Toronto-based Photographer Charlene Precious writes on her blog, "Each photograph, no matter how seemingly simple, strange, or ordinary, is tied to a moment, which is tied to another moment, and another moment, and then another – they are an endless reminder of infinite moments."
This is what drew me to Charlene and her work--this bread-crumb trail of moments that she leaves for herself and for us, documenting and preserving the journey she makes. . .
taking in wide open spaces,
winding through narrow, city passages
and splashing across sandy stretches.
Charlene lives by St. Augustine's mantra, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." But it's hard to say where the story began. Charlene says traveling is inspired by her photography, and her photography is what inspires her traveling. "Both go hand in hand."
The story of Charlene's art is told by an eye that watches the world fly by through a camera lens. "Traveling year after year is my deepest, darkest desire," she says. "There is something about waking up in a new and unfamiliar place that is just thrilling. Traveling does something to the soul that nothing else can do and capturing the experience with a camera is an added bonus."
And just think of the miles that would have lain untraversed, and the moments passed without notice if Charlene hadn't "stumbled upon Flickr" in 2007. This is where the world of photography opened to her. Inspired by Page Traeger and Samuel Barr, among others, Charlene says she "stalked and admired their works of art from afar with this broken, envious heart."
So the full-time Marketer for Canon decided to take a step toward adding the name "artist" to her resume and purchased her first Camera--a Canon Powershot SD1000. She learned from the powerful point and shoot camera--her "teacher and companion for a time," and upgraded a year later to a Rebel XSI and began to build her professional portfolio.
But the real magic began in 2009 when Charlene started her photo blog--A Photo A Day--which she has kept "alive and bumpin’," ever since. The fact that the blog is something that "stuck" is a source of great pride for Charlene: "I have taken, or at least posted, one photo a day, every day since 2009. A Photo A Day evolved from just a fun Facebook and Flickr photo album into a precious photo journal told with words and photographs," she says.
The natural progression from here was the opening of the Charlene Precious Etsy shop. It was at this crucial intersection of making art, writing about it and taking the leap to sell it that the "Marketer" could finally see herself taking on another role as well--the role of "Artist."
And Charlene couldn't be happier at this turn of events. (Maybe you can tell by the happy pastel color palette of her photographs!) "Photography, blogging, and selling prints together have become the perfect platform for creativity and expression, and the trio is my single greatest source of joy," she says. The photographer continues to work full-time in marketing as well: "I’m just so in love with both worlds that I can do it."
Living a life full of work, no matter how much you love it, still requires a little rest. Maybe that's why her favorite things to see through her camera lens are "vast empty spaces like a big field, a meadow, grassland, or farmland." This is where travel comes in again for Charlene. "Road trips excite me because of all the large masses of empty land you pass while driving along the countryside and they look like they go on forever and ever," she says. And of course, she always pulls over for a photo!
Charlene has discovered that this love of wide open spaces is what seems to resonate the most with her customers--but especially the urge to "escape" into the vastness of the sea. "The ocean is vast and filled with mystery, serenity, and possibilities," she says, "making it a great source of comfort and escape." The photo, "My Heart Belongs to the Sea" is a favorite in her shop.
Other than golden fields and sparkling waters, some of Charlene's favorite places in the world and in her photography are in Europe. But Lisbon, Portugal is an especial favorite.
"Out of all the places I’ve been, Lisbon seems to be the one that left the biggest mark in my heart. The simplicity of the place really hit home," she says.
"It was beautiful in its natural environment. There was nothing flashy or vain to get your attention. The simple living, the run down houses, the chipping paint on the walls, the clotheslines outside their windows, were enough to draw me in and I appreciated it."
Charlene's clothesline photography made a strong impression on me as well--it's such a beautiful thing, to travel halfway across the world and find that a midst all the grandeur and glamour of Eurpoe, the biggest impression made upon your heart was the simplicity of everyday people living everyday lives.
And as much as Charlene loves to travel and loves to connect with that desire to "escape" that so many of us hide in our hearts, her work also expresses the beauty of contentment in the "right here" and "right now." Charlene's clotheslines provide encouragement in this expression of contentment--maybe it's the realization that the simple task of hanging out the wash can be artful and can make an important difference in someone's life.
Thank you, thank you Charlene, for sharing your story! Don't forget to check out the Charlene Precious Etsy shop and the Photo a Day blog.