Interview: Rasilind Berks

I first met Rasilind Berks about five years ago, when we worked in the sales department for a travel company. Since then, we’ve both left that career path for more creative freedom.

So Ras, I don’t think we’ve spoken in person since working in the same sales office, how have you been?

For the last four years I have worked at Bay Photo Lab as customer service and technical support for professional photographers. Becoming more of an avid photographer myself while working in this environment, I finally invested in what I like to call my ‘big girl’ camera.

Now, I have done several commercial fashion shoots, my photography has been featured in Black Belt Magazine, and I’ve done numerous art photography shows for our local First Friday Art Tour.

On a more personal note, my husband (read: best friend) and I are having our first baby in November. We both feel very blessed to have this new addition to our family, and we enjoy continued success in our shared multi-media business Berks Media.

Congratulations!

What style of photo-shoot do you prefer?

Actually, as much as I love working with people and doing shoots that make women (and men) feel good about themselves, my favorite thing to do is take my camera out in nature. I love the meditative process of walking around alone somewhere that has all manner of natural beauty. It’s like stopping to smell the roses… all day long.

You touched on your photography making men and women feel good, but what else do you hope to communicate through photography?

I try to find the extraordinary in the mundane, things that people would not normally stop to observe about a place or a person. These are the things that make life beautiful, and most of us are too busy/rushed/distracted to notice them. And there is a certain peace, a joy that comes from taking notice of the world around us.

What do you consider your greatest achievement up to now?

Well, it doesn’t really have to do with photography, but I’m very proud that I stuck it out in school and got my degree in anthropology. I came from a somewhat underprivileged background, and I feel that I had to rise up from my surroundings and the path I was on to even begin a real education. It was not easy, and I had very little assistance, but I did it. For that, I feel accomplished.

Which aspect of your craft do you wish you were better at?

I wish I was better at the technical aspect. I get the creative part, that’s not a problem. And I get computers, no biggie. There are so many little bells and whistles on cameras these days that it becomes a bit daunting, sometimes, to keep it all straight. Occasionally, it even interferes with my artistic vision, and that gets frustrating.

You and your husband are a creative team, right?

That’s correct. I do still photography and digital graphics, and he does screen writing and film making. We assist each other in our projects too. For instance, I did the makeup and a bit of acting on his last film, and he helps me set up lights and develop concepts.

Do you have any shows of your work coming up?

Currently, no. I am much more focused on family these days with the pregnancy. But, my shutter finger has been itching.

Which local artists inspire you?

Isobel George amazes me. Her work is so suggestive and engaging. It really makes you think about what you’re observing. There’s a warmth to her work that I don’t see often. It’s comforting and thought provoking at the same time.

What local artists would you like to see get more exposure?

Well, I hate to sound biased, but my husband is a pretty great filmmaker.

Ha, well that sounds like another interview!

Absolutely.

Is there a creative or tangible way that someone reading this article could have an impact on either your work or the exposure that your work receives?

Well, museum and art show support is always welcomed. I certainly encourage anyone interested to visit my website (www.berksmedia.biz) as we have many digital media services available, including art prints, portraiture, wedding and event photography, videography, creative graphic design, and much more.

In your opinion, is Santa Cruz a friendly area for artists?

To an extent. There is certainly a creative vibe here and there’s a lot of encouragement for aspiring artists, if they look in the right places. I think what people should keep in mind is that art is subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s art. It’s always important to be able to see past one’s own prejudices.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think that’s pretty complete.

Perhaps just to say that if anyone out there is struggling with their art, just remember that it’s easy to destroy, but it’s not easy to create. And if you can manage it, and it reaches even one person, it was worthwhile.

You can see more of Rasilind’s work at her website: http://www.berksmedia.biz/

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