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I spent the greater part of my Saturday at The Brooklyn Museum visiting a very long-awaited exhibit “Appearances Can Be Deceiving.” I had been trying for weeks to get tickets for often sold out exhibit and my persistence of constantly checking the website paid off.

Although we weren’t allowed to photograph the inner part of the exhibit itself, I managed to shoot some footage of the entrance.

The exhibit filled 3 main rooms and 2 rooms with videos. It included letters, photographs, newspaper articles, and her clothing, along with traditional artifacts associated with her time in Mexico. If you were looking for Frida’s artwork, this would not be the exhibit for you. There was very little of her work save a couple self portraits and several of her plaster corsets. What the exhibit did cover, however, was how her life intersected with those that surrounded her, how she rose to public fascination, and how she created her own persona through clothing, jewelry, and makeup.

I had never been to The Brooklyn Museum until Saturday. The museum is a beautiful space. It is open and inviting and I saw several people relaxing and enjoying the general energy of the space. I will definitely be back if not only to soak up the energy and to photograph the general public.








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This post was originally published under The Grief and Grace Project in 2013.

There is nothing I enjoy more than helping others tell their story. For me it is about more than just a one time celebration, it is about capturing moments in between. In between all those celebrations are moments that truly defines us as human beings There are moments of grief, moments of grace, and moments of clarity when all we finally see what love can do to shape our lives and change us for the better. 

In 2013, I lost my younger brother to a ruptured brain aneurysm. It isn't a story I talk about often. Shortly after his passing I found out a good friend of mine had suffered and survived from the very thing that took my brother. I reached out to her and we decided together that a portrait session displaying all the beauty that was inside her perfectly imperfect mind and body would make a huge impact on others. What neither of us realized is what an impact it would make on her or how it would help her cross over from depression into hope.

My friend's name is Emily and she is a devoted wife, a talented photographer, a mother, a stepmother, and the best friend that anyone could ever have. I am truly lucky to be surrounded in the love she puts out into the world. 

Emily is a survivor, she is a warrior. Over the course of 7 months she survived a ruptured brain aneurysm, a staph infection, and 3 brain surgeries. Her chances were 30% she would even survive, and 10% she would make it without any lasting brain damage. She beat those odds. This is her story.











“Let me start by saying that I have an incredible life, perfect in most ways, but didn’t realize this fact until it was almost too late.”





“My husband, Michael and I had an impromptu crawfish boil on Memorial Day this year and spent the day eating, drinking and laughing with friends. It was a perfect summer afternoon filled with many of the people and moments that I love. The next morning I was working in my home office after taking my daughter to preschool, drinking a cup of coffee and resuming my normal, routine life when suddenly everything changed. I was struck with an overwhelming, blinding headache, as though I had been shot in the head. It was, by far, the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. I had a moment where I thought to myself, “it’ll pass, this will go away, I’m okay,” but it didn’t cease and the pain intensified. My husband was still asleep that morning in our bedroom after a hot day of boiling crawfish and drinking beer. I knew Michael was tired and I resisted waking him over what I hoped beyond reason was a simple headache. It was in this moment of internal struggle that I realized the truth, that I was dying and I needed help.”







“I stood up, determined to make the trek to our bedroom and wake him. I remember taking each heavy, burdened step, one after the other. The walls of my home undulated as if I were walking underwater in a vast ocean. I finally reached our bedroom, woke Michael and said, “I have the worst headache of my life.” The look of bewilderment on his face is the last thing I remember until sometime in early July. He tells me that I started screaming and that‘s when he called 911. While he was on the phone my eyes rolled into the back of my head, I passed out and he thought to himself, “My wife just died.” Michael was able to revived me, the ambulance arrived and I was taken to the emergency room. The next morning I had the aneurysm surgically clipped in a six hour procedure which my neurosurgeon declared, “the most difficult of his career”. One week later I was well on to my way to recovery, starting physical therapy, walking the hospital hallways and then I took a turn for the worse. I had a critically high fever that wouldn’t diminish despite being placed on cooling blankets and delirium had set in. Bacterial meningitis, a staph infection, had created a hematoma and once again I went into surgery. In total I spent six weeks hospitalized, 24 days of that in the ICU.”


