Amateur photographer takes inspiration from nature for her art

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

For one Hayward-area citizen, there’s at least one good thing about the below-freezing temperatures of this winter’s weather: The sun dogs are out.

“One thing that will make me pull over in a heartbeat is a 22-degree halo,” amateur photographer Tammy Solomonson said.

Sometimes, she thinks they’re even more beautiful in a photo than they are in real life.

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Solomonson started taking photos from an artist’s perspective about two years ago, she said. She also studies Biblical Hebrew, spends time with her seven grandchildren and works part-time at a day care in Glenville.

“(I was) just liking a lot of the pictures that I was taking, and wanting to do something more with them,” she said.

Mainly, that means turning her home into a gallery of sorts of mostly her own photos. She estimated approximately 75 percent of the decoration in her home are photos she took. She likes the sentiment of them — likes knowing she was there, likes the chance to relive moments that would otherwise fade out of memory.

“If you see an image, it’s sort of like experiencing it all over again,” Solomonson said.

Now, those photos are also on display for the public at Albert Lea City Hall, right outside the City Council Chambers on the building’s top floor. She said she requested to be on display after her daughter-in-law informed her there were openings. She has 12 pieces hanging through the month of February, all photo prints on canvas.

Most of her photos are taken in the moment.

“Most of it’s put on the brakes, pull over the car and take a picture,” she said.

Solomonson said she also receives inspiration from her travel. She is likely to go on a trip to Lutsen with her husband, who will ski.

“There’s always something beautiful up there to capture,” she said of the North Shore.

She also recently returned from Arizona, capturing photos on the Apache Trail.

In addition to travel, she is inspired by pattern, detail, animals, weather and the monarchs she raises in the summer.

“I guess when I see something, I just want to keep it, and photography is just a great way to take home with you forever … what you saw,” she said.

All of her photos are taken with one of two Galaxy smartphones: either the Note 8, or, for crisp photos with more detail, her S5. She also uses editing tools.

Solomonson said she knows she is just beginning. She was not artistically inclined in any other way prior to starting with photography, and she knows she’s not highly familiar with the rules of photography.

“I’m just a gal with a cell phone,” she said.

While she is thinking about how to further share — or maybe sell — her photos, she is also content to have them for her own pleasure.

“Even if it’s not a particularly great photo, the fact that you saw and experienced it just sort of brings that all back,” she said. “I’m sure there’s finer art, but I like seeing what I saw.”

See it for yourself

Who: Tammy Solomonson

What: photography display

When: The exhibit is up through the last day of February.

Where: Albert Lea City Hall, 221 E. Clark St.

How much: Free to the public

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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