Photographer Marianne Stickles got her start with a Canon AE-1 when the film was painstakingly developed in a darkroom, unlike the instant gratification of today's digital cameras. "The darkroom was great fun, and I loved everything about it," she recalls. "It was mesmerizing to see the film develop before your eyes!" Marianne worked for a California newspaper for many years and helped develop an award-winning section featuring candid shots from local events. It was there that she realized the strong relationship viewers can have with photography. "When a community story was featured, I was at first shocked at how people related so strongly to the photographs - even telling me they felt like they actually attended the event. The images made a connection and emotion was felt. I was so impressed by that -- it has continued to impact me today."
Her inspiration is as vast as some of her subjects, from a sunset that sweeps vibrant color across the sky to the intricacies of a single flower. Her favorite may be trees. "I see so much in a tree. I love every part of them - leaves, bark, the way the limbs stretch out. There can be such gracefulness about them. On the other end of the spectrum, how many of us have seen 'scary' trees of childhood books? They provoke emotion."
Poplar trees stand at attention like soldiers in her dazzling photograph of a daffodil field at sunrise (shown here). Marianne marvels at how the pinks and golds mixed with the blue sky. "The colors were amazing. It really was glorious! I love the way [the trees] stand so straight and stately."
Once Marianne moved to Washington she was struck by the differences in the two states. California demanded more time to find the type of photographs she wanted and longer drives. In Skagit County, she only needs to walk outside her door for artistic inspiration. "All of it is inspiring to me. There are so many options for a photographer [in the Northwest]. Fifteen minutes from home can give me a boost for the entire day. We live in an awesome place."