Last year I attended the Black Female Photographers Conference in Dallas, Texas. Photographers came from all over the country. With these events you get to know one another and do what photographers do – share information, teach each other, shoot, fellowship, and have fun. If I remember correctly someone asked Ra Hall what was the name of her photography business and she said Art Thru The Eye Ov Ra Photography. I think she had to say it a couple of times and of course my ears perked up too 🙂 Fast forward I have been following Ra on social media and last month I went to Philadelphia to attend the 7th Annual Lynne Honickman Digital Arts Festival in which Ra taught photography. I asked Ra if I could interview and write a blog…now I will share with you:
- Just about everyone has a story behind photography, becoming a photographer. Ra can you share some insight of your story? Also how long have you been involved with photography?
I started shooting again just under 10 years ago. My Mother had passed and finding a way to make valuable sense of her transition and keep going prompted my return to photography.
Photography was a great way to remember my closest friends through film cameras growing up as a military kid. Moving away from friendships I would build in different states were difficult and taking photos of us doing things together or of each other had value. One year I lost all of my photos in a move to Oklahoma. It was then I realized how much change was constant. Losing tangible memories on Kodak paper detached me from the desire to capture the memories I loved to revisit through photos. So I embraced my athletic gifts and moved on.
- Art Thru The Eye Ov Ra Photography is your business name. What is the history behind your name?
Mom lived on the west coast the last 20 years of her time here. A North Philly native raised during the Civil Rights Movement. Fueled by the power of education my Mother loved music, dance, art, writing, and caring for people. Her favorite past time was running on beaches with my brother and I. My brother was the book nerd side of her and I was the artist athlete. Our little family was always drawn to Egyptology. Mom was a Goddess to us. She kept much literature on the history and collected and drew pieces of art about different subject matter. Her Nefertiti piece always shined bright. Having always been her creative child of good spirit and leadership she called me her Ra. Her Sun. Everyone’s Sun. I was told my name fits because I go outta my way to take care of my friends to see them smile. She said my personality was incredibly big but in a courageously humble way and that my free spirit would be appreciated and respected. A few years before she passed she visited me in Philly one last time. That journey consisted of her buying me a King Tut necklace and the Ra tattoo for my 35th birthday. A couple years after she passed my photography was assigned to me by another woman who believed in me.
Art Thru The Eye Ov RA – A bubble?
I can’t be contained for so many reasons already described. Although… I had learned that every skill set is assigned to us all. Seemingly mine are Wedding, Portrait, Street, and Event Photography.
- Taking a photograph is only one aspect of photography. With that being said do you print your own work? If not how hard was it to pinpoint a photography laboratory that prints your images exactly the way you see them?
I TOTALLY BELIEVE IN PRINT! I have done most of my print for clients to experiment with different vendors, or printers. My tagline is #seetouchfeel. Because it is about keeping the conversation going through the tangible. Print is a necessary ingredient. There should be a print reference especially dealing with legacy and family history. I am currently working on my own body of print but still in the market for a great printing relationships for a few projects I am starting.
- Are your photographs both color and black & white? Do you find one fits better than the other because of your style of photography and what you’re trying to capture and reproduce what “your eyes” see?
My photos are both color and black and white. I am very pro black and white. Very pro black and white, but color is mandatory in many compositions and visual art pieces. Especially Fashion, and Beauty. My dream mediums. I am a fan of really great photography and story telling with both formats.
- I recently attended the 7th Annual Lynne Honickman Digital Arts Festival in Philadelphia, PA. You were involved with teaching the students photography, which I highly commend you for. What made you get involved working with teens? What did you learn from this project/program? If possible please give more insight on the program, etc.
Having cared for children from a very young age I learned how to appreciate what everyone had to offer to the world. People were kind to me and shared their gifts by trusting me to watch and nurture their children in exchange for pay and experience. Learning to share the gifts of knowledge were benefits I received from great parenting and moving about the states.
The first time I felt like a teacher was with a child who really wanted to learn. That seemed way more rewarding than making money or selling a product that lead to vanity, or low self esteem. Working with teens stemmed from other opportunities to teach children, and adult’s non-traditional skills to add to electives in the college. Feeding other possibilities to a kid who just needs and outlet from their own life just feels great. Especially when it is something that you love to do. I love being a photographer. I love being free to create my own possibilities for my own life story.
- Will you stay involved with the Teen Program?
I am hoping to continue to great work with youth around the world. I realize my gift is bigger than one community in one geographic measure. I’d like to travel and teach and capture lives for a more creative story of my legacy to be felt. I will be apart of programs that appreciate the gift and nurture the gift. Because of the world we live in requires so much to exist. Creating continued opportunities to be a great travel photographer to do more destination weddings, and portraits are in the view.
- What would you like to share about Art Thru The Eye Ov Ra Photography?
Art Thru The Eye Ov Ra Photography
Currently I am working on the new website launch for the fall. I will be selling prints from my travels to the Netherlands, Cuba, and Colombia within the last two years.
I am working on two personal projects to create a stronger print portfolio. Building great relationships with other photographers are valuable to me. I am available for hire as a 2nd photographer, assistant, and a grip.
Follow me on
HAPPY SHOOTING!! 🙂 🙂
Below are some photographs of Ra Hall “in her zone”. The black and whites are from the BFP conference; color are from the Digital Festival.