought that people would want to see a piece of my art on their walls – what a wonderful dream!

20. Where and how can people connect with you?
I have a blog/website that I update daily at present with my 365 project which is: www.traceybarrowphotography.com
Facebook  Twitter 

Tracey’s 365—>  Part 1  Part 2 

Thank you Tracey for taking the time to do this. I owe you a mahusive scone! ^_^

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