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Art & Life with Melissa O’Gara

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa O’Gara.

Melissa, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
When my kids were born, time seemed to speed up in a way I never imagined. I wanted to stop time – or pause it so that I could save and savor each stage of life my kids were in. I wanted a way to ensure that I would remember the moment in my back yard where my son was giggling while playing with his trucks, and the sun came through the trees and lit up his smiling face. I wanted to remember when my son would give my daughter a hug to make her stop crying. Because as every mom knows, these moments are fleeting, and we can only depend on our still shots in our mind if we don’t have a camera to capture it. So I turned to my camera. I started taking pictures of the every day – of feelings rather than posed pictures (though I took many of those too).

For Christmas gifts every year, I gathered my favorite “captures” and designed calendars for family. The enthusiastic response from them gave me a new appreciation for photography and a motivation for me to improve and take more. I realized that I could share my photos, and stop time for others as well. Photography became a gift I could give to others. My daughter loves to be in front of the camera, and I love to be behind it. Together, we challenged each other. She would invite her friends to join in on photoshoots so they could have pretty ballet photos for their Instagram accounts, and I would train myself in the process. One aspect of myself that helped me in my photos is that I always see beauty in others, and I look for that and try to capture that in my subjects. Knowing ballet through my daughter’s many years of training also helped me learn how to capture the right moment. I’m still learning each time I pick up my camera, and with each photoshoot. I am thoroughly enjoying the journey, and look forward to where future adventures and lessons will lead.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My photography is an attempt to capture feelings that we want to highlight and remember. Most of my work is of ballet because my daughter and her friends love to see their movement captured at its best moment. Because the ballet photoshoots are with friends, I also take many portraits and candid shots as they plan and talk together in between the scenes. I hope my portraits and candids highlight the inner beauty I find in each of my subjects. I like for the photograph to bring out an intriguing personality trait of the individual. I also want my pictures to tell the story of the moment or the day.

In my landscape photographs, I hope others can feel the mood of the place. I travel a lot in winter because my son competes in the sport of luge, and we attend races in some of the coldest places in our nation. Most people don’t appreciate the cold, and often convey the sad, gray loneliness of it. I love the snow and the peaceful quiet that usually comes with it, and I try to convey that stillness and tranquility in my nature photos.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I believe the most difficult challenge facing artists today is really the one thing that should be helping us the most – social media. It is wonderful to be able to have all these social media outlets in which to share our work, but the sheer number of people seems to flood the market, and it’s difficult for the new artist to make a ripple in the pool.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People will find my work on Instagram at I also post many of my pictures online for purchase at I would love for others to support my work by visiting, liking and sharing my Instagram account with friends, family, and photography enthusiasts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Melissa O’Gara

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