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Daily Inspiration: Meet Vanessa Barboza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Barboza.

Hi Vanessa, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always loved photos. As a child, I loved taking pictures even if it was of little things in my room.

Whenever we went to festivals or farmers’ markets, I loved looking at the photography booths, we didn’t have a lot financially, but I would buy their greeting cards and frame them.

After I got married, I purchased a used DSLR camera and just started experimenting. I’m a visual learner so I forced myself to shoot everything on manual mode, that way I would learn the settings and how to get certain looks.

I read articles, books and practiced, practiced, practiced! I traveled a lot to see my family so that was a perfect way to find things my eye found interesting. I learned that I love finding the beauty in the unexpected, something that doesn’t look very pretty at first can actually make a beautiful photo! Over time I honed my style and niche, I feel like a lot of my style has been influenced by my beloved hometown of Moab UT.

We’re all a little eccentric and out of the ordinary haha. I also found that I love doing art festivals! Getting peoples feedback is great, I love seeing what photos people are drawn to, what speaks to someone. And I always make sure I have cards or something inexpensive for those who love a photo but might not be able to afford something big.

Over the pandemic, I started getting into wildlife photography. I have to say once you come across some cool opportunities to shoot wildlife, you’re hooked! Last year for our anniversary my husband took me for a drive around our area including the wildlife preserve near us, since our anniversary happens to be during eagle season I shot my very first Bald eagle photo and could not have been more excited!

This of course fed my wildlife addiction even more. I’m so happy to live in Vernal, where we have such a huge variety of wildlife which you get to see just driving on the backroads! It’s been a great growing experience, I feel like you never stop learning.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Early in our marriage I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and when the doctor tells you “You know there’s nothing we can do for you right?” it’s a little disheartening. This of course affected my photography, I would sometimes not pick up the camera for months and struggled with being motivated, even in doing something I loved.

It took me a long time to learn how to manage my symptoms, my rest, to get over feeling guilty if I can’t do something and learn my limitations. I can’t do a lot of the amazing strenuous hikes to faraway places that other photographers can do.

So it’s a good thing I live in Utah! There’s so many different landscapes and wildlife everywhere you go. So even if I can’t go some places I get to see a lot just by traveling, camping, taking a drive on some backroads and looking up!

One example… I never thought I’d get the opportunity to photograph a moose, I always thought I’d have to hike deep in the mountains and I just didn’t know if that was feasible. Well one day I took a drive to look for some Bald Eagles, I saw some but they didn’t stick around so deciding to head home I started driving, keeping an eye out just in case I saw something.

I caught a glimpse of something in the bushes in a field right off the road, for sure it was just a mule but I thought I better double-check. Well low and behold it was a Moose! I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was so excited I was shaking! I had to take some deep breaths so I could actually take the photo.

She stuck around for quite a while and it was an awesome experience. I realized you should never say never, an opportunity can present itself at anytime, especially when you live in a small town with lots of country.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
While I love to photograph almost anything, I feel like my niche is in landscape and wildlife photography. I really love canvas prints and always have some available. I’ve recently been getting metal prints and I love how they highlight some of my more colorful and vibrant photos.

I was really insecure when I first started selling my work at fairs and art festivals but after hearing people’s feedback and seeing what photos different ones we’re drawn to, I realized that I had an eye for unique compositions and finding unexpected beauty. Seeing a photograph touch someone is such a joy.

When I look back at my early work and some of the fluke photos that helped me learn what I love to capture, I feel really proud of how far I’ve come and how I’ve found My eye and My style.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk-taking?
My view of risks are probably a little boring to others but as an introvert and someone who struggles with motivation and anxiety, just putting myself out there feels like a risk.

Yet every time I force myself out of my comfort zone and just do something, like sign up for a festival, or participate in a local art competition or art auction, or host a virtual art gallery on Facebook during a pandemic, I’m always glad I did! I always have so much fun even if I have to take a day or two to rest and recover for my health.

I made a pact with myself a couple of years ago, that I was going to start saying yes and just do it. I’m so glad I did!

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1 Comment

  1. Barry Barboza

    May 14, 2022 at 1:20 am

    What an inspiration! Enjoying life despite personal hardships! Beautiful work!

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