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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, March 20, 2014

OCC photography student Elizabeth Boocks has mounted a new show in the OCC Student Gallery full of portraits of women – a series of three of each subject. The first is a woman with no makeup, in the second shot, she is wearing one item of makeup. The final photo in each series shows the woman wearing makeup that she usually wears.

“It’s part of an ongoing conversation I have with friends about what it means to own and walk in your own beauty, internally and externally,” Boocks explains. Her photos will be on display in the Student Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building Photo Lab, through April 7. A reception is planned on Wednesday, April 2, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Boocks always had a dream of becoming a professional photographer. With a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education, she spent more than 15 years working as an editor, graphic designer and web developer. “But photography lingered on the sidelines until I got laid off in 2009,” she explains on her website, “That’s when life began to get really interesting.”

She signed up for a photography class at OCC, “and I was so afraid of failing it was hard to tell my friends what I was doing. That was an indication of just how much I wanted to be a photographer, but at the time it felt like I had a fragile dream that I could barely justify to myself, let alone defend to someone else.

“I didn’t want to share it with anyone who might tell me the market was saturated with photographers (which it is) or that it’s crazy to pursue a career with so little stability (which it may be, but here I am, and so far, so good).

“It turns out that OCC has an incredible photography program, so I enrolled in more classes and took thousands of pictures,” she said. “Thousands and thousands.”

After spending hours in the darkroom and in the studio, and she invested what felt like a small fortune on film and photographic paper.

“And then I realized that my last name, Boocks, wasn’t going to work for a business name… it’s pronounced ‘books,” but the ‘c’ in it throws people off. So I went with my mom’s maiden name and launched Elizabeth Ray Photography.”

Her dream of becoming a professional photographer has come true. “I love capturing what is true… live moments between couples, friends and family members… and that tends to show up in my work. I like people, I love my life, and I love what I do!”