Tanya Russell is a visual storyteller working in Central Maine. Her compassion and curiosity guide her work as a portrait and documentary photographer. She is completing the one year Professional Certificate in Visual Storytelling Program at Maine Media Workshops + College and plans to use her knowledge to open a photography business focused on promoting small businesses within her community. 

Her time working in retail allows her to build rapport with people and develop relationships. This is useful in her work to get to know individuals and tell the stories about what is most important to them. For her, photography is about connection and community. The work she created this past year ranges from personal narrative to documentary projects. The underlying themes of these projects examine the obstacles people endure that often go unseen and the way people persevere in spite of them. 

The impact of small businesses within her community motivates her desire to open a photography business geared towards promoting local small businesses. Being from a small town she recognizes the significance of personal connections, trust, and relationships, as well as the importance of messaging to community members.

She has shown documentary work at numerous exhibitions, local galleries, and art walks. This work includes a project exploring farm work at a Midcoast CSA called Hope’s Edge Farm. The work explores use of motion, hard work, determination, friendship, and community. Her most recent exhibit will be at the end of May concluding the certificate program at Maine Media. This is an autobiographical piece inspired by personal challenges with optics and perception that investigates the relationship between light and vision. 

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