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Tracy Barbour Blog by Tracy Barbour - 3M ago

I had the distinct pleasure of working with Ocean Prime in New York City on interior and patio shots for their website and private dining catalogue.

Click on the first image to launch the lightbox gallery.

































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I am so excited to announce that my Street Photography Tour/Class just launched this morning with AirBNB. This is something I have wanted to do with AirBNB ever since they launched experiences. And New York City is the perfect location to do this in!

If you or anyone you know either lives in or is visiting New York City, please take a moment to book an experience with me.

You can learn more by visiting my Tour page. Looking forward to seeing you on the streets!

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I met Sally Westfall a little over a year ago as she was transitioning from hospitality to fulfilling her dreams. Sally has made quite the transformation in the past year and is now a full-time freelancer and working with Bumble and Bumble. She has done such an amazing job, she is now going to be part of the New York City Fashion Week B team!

There is something truly remarkable about this woman. We have become fast friends and it has been a pleasure working with her on her branding. When I approached her about shooting film to achieve that "California Girl Meets New York City" look that fits her so well, she was all in. 

Thank you, Sally, for giving me an opportunity to help you make your brand come to life!

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I met Nicole and Arthur in 2008, after Arthur discovered me and wanted me to photograph his wife and stepdaughter. At the time they weren't married yet, but had created this beautiful, welcoming, and loving family. 

A couple years later, I approached Arthur and Nicole about doing some film work. We met up at a location where they met right before their first date. Several months later, they eloped in Vegas!

To this day, this family has welcomed me in as more than just their photographer, I am a part of their extended family and they have been a huge support system. Especially, when we all moved to NYC within a few months of each other. 

I am forever blessed by the friendship of this couple and the gift of being able to tell their story through the years.
















Tracy Barbour is a New York City Street, Documentary, and Portrait Photographer based in Brooklyn. She is available for Empathic Portrait Sessions. Please inquire about booking your session via the RATES or CONTACT page.

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Tracy Barbour Blog by Tracy Barbour - 8M ago

Most, if not all, of my clients come out of their portrait sessions with a feeling of being refreshed, empowered, and relieved. Some of them have described as a feeling of love and care. A byproduct of this great attention is a renewed confidence in self. This feeling my clients receive during their sessions helps even the most apprehensive person to face the lens with confidence. The reason for this is what I call THE EMPATHIC LENS.

Throughout this post you will see images from a session I did with Marlene, a subject who was not keen on being in front of the camera. She had struggled in the past with being in front of the camera formally. She texted me after the session and this is what she had to say:

“Working with Tracy was easy. I am on of these people who is very uncomfortable in the presence of the camera. This dissolved very quickly during our session and somehow she captured me looking younger and more serene than I typically see myself.””
— Marlene from Ridgewood, Queens

 

The definition of "empathic" involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathetic people are different from empaths in many small ways and often the division between the two becomes a grey area. For purposes relating to the photographing people, I prefer to use the term empathic. Empathic goes beyond empathy and reaches into the ability to be highly sensitive and attuned to another person's thoughts and feelings. 

To better understand how far this sensitivity goes there is a wonderful article published by Psychology Today in 2016 entitled "10 Traits Empathic People Share." I use several of the key traits described in the article to benefit not only my clients but my work in street and documentary photography. I thought it would be beneficial to go over some of these traits and how they relate to empathic photography sessions. 

Absorb Other People's Emotions

This is the first step to any session. It is what I do from the very beginning of my interaction with every client or subject. Sessions always begin with a consult to get a good gauge on how the subject is feeling about being in front of the camera. Understanding their triggers, looking for micro-expressions, body language, and tone of voice help me absorb a bit of any kind of apprehension or excitement and provide a buffer. During sessions I will play music chosen by the client providing an emotional connection for them. 

Being Highly Intuitive

Being intuitive is a key component of a positive relationship with any subject or client. Listening to my gut about how they feel throughout the session helps with movements that are natural and do not look posed. Before you know it, you are posing on your own as well as expressing natural emotion key in expressive portraiture. 

