Sharing Stories - Interview with Latasha Haynes of photo duo Ike & Tash

One of the most valuable things that I have gained from my time as a photographer has been the friendships and connections I've made with others who love being behind the camera just like me. It is a comfort to hear their stories and share together the struggles and triumphs of this industry. Its been an honor to share Alicia and Sandra's stories so far in this space. Their vulnerability in sharing was inspiring and encouraging. 

Today I am so pleased to introduce you to Latasha Haynes. This is her story. This is her beginning.

1. When did you know that you were supposed to be a photographer, and where did your journey begin?

I knew I had a love for pictures when I was a teeny tiny thing.  I always loved looking at the albums my grandmother had under the table.  I would pull them out and organize them and imagine the stories, the events, and the feelings that the subjects were experiencing at the time.  Pictures always made me so happy and I felt so connected to them.   I knew that photographs would play a huge role in my life and they have.  I got my first film camera right around 9th grade and I would save up money to develop the roles- I loved taking pictures so much.  I wasn’t surprised when photography happened for me, it made sense, I think I was more shocked by the fact that something you could love so much could actually turn into a livelihood.

In 2009, I unexpectedly lost my grandmother and she has raised me as her own while I was in foster care.  I became incredibly depressed and it was the camera that pulled me out of that darkness.  I felt so lost and didn’t know where I fit in the world.  We started out doing family photography, and it felt like every single family we shot, I could see myself in them, get lost in them, and find the connection – over time, the camera “brought” me back to life.

2. What was it like for you in the beginning? - What were some of your struggles, triumphs and things that helped you through? 

In the beginning it was challenging.  I struggle with math and numbers – so understanding how to use the camera was a long road.  I never shot anything but manually and the learning curve was steep so I was often left in tears frustrated and overwhelmed, but I stuck with it and I shot everything – and as a result I picked it up fairly quickly. 

Her beginnings... a headshot from when she started and a wedding portrait

Her beginnings... a headshot from when she started and a wedding portrait

3. What has been your biggest lesson from being in the photography industry? 

Such a great question.  I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that you can learn something from any and everyone if you allow it.  You are never too good to not pick up something from someone if you are open to learning.  I have also learned that it is so important to compete with yourself and to keep blinders on.  Comparison is the thief of joy and if you are comparing up and feeling low about what you haven’t done or accomplished, chances are, you are comparing the other way too and are being pretty arrogant or ego filled about being better than someone else and both are very very dangerous.  It’s important to keep your eyes on your purpose.

4. How did your logo affect your confidence in being and calling yourself a photographer?

I wouldn’t say that any of our logos affected our confidence, but when we found one that stuck and that represented us it definitely gave us pride and helped us to really resonate with our brand.  We love our logo so much and we draw so much inspiration from it and what it represents.  The ampersand connects and draws and brings people together and at the core of who we are, that is what Ike and I stand for and attempt to foster in the photography community.  Our logo is an extension of who we are and that’s what makes it so unique to us. 

5. What would you say to another photographer just starting out on this journey?

It is a journey.  There is always something to do and to learn – fall in love with all parts of the journey – the parts that you get excited about and the parts of the journey that can be challenging to get excited about.  It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve people doing what we love most.  Stay focused on your call and your purpose and continue to grow and reinvent yourself to become the best version of yourself. 

Thank you so much, Tash, for sharing your story today. Meeting you back in 2009 was a highlight of my own photography journey, and I just know that your story will inspire, encourage and motivate many other photographers. And your family just is so sweet. I can't get over how fast little Wisdom is growing. 

Want to connect with her? Be sure to follow Tash on Instagram. Her current work with seniors is just so incredible. Ike & Tash's Street Team is on fire! And shoot her a tweet to tell her how much you appreciated her sharing her story. 

Is there another favorite photographer of yours you'd like to see featured on this "Sharing Stories" blog series? Send me a tweet or leave a comment and let me know. I can't wait to hear from you.