Wendy Erickson: I am drawn into your images when I study them−I can almost smell the fragrance from the flowers. Your photographs are extraordinarily warm and inviting—I get the feeling these are extremely personal photographs.
Paulette Tavormina: They are intensely personal to me as they all tell stories of the fragility of life and love, the fine balance of emotions, passion, vulnerability and the sorrow one feels that life and beauty can be so fleeting−tempus fugit. Being a sentimental person, photography is a way to capture and savor a moment.
I pour myself into these images when I am creating them. Typically, it will take me three days to a week to set up and shoot an image and get it to the point where I love it. In the process, I’ll make hundreds of shots, tweaking and refining until I get each element in place and the lighting kissing each surface exactly as I want it.
The photograph entitled Figs and Dragonfly, After G.F. expresses my Sicilian family history. This image reminds me of my grandfather’s original fig tree that in turn was grafted and given to my father and in turn given to my brother. Snails on the branches are from my cousin’s villa in Palermo, Italy.
WE: How were you introduced to photography?
PT: I studied art history at school and later worked at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. There I was surrounded by priceless paintings and sculptures from all over the world. Much like working in a rotating museum, I was inspired by the beautiful works of art I was exposed to every day.
My interest in photography began to develop in the 1980’s, but I soon realized that I needed to develop my skills and so attended a class at the International Center of Photography in New York. I was intrigued and began shooting whenever I had a chance.
When I moved to Santa Fe a few years later I took a black and white darkroom course to strengthen my understanding of the technology behind image making. A friend asked if I would photograph his collection of historic Indian pottery for a book he was publishing. For the next year I shot images of historic Indian pottery and Navajo jewelry and my career in photography was launched.