By Julie Horner
What caught my eye was the recent iconic photograph of local American roots musicians, Sugar by the Pound. It was a Marilyn Monroe moment. The photographer had captured the very essence of femininity and strength and sheer porcelain beauty in a series of relaxed looking shots; in-the-moment expression and sense of playful movement, the honesty of cotton fabric against smooth skin and the function of well worn instruments.
The photographer is Tina Saso, a San Lorenzo Valley native who now calls Boulder Creek home. That series of photographs was taken just moments after Sugar by the Pound had wrapped up their set at the Boulder Creek Harvest Festival. They’d ducked into a friend’s yard to shake off the heat of the day and the high of being “on” in front of hundreds of folks enjoying the lingering warmth of a long, hot summer in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can see in those photographs Tina’s ability as a genuine people-person to put her subjects at ease, feeling themselves and having fun so that personalities shine through.
It’s a natural impulse for Tina to photograph family and friends. Drawn by everyday people, mamas and babies, the rustic and the well-lit, she becomes the story teller and a recorder of moments in time. She told me that she especially enjoys photographing her subjects on-location outdoors, incorporating the environment whenever she can. Wilder Ranch, Henry Cowell State Park, and Boulder Creek’s Camp Joy Gardens are favorite locations, providing color- and texture-rich backdrops for her subjects.
Tina enjoys a deep connection with Camp Joy, having spent many days of youth with Leifin and Towhee Nelson on the acreage. Now their children run wild in that wondrous landscape, and Tina can be found chasing the kids around, adding her personal perspective to capturing what they do among the orchard trees and arbors.
“I have always been a social person and love working with people of all ages.” According to Tina, her enthusiasm for photography is complementary to that love. She is passionate about lighting and composition and facilitating the perfect environment for feeling joy, to reach that moment together at a shoot “when magic is happening.”
While her favorite experiences involve photographing individuals in a natural setting, she also has a keen eye for large compositions involving company staff and is in high demand as an event and corporate photographer. Her expertise includes evocative wedding portraiture and exquisitely pristine landscape and nature photography. Capturing life as she sees it: From the glow of the mother-to-be to the delicate form of the newborn asleep; children innocently at play to teens and adults at ease in the everyday.
Several times a year Tina hosts professional photo sessions by appointment at Camp Joy Garden. I can think of no finer place to create family memories through portraiture, to bookmark a place in time for loved ones framed by the beauty of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaSasoPhotography
(c) 2014 Julia Horner
This article was originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, December 2014. Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org