Resumption of her art brings its own Rawards

Muse by photographer Ginger Grant of Bristol

Ginger Grant of Bristol

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
Bristol’s Ginger Grant is not necessarily a Johnny- (or Jane-)Come-Lately to photography.
Her first brush with the art form came in the era of presidents Ford and Carter.
But then teen-dom and later marriage interrupted her photographic flow. And it wasn’t until years later when her family began to grow and she wanted to capture those little moments that Ginger picked up a camera again.
And now, in 2012, she finds herself a semi-finalist for photographer of the year for the Hartford chapter of Raw Natural Born Artists, a nationwide organization.
Raw will hold its Rawards night Nov. 15 at the Russian Lady in Hartford as the audience casts its live vote for each artist category (including visual art, music, fashion, accessories, hair, and make up). Meanwhile three judges will weigh in with their votes as well.
(As a point of disclosure, this reporter also is a semi-finalist for photographer of the year competing against Ginger.)
Asked to speak about how she was drawn to photography, Ginger explained, “My father gave me my first camera in the late ‘70s, a Kodak 110 that I used to use for years.”
But in time, Ginger explained, “I gave up photography during my middle school years until my kids were born and I took it up again because I wanted to capture the memories.”
Photography, she explained, proved to be a perfect outlet for the then-young mother to be creative. “Pre-parenthood, I used to draw and after the children came there was never enough time for serious drawing. Photography just became a natural progression.”
The hobby became more serious in 2007 when she received a state of the art SLR as a gift for Mother’s Day. Then she took a photography course to see what she could accomplish with her new toy.
And that brings her to today.
Ginger will tell anyone who asks that being a mother had an influence on her artistic leanings.
“It has a huge impact on my artistic imaginings,” said Ginger. “Before kids, the art I liked was fantasy, dragons, and gnomes. Once the kids came along, I wanted to share the wonders of the world with them. We started having adventures and little discoveries and not only was I teaching them, but they were teaching me to take the time to stop and remember what it is like to see things in a new way. The old cliché of taking time to smell the roses, but it was so much more, the softness of the petals, the dew glinting in the morning sun and the sheer surprise when a bug jumps out at you and you can laugh about it.”
Looking through Ginger’s work you can tell she is drawn to nature, color, and the little moments of life.
“I see the little details that can cause that one moment of pleasure. A sigh of a butterfly, vibrancy of colors that just pop and make you know that not all parts of life have to be doom and gloom,” Ginger explained. “Those little moments in life are what you are going to remember in your old age and make you smile. I want to share that with everyone.”
She shared a story that illustrated her point. “One day, I saw an older couple walking out of church together and I had a little point and shoot in my car, I grabbed it and snapped their picture as they were helping each other down the stairs. It made me want to cry. It was the image that said ‘Love.’ That is what love is, something that endures and you are there for each other.”
Raw Natural Born Artists is in its inaugural year in Connecticut. And Ginger is one of the first class of artists to “graduate” to the Rawards in Hartford.
“I’ve been watching Raw for a while now and had considered submitting to Boston before they came to Hartford,” said Ginger. “Even though I have been creating art since I was an itty bitty child, I never put anything out in public other than online like Flickr.com, etc. My first foray into applying for an open call for artists, I was turned down. It was devastating.”
But her confidence grew thanks to another artistic gathering in Hartford.
“I never took portrait or event photos outside of the family until this past March when I was part of S.W.A.N Day CT (Support Women Artists Now). Jennifer Hill (of Bristol, who organizes the event), S.W.A.N and all the people attending the event gave me the self-esteem and courage to apply to RAW’s first Hartford show ‘Solstice’ this past June.”
“I learned that you have to take a leap of faith and for your dreams to come true, you really have to take that first step and to keep taking those steps; otherwise it will just stay a dream,” said Ginger.
And as she prepares to compete in the semifinals at Raw on Nov. 15 (which would take her to the national event if she wins in Connecticut), how does she feel?
“Truthfully, out of all the amazing talented people that have participated in Raw Natural Born Artist since June, I still can’t believe that I made it to the top five. I create art because it is just who I am. But to have it be good enough to get me in the semifinals, I’m blown away. It makes me smile and do a wiggle dance and I can’t wait for all the people to come to the show on Nov 15,” said Ginger.
She added, “I can’t wait to be able to cast my vote for some of my favorite artists too.”
The Rawards semi-finals will be held Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Russian Lady, 191 Ann Uccello St., Hartford. Tickets are $15 in advance at RawArtists.org/Hartford or $20 at the door.