Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and when you developed an interest in Photography.
How long have you been with the 365 Picture Today Community?
I am Ruth Bowen Hersey. After 25 years of living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I moved with my husband to Asunción, Paraguay in January of 2022. This is my sixth year of posting a daily photo. I started in 2017. I had been posting daily photos and meditations during Advent and Lent for a little while, and I found I loved the way that little burst of creativity every morning gave me a boost for the rest of my day. So, I went looking for prompts that I could use all year round. For the first three years I used prompts from Capture Your 365, and then in 2020 I joined 365 Picture Today.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
Most of my favorite photos are of scenes in Haiti, which is such a beautiful country despite the reputation it has in the media. I am enjoying getting to know my new home, and one of my ways of exploring is taking pictures of what I see.
While I would not consider myself a serious photographer, and I mostly take pictures with my phone, I have learned a lot from following the photos taken by all the real photographers who post in the group. I have even tried quite a few of the technical prompts and learned about my camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T3i) in the process. My main interest in photography is capturing memories and moments from my life. I enjoy looking for beautiful things every day. Since I’m not a “real” photographer it won’t surprise you to learn that my process of editing is just cropping or straightening or brightening in Photos on my iPhone or laptop.
Where do you find inspiration?
Taking pictures helps me overcome slumps in my main creative pursuit, writing. In the 90s I was into scrapbooking, and I always loved the journaling more than taking pictures, and I’m still that way; I like writing about my photos and every morning I look back in my Facebook memories and reread what I wrote in past years. I also use my photos as inspiration for writing poetry. Sometimes when I’m discouraged or feeling down, the best thing for me to do is to grab my camera or phone and go for a walk, specifically looking for something beautiful to capture. Photography goes well with my latest passion, birding, but so far, I am a complete failure at bird photos. It’s hard for me to manage binoculars and camera at the same time, but I do have lots of photos of empty branches taken with my phone.
What advice would you give yourself when you first started a 365 project?
If I could give myself a piece of advice about my daily photo projects, it would be to start sooner. I wish I had daily photos for the years my children were small, or even the years before they were born, or back into my own childhood. I love the way looking back at photos brings back memories and reminds me of beauty and color that I would otherwise forget.
How can the community follow you?
I have been a blogger since 2007 at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town. I also post on Facebook.
My attitude towards the prompts is to cheat without any guilt at all. I don’t require myself to post a photo I took that day. I reinterpret at will. This project is about what I want to do. I cheated on my self-portrait, too. One of my favorite photos ever of myself is one taken by my son. In it, I am sitting on the ground and taking a close-up of something in front of me (I can’t remember what). So, I had my son recreate it. That’s right; it’s not even a self-portrait at all. And I don’t feel bad!