A Giving Heart

I approach every session paid or portfolio with a clear understanding that I am giving of my talent. Being able to reflect a true, expressive, emotional and honest self in portraits is what is behind the rise of self-confidence in sessions. A giving heart also means patience. I do not place limits on a session time if I feel the subject isn't comfortable. Many sessions begin with 15 to 20 minutes of sharing experiences verbally before I even raise the camera. 

I use empathic photography for every portrait session, finding that it was the best approach. The strategies are not only helpful to clients but also to any photographer who feels they too have these highly sensitive traits. It is a side that can be tapped into for portraits, street, or documentary work. 

All of my work is very people-centric. I love what I do and my ability to pull in empathic traits for my approach to portrait sessions makes my clients and subjects love their time in front of the camera.

Tracy Barbour is a New York City Street, Documentary, and Portrait Photographer based in Brooklyn. She is available for Empathic Portrait Sessions. Please inquire about booking your session via the RATES or CONTACT page.

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Tracy Barbour Blog by Tracy Barbour - 8M ago

There is something to be said for the journey. What does it take to get there? And once you are there, can you go further? Can you go faster? Some days are like a slow roll and others the faster the better. Whether the world is passing by in slow motion or whipping by at the speed of light, every mile ticks off important moments in the trip we make around the sun as humans. 

I recently purchased a bike. It is nothing fancy. I hadn't ridden a bike in over 20 years and it was a huge leap for me to get back on. The last time I attempted to ride, I ran over the salesman as I veered in the wrong direction and promptly fell off after slamming into him. 

Nope, not getting back on. Not ever. Or so I said. 

I made excuse after excuse for not getting on a bike that ranged from "my balance is off" to "I'm too old to relearn" to "I simply have not time." 

But I did have time and I definitely wasn't too old. And neither are you. Whether it's getting back on the road and two wheels after 20 years or trying something new at the age of 60 or 80 or more. You are never too old to understand every single moment of the journey is YOUR ticket to ride. It is YOUR ticket to get back on the journey. 

Get your ticket now. 

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Today I found out I made a list. I was featured alongside some incredibly talented street storytellers, all female, on Street Hunters. You can check out the entire list HERE

I cried. Seriously. I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling with tears rolling down my cheeks. I didn't even know. A friend sent me the link. I didn't start street photography all that long ago. And being in this very male-dominated genre takes grit, guts, and a shit ton of patience. 

Those tears were tears of joy and tears of relief. Two weeks ago I felt like a fraud. Two weeks ago I was ready to hang it all up. I even threatened to leave my camera at a friend's house and never return to get it. I felt lost in an overwhelming sea of people, buildings, city noise, and feelings. I didn't know how to swim up and I was suffocating. I was not functioning comfortably as an artist, much less a whole human being. I had sunk absolutely everything I had into moving to NYC and I was failing miserably.

Or was I? 

I don't know. I doubt I will ever know. I moved to NYC in October of 2016 on a whim, a very well-planned and calculated whim, to pursue my greatest passion in the greatest city (to me) in the world. I was going to conquer everything with my honest, my humbleness, and my determination. 

That's when NYC decided to double-down on me. One misfortune and unfortunate event after another, my ship was sinking. Although my emotional honesty stayed intact, my determination and positive attitude were on the brink. I was distraught often, scaring a couple close friends and my family. 

But then something happened. I don't know what it was. A switch was flipped incredible things started pouring into my life. Don't get me wrong, my days are far from easy. I still struggle like any other artist in this city. I mean I struggle like anybody in this city. We come, we stay, and we struggle. Day in and day out I pour myself into physical labor, hundreds of steps and miles on the streets, and long subway rides to spend even 5% each day focused on my craft. 

So now I sit here motivated again, determined again, and several projects in planning stages. I am no longer dreading a year from now when I stand on a stage in Jacksonville for my first major museum exhibit and presentation. I am working that 5% per day to the very best I can. 

My hope is 5% will become 100%. Today is just a first baby step towards that. I am grateful Street Hunters included me. It was the revelation, the inspiration, the confirmation, and the swift kick in the butt I needed.

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Tracy Barbour Blog by Tracy Barbour - 8M ago